Has Activism Left You Burned Out? Here’s How To Respond Rather Than React

This month a theme has emerged for me around the bitterness and burnout we’re experiencing in the news and on social media. I’ve written about the anxiety and frustration I’ve felt in this area and how I’ve set an intention to be a voice of positivity and hope. That’s why I’m delighted to be speaking on the topic of social activism burnout as part of an initiative called ACTION 30 Mondays.

I invite you to join me Monday, April 24th at 7:00 at Irving Park United Methodist Church as I address self-care in the face of resistance. Here’s a sneak peek at some of the things I’ll be addressing.

Grassroots activities are on the rise, and this is wonderful. People are feeling called to step out and make a difference in the world. But if we are reacting to injustice rather than responding to it, we may be feeding the very thing we hope to eliminate.

Anger is a tricky emotion. It’s often what wakes us up and says, “Wait, something isn’t right here. I don’t like what I’m seeing or hearing.This is outrageous!” It can be the impetus that calls for action. But if we stay in anger, it can lead to more rage and actually escalate the very problem that has triggered the anger, even leading to violence. Sometimes this is obvious, but sometimes it’s subtle.

Imagine, for instance, that you feel so strongly about a social issue that you decide to take action. You volunteer to make sandwiches for the homeless in your neighborhood and, though your heart is in the right place and you truly want to be of service, you can’t help joining the other volunteers as they complain and bemoan the current state of affairs.

If your energetic frequency is one of despair, frustration, or hate, what do you think is going into the food you prepare? What messages are you “feeding” the homeless? Whether we are conscious of it or not, our thoughts leave an energetic imprint on everything we encounter. And when we speak and act from “low-vibration” emotions, we are actually giving away our power.

So how do we know the difference between responding and reacting?

Responding comes from a place of calmness, focus and, above all, love. It has an intentionality about it that is guided by a higher frequency and vibration. Reacting is fueled by fear.

Discerning between the two requires a healthy and balanced energetic body. Simple practices such as Centering, Grounding, and Attuning are a good place to start. By taking the time to set an intention and committing to being part of the solution, we not only protect ourselves against “activism burnout,” but we can also show up for others in the most positive and helpful way possible.

“Too many people are getting lost in fearing the disintegration that we forget to stay on the path that leads to illumination.”

~Sandra Ingerman