You are allowed to be happy and still be an Activist

With everything rapidly changing around us, we are noticing the rise of Activism in every social spectrum.

Nepotism in Bollywood, Inequality between genders, Inequality in Race, Animal activism, Climate change, and so much more.

But with this increase in Activism, I have observed exhaustion in people. They seem anxious, hurt, sad, and frustrated. I have had first-hand experience with Activism.

For the past few years, I have been a vocal supporter of LGBTQ and Women’s rights issues. I have recently gained knowledge in the field of Children’s education, Animal rights, and environmental conservation. It’s frustrating to “know more” sometimes. Not to mention, it takes a significant toll on the mental health of the person who voices opinions.

But imagine a life without Activists. Women would still be burned alive with their dead husbands (Sati System) and would not be allowed to Vote in a democratic election.

Therefore, people must balance Activism with Self-care.

In the past few months, I have tried to apply a few of my learnings into Activism, and it has been much easier to handle.

Here are a few:

1. Take a Break

Activism changed my point of view towards life but also took a toll on my health.

It was exhausting to see unfair things happen every day. That’s when I consciously decided to take enough breaks between my Activism.

I was conscious of the Energy that my body carried while I was talking about gender inequality or other topics. As soon as I felt my Energy lower, I immediately stopped everything and took a break. I would do some meditation, eat something healthy, watch something ridiculous, or shower.

Taking a Break is not just “good advice” for an Activist; it’s mandatory!

I am just one normal human being. Although I believe in infinite potential, I only have finite Energy, which gets replenished based on how much I care for my mental and physical health.

2. Listen to different viewpoints

When I started talking about Feminism around 2–3 years back, I was mostly a talker and never a listener. I just blurted out all the problems with the system. I was too busy just talking.

In the past few months, I have tried to be an active listener. Even if someone has an entirely different viewpoint, I patiently listen to it and process it. I might not agree with it at the end, but it helps me challenge myself.

Listening has helped me immensely with Growth. Previously, I only talked about Feminism from the perspective of being an Indian woman. Listening has helped me learn about Feminism from different angles (from the perspective of Women from different countries). It has also taught me about the blend of Feminism with Gender fluidity and Intersectionality.

3. You can’t solve all the problems of the World. Choose One Primary Goal and participate in Other minor Goals

Being a highly sensitive person, I can feel the pain in various issues. In terms of Activism, it started with Feminism, then moved towards Climate change (Environmental conservation), Children’s Education, Mental Health, and Animal Activism.

Thanks to my Life coach, I was able to admit that I couldn’t do everything. I had to choose one primary goal that touched my soul and had to believe that there were other people out in the World to take care of the rest.

This didn’t mean that I didn’t get to participate in other topics that interested me. I just had to balance my time between the Primary goals and the secondary ones.

4. Conversation vs. Conflict

I was the brand ambassador of “Cancel Culture.” When someone said something remotely against what I believed to be the truth, I marked them as unempathetic and moved on. I never spoke to them again about the topic and removed them from the list of “Good people I knew.”

It took me months to realize that I wasn’t having “Conversations” with these people. I was going into a war with them from the very beginning.

We have to understand that it takes time for each individual to grow. There is a pace with which each human grasps information. Some well-meaning people are often bombarded with a tsunami of information and are expected to act and behave quickly. If they don’t respond within the next few minutes, they are considered canceled!

If someone spoke to me about Feminism 10 years back, I would have clearly been removed from my imaginary list of “Good people I knew.”

I have been trying to be more patient now. I try to have conversations with people rather than conflicts. And I know, some people talk just with the intent to fight. I am cautious in choosing the people I talk with.

5. Choose your Crowd and Find your Community

Every day, I was busy fighting with people about gender inequalities and was stuck with the same arguments day after day. There used to be moments when I felt utterly alone. I just thought that this World didn’t care enough about other’s sufferings.

I would be continuously made fun of in gatherings, and I took all of those comments in, with a painful and awkward smile. That’s when I realized that the issue wasn’t about how I spread the message but where I spread them.

Most people enjoy being passive under any circumstances because they do not want to take additional burdens of heavy topics. It doesn’t mean that they don’t care, but they don’t care enough to create a change. No matter how much you fight and try to spread your message, there are still going to people like these, and this is something that each Activist has to accept.

But what I didn’t realize is that there were also thousands of people ready to invest their time in learning and challenging themselves. I started joining Facebook and IG groups that talked about the topics that interested me, and it was bliss!

In these groups, I was able to challenge my own shortcomings. It was beneficial to me because I could see solutions that different people presented, and I could finally talk to a group of people who actually wanted me to talk about things I cared about.

6. Celebrate the Small Wins

I remember the day my Mom mentioned that she was going to pursue and plan for business after Retirement. This statement came as a result of years and years of motivating her to take care of herself and not just her Family. It was hours of “Pursue your dreams and forget about us for a while now” speeches. It was hours of lectures about equality.

I celebrated that win! In this World that is filled with everyday challenges, we forget to celebrate our small victories. There is still a long way to go, but today, just eat that Vegan Pizza and smile a bit (Yes! I slipped in my Vegan Agenda there!)?

I have been dumb-struck and awed by the people who have come out of their cocoons in the past few months to show their support towards an equal world.

If we wish to see real change in this world, we have to keep this attitude going. But this will also require people to be Calm, composed and full of Energy so that we can continue taking rational decisions and uproot inequalities from the root.

So, take care of yourself first before you go out there to change the world. We need people like you!!

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