No one passionate about justice wants to confess that their hearts are filled with yuck & excuses.
I mean, let’s be honest about this.
We live in a world in which the optics pressures us to vie for perfection or at least, at minimum, to be a good citizen.
3 things you need to stop doing if you want to see justice in your lifetime.
If you’re reading this, you’re likely someone who has invested in a justice issue, but you’re finding yourself discouraged by the lack of change you see.
You, like me, approach the work of justice with all your heart.
We read books, we journal, we join anti-bias groups, we talk to friends, and we go to therapy.
We shed light on our true selves and examine the hidden assumptions, privileges, and cultural narratives we grew up with.
We’re doing the inside work, the work of the heart, because we understand for change to be sustainable it has to be authentic.
We work, when we listen, when we reflect, examine and grapple.
We know it’s not just a one-time thing. It’s the rinse, wash, and repeat.
And yet somehow we feel stuck and that we’re not making a difference. The work feels monotonous, emotionally taxing, and downright depressing at times.
Well, I’m here to help. Here are three things you need to stop doing to see change again.
STOP emotionally distancing yourself:
If you’ve been doing this work for any period then it’s likely that you’ve felt emotionally drained or your body has a physical reaction to instances of hate. As a survival mechanism, you’ve distanced yourself.
Okay, let’s say you became passionate about Islamophobia because you’ve seen the impact on your brother-in-law. Over time you see how this impacts whole nations of people and you start thinking “Sure, fighting for this issue is about your brother-in-law, but it’s also about all the other people impacted by Islamophobia.” Then you stop asking your brother-in-law questions about the impacts, you stop doing mental health checks regularly and you start reading books, and following influencers online and you begin that slow creep away from the posture you once held toward him. See the distancing? It’s a well meaning, but it’s distancing.
It hurts to feel like people you care about being a target of hate. It feels too vulnerable to connect their face to the issue every time, so you emotionally distance yourself. But this is where we lose the power and our connection to the cause. It’s about your brother-in-law. Sure, other people are impacted, but if you could change policies or culture then wouldn’t you do anything for the one you care about?
It’s time to topple down the wall of your heart to expose the feelings, emotions, and motivations for why this is a personal decision for you. Work with a liscened therapist to help you strengthen your skills if you find this to be a sore spot.
Ask yourself: What about this issue of injustice broke your heart? Is there a face or name that motivates you to push for change?
STOP seeing the future of the world from the lens of doom & gloom:
If the glass is half empty or the state of the world has you depressed then it’s time to dig out of that hole! This mentality has had its grip on me in the last couple of years with the rise of hate crimes, and the fluctuating nature of performative activism, so I get it.
Hard truth coming up. You need to change your thinking and see hope for our world. Here we want to think about what it would be like when justice & peace finally become reality. Go ahead and say, “the eradication of hate and the thriving for all people.” Whatever it is for you, get clear with what you hope to see. This may not become a reality today or tomorrow, but when we know what kind of world we want to see it’s easier to see all the potential paths to that, rather than the path we subscribe to. It loosens our grip on our biases and opens us up to see the multiple ways we can achieve the greater goal of justice.
Change movements have happened and are happening and seeing a hopeful future fuels them forward.
Ask yourself: What outcome do I want to see in the world? What does the world look like? Your life? The lives of your loved ones?
STOP looking for big wins from others & create your own small wins.
Big wins will come. It’s easy to get hooked on “If we get enough signatures…” or “If this bill gets passed.” because we’re riding on the tails of big change. Big change matters, before they do, look to impact small wins and start small. Here’s the reality. The really big vision you have for justice in our world probably isn’t going to happen overnight. Having a start-small attitude will help not only get us closer to the long-term vision but it will show commitment to our cause to friends and family watching us. We can’t wait for legislation to pass, unless we’re a politician or civil servant, instead we need to roll up our sleeves and do the work ourselves.
Ask yourself: Why is it important to start today? What’s something I can do today/season of life that will get us one step closer to justice?
Get back in touch with why the work of justice is important to you and start taking those small wins! And yes, the title of this blog post is a hair dramatic, but I had to get your attention somehow.
In this with you,
Looking for one way to start small?
I’ll help you break down past emotions & excuses to get straight to action.