It’s both an encouragement, and an admonition.
It’s an encouragement because so many believe that they have so little of any significance to offer, that they don’t even try. This message is for them, to try and remind them that we all have a part to play.
But it also is directed at many who simply believe others will do all the work for them.
This is often not borne of a laziness, or an unwillingness to act, but from feelings of helplessness, and of being overwhelmed by impossible odds and circumstances.
…And maybe these observations are correct.
But the reason why we fight is not that we are assured of victory. When you are good, sometimes you must fight against evil. It’s just what you do. You don’t always go into the fray with the assurance of victory, but sometimes just acknowledging your enemy is a victory. Sometimes just declaring that you will not cooperate with evil is a victory of sorts. At least it is a beginning. It’s a step in the right direction.
One thing is sure; if we don’t fight, we lose.
But all of this fighting can, and usually will take its toll. It can quickly become demoralizing when one gets the feeling that the sole purpose for their existence is not to create, or thrive, connect, or produce, but to fight endlessly in a losing battle, like Sisyphus who must roll a boulder up a hill with each sunrise, only to have it roll back down at the end of the day.
But what’s important to remember, is that we are still fighting against what is bad for our friends, our families, and ourselves. As long as we have that knowledge, we have not been completely defeated. Only when we accept their unacceptable terms as inevitable, have they truly won us over. …Mind, body, and soul.
As long as we have breath in our lungs, we can reject their terms. If we all do it together, we will win. It really is that simple.
But in the meantime, we must try and enlighten as many as possible to the dangers of accepting corporate terms designed to degrade our autonomy, health, and critical thought. This awareness must occur before any other positive advancements can be made. This not only provides the truth about what’s happening so that people can make changes in their lives to deal with it, but it also defuses may untruths about who is actually responsible for their financial environment, like immigrants, other races, people of differing faiths, etc.
What’s also important to remember, is that if we completely ignore what makes us unique and productive, then what are we fighting for? Taking time for one’s self may seem like a frivolous pastime when so many are starving, and against a propaganda machine that never tires, never goes bankrupt, and never, ever stops even for a second, but it’s not. The idea is not to swap focus but to avoid losing focus on yourself completely. You are no good to anyone, including yourself, when you allow that to happen.
Find what makes you feel good about yourself and do it. Obviously, as a real progressive, part of those good feelings come from helping others, but if we rely on that completely, we will be drained in short order. We need to feel like we’re doing what we’re meant to, not just what we have to 24-7. When we do that, we gain the strength to come back fighting.
After all, we don’t need burnouts. We need sustained, longterm supporters and resistors in the years to come, and we must develop personal strategies for maintaining the delicate balance between personal and social responsibility in order to accomplish that. That’s par for the course. We all experience this, but somewhere in all of it, something often gets lost. That ‘something’ is quite often ‘time to yourself’.
Unlike money in a sovereign nation, time is limited. Its austerity is real. When it’s in short supply, it’s always volunteer work that gets the axe, because bills still have to get paid. ‘Personal time’ is in even shorter supply.
But the ‘time to oneself’ described here doesn’t have to be a whole day, even 15 minutes a day before you go to sleep can be a boon, if you plan for it, and make the most of it. FUCK the world during that 15 minutes. It’s just you, your headphones, and the vistas of your imagination. You NEED it. …We all do.
Although hard work for a good cause is a reward in itself, don’t fail to reward yourself in other ways. Even if that is simply allowing yourself to take an opportunity to feel good about your work, do it. We may not have time to rest on our laurels, but we can sure as hell stand in front of them for a selfie. You earned that right by working hard and maintaining your focus for long enough to accomplish your goal. Don’t focus solely on what you did not get done. You alone can only do so much, and there is always more work to do.
Take a break whenever you can, to avoid burning yourself out. Talk to those around you who share your ideals, as well as those who don’t, and discuss tactics for maintaining the balance. Sometimes just having someone who understands what you’re going through winds up being more beneficial than you envisioned it would be, but that’s just because you needed it more than you thought you did, like someone who didn’t realize how thirsty they were until after they’d absorbed half a gallon of water.
Sometimes that the sources of that support will surprise you… Break out of your bubble! Remind yourself why we’re called the 99%.
They say that that that which doesn’t kill us makes us stronger. Considering what we’ve all been through, we’re stronger than ever. We’re certainly not killed, that much is clear.
And here’s something else which is abundantly clear; the more people who help, the lighter the burden on any one of us. Please consider joining Real Progressives, in any capacity that you feel you may best contribute!