A "Must Have" to Fight for Others
In the third of this four-part series about fighting for the causes that break your heart, I share a non-negotiable practice you must adopt in order to stay in the fight. Without practicing it on a regular basis you will burn out. I also mention why it is okay and needed to pause and enjoy the goodness of life that you can find.
The two practices needed are self-care and rejuvenation.
When we don't practice them, we burn out. When we burn out, every area of our life suffers, as well as any amount of good that we could have done to help fight others. Plus, it can wreak havoc on your personal health and your emotional health. You may start feeling guilty, and it all makes you shut off and not show up in a lot of different areas in your life.
In order to practice self-care and rejuvenation so you can continue to show up, so you can be in a healthy place, and you can have the endurance to continue being all the things you need to be in your life and all the ways that you want to help be part of positive change . . . there are two things that you need to do.
You need to be deliberate, and you need to understand that it is necessary and okay.
You have to be deliberate. Whatever the injustice, whatever is going on in someone's life that you are trying to be positive change for, you have to understand that it doesn't stop. It is something that is ongoing.
Therefore you have to put boundaries in place to take a pause to recharge. If you continue to fixate on it and spend all of your time worrying about it, and all of your energy, you are going to burn out. No one else is going to take that time to make you stop. Only you can do that.
Put boundaries around your time. Put boundaries around your heart, your mind, how much energy you're giving to this, etc. Again, it's so you can continue to be helpful in this situation, you in all the other responsibilities in your life.
Put up boundaries, and be deliberate in doing so. No one else is going to do that for you.
Know It Is Okay and Needed
Next is the mindset of understanding it is okay, and that it is needed for you to practice self-care and rejuvenation. We've talked about why it's needed, how if you don't you're going to burn out, and you're not going to be any good to the cause, nor any good to your life. But let's talk about it being "okay."
A lot of times we feel guilty about saying "no." We feel guilty about taking a break, especially when it's someone that is in our life. Maybe they're going through something and you know that pain is not stopping for them. You may feel guilty to go and have a good time, you may feel guilty to laugh, but you have to understand that it is needed, and it is okay.
Speaking from my personal experience, when I was sexually assaulted my world seemed to stop for two years during the brunt of my healing. That was not true for other people. That's the crazy thing about life is that one person could be having the best day of their life, and another person's having the worst day of their life.
I liked seeing friends go and enjoy their life. It reminded me that I will have that too someday in the future. That I will have that moment when things are easier, when I can breathe more.
We have to hold onto and grasp those good times when we have them because we're not promised good times all the time. We have to take advantage of them and be thankful for them when they are available to be had.
Because of that, I like to think that it's this beautiful dynamic, this beautiful harmony in which we're all experiencing those seasons in life right where we are. If you are having situations where you feel guilty for being happy or feel guilty for enjoying something . . . don't. Don't feel guilty about that. Enjoy it, soak it up, let that goodness restore you.
Let it be a reminder to your friend that is going through a hard time. Let it be a reminder to you that there are good things in this world that are worth fighting for - that there is hope. That there can be this experience where there are hard times but also good times.
Know that it is okay and it is needed for the person you are fighting for, for the cause, and for yourself.
Make a Plan
Pick a regular time to check in with yourself to see how you are doing. It could be once a week, it could be twice a month. It could be through journaling, or it could be where you ask someone else to check in on you. But you have to be honest, and you have to really learn yourself.
Learn when you are exuding the right amount of time, percentage of time, right amount of energy, etc., and when you're overextending. It's a balancing act. It's not a perfect science. But a lot of it is you learning yourself, which is a beautiful thing. So really pay attention.
Pay attention to not just how you feel, but what is going on around you. How are you showing up at work? How are you showing up in the lives of those around you that you love and the other responsibilities in your life? And then just keep on adjusting.
Keep reminding yourself that it is okay and that is needed.
You'll have to fight for yourself. No one can know what you need, except for you - you're the best person to know that. (Even if it takes some time for you to learn how to know yourself and listen to yourself.)
Sometimes you'll need to say "no" to things, even when it might not seem like the best time to others. The more that you know yourself, you're going to know "okay, no, I need I need this boundary right now," "I need to say no," "I need to not take this phone call," etc.
By you taking care of yourself, and putting the proper boundaries into place, it's going to allow you to continue to show up with endurance. You'll be far more beneficial to everyone else, to yourself, and also to whatever causes you're fight for.
So check in on yourself on a regular basis, continue to learn yourself, and make adjustments as needed each time you check-in.
Then whenever you are taking breaks, really take them. Figure out how you can really decompress and unplug. Whether it is having conversations that have nothing to do with the issue, or maybe having a conversation about it actually helps you release some stress and the thoughts you've been carrying.
Again, that's so much of a learning thing, but it's a beautiful thing because it also carries into all these different ways you can care for yourself and other situations in your life.
Upcoming End of the Series
The final episode will wrap up everything that we've been talking about in this series. We'll pull it all together by putting game plans together as to how you can do this. How you can show up, how you can educate yourself, how you can make sure that you're doing okay. Make sure to tune in so you don't miss it.