Activism is exhausting
I have recently spoken to a fellow activist, who talked about how he was
‘taking a break from activism’ right now because he was burnt out.
I want to talk about this topic because I think it is good for people to understand who are not activists
and for activists themselves to relate or maybe even to realize the toll that activism can take on them.
And I am talking about any type of activism here.
The definition of activism after the Merriam Webster dictionary is: A doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue.
So if we are talking about activism for a ‘good cause’ that means that you as an activist are constantly going against something ‘bad’.
Like being an animal rights activist for example.
You are standing up for a good cause which is fighting for humane treatment of animals and ending animal cruelty.
But in order to do that you are constantly being confronted with the ‘bad sides’ of this topic that you are working towards putting an end to.
You are working on educating other people,
showing them awful videos of animals being mistreated,
learning more and more about animal cruelty so you can pass on correct information,
protesting and drafting letters and petitions,
having many uncomfortable talks with friends, family and strangers
who you are trying to convince to help
or just cut down on animal products.
And it’s not just you who is trying to do the work and change things but you also have to deal with people who are trying to convince you otherwise or even make your task harder.
People who tell you that you are overreacting and that you should stop wasting your time.
Who roll their eyes at you every time you try to strike up a conversation about it or politely refuse meat at the dinner table.
Who pointedly fry a huge steak on their grill in front of you because they somehow feel personally attacked by your desire to end the exploitation of animals.
So there is a lot of emotional weight you need to shoulder when you are so passionately fighting for/against something.
For most people of course being an activist is not their full time job,
but we could elaborate on the different aspects of why it can be so exhausting while comparing it to a regular day job - that can be any job.
In that job you might have set tasks which you complete with not much of an emotional attachment.
It is a job that you might really like but are not outright passionately invested in every day and don’t feel absolutely beat down if something goes amiss.
You might just be going through the motions a lot of the times and have a steady, established rhythm in which you are completing your tasks.
You might not have to deal with something that pains you emotionally all the time.
You are probably not confronted with new information about the worst sides of the animal industry, strenuous talks,
doubts and pictures of animals being slaughtered all the time.
So there is a lot less emotional strain and stimulation. An activist has to be confronted with this time and time again, and most likely has a job and other things to deal with besides activism.
This is of course definitely not always the case.
There are many people who do their ‘activism things’ and can separate their work as an activist with the personal feelings toward the topics they are dealing with and fighting for/against.
But generally it can be very probing, mentally.
This is not supposed to be a boohoo, sob story about how activists have it rough.
It’s more like an appreciation for everybody who is putting themselves out there to fight for a good cause
Not just for themselves, but for other people, animals, nature, minorities,
oppressed, less privileged,
ones who are unable to stand up for themselves.
And it's also a little nudge for anyone who is not an activist and now understands a teensy bit more about what an activist might be going through,
to cut them a bit of slack even if they are annoyed by them or their work in some way.
Activism shows strength and courage.
I respect it and I thank everybody who is willing to be confronted by a topic that pains them,
over and over again,
in order to steer it into a ‘better’ direction.
PS: Don't forget that you can only fight for a cause when YOU have energy, health and internal strength.
Take care of yourself first so that you can help and give back to others.
Thank you for reading💚
See ya next blog👋🏼