Learn 4 Change
Greetings beautiful humans!
Sarah here, BRAVE’s AmeriCorps VISTA member (Not sounding familiar? Click here for my introductory blog post and here if you’re wondering “what the heck is AmeriCorps VISTA?”). Today is a momentous day, my friends. It is the start of Unpacking Words, a new Learn 4 Change series (in a TBD number of parts) about the power of words by yours truly. The BRAVE team did an amazing activity about the power of words at our intern meeting last week, and that is what inspired this title (shout out to y’all, you know who you are). In each post during this series, I will pick a focus, unpack it with you by sharing my thoughts and questions in stream-of-consciousness style, and share some ways I believe we can create change.
Let’s get started, shall we? Lately, I have been feeling helpless.
I know for a fact that this is not an uncommon feeling. You may be feeling it right now. It could be in relation to the news in this current social climate. It could be about not meeting your academic expectations. It could be because you are trying to answer the eternal question “who am I?” It could be a reaction to the shame of messing something up. It could be due to the uncertainty of relationships. It could even be a product of trying to help too much and watching it backfire on you.
It could be all of these; it could be none of these. You know you better than anyone. For me, it’s a combination, and, because I’m an introvert, much pondering ensued. I think we say the word “helpless” a lot because it feels like the best way to describe the mixture of frustration and anxiety that exists with being a human. But, what does it really mean? The Merriam-Webster Dictionary seems like a good place to start:
1: lacking protection or support (as helpless as a flock of shepherdless sheep)
Makes sense, that’s the anxiety over uncertainty.
2: marked by an inability to act or react (the crowd looked on in helpless horror)
Still on the same page, that’s the frustration that we don’t know how to help.
3: not able to be controlled or restrained (helpless laughter)
That sounds a lot like being unstoppable.
It sounds like being BRAVE!
Does that mean I can feel like I have no chance or direction, but still contribute to a better world?
Sometimes I get caught up in just being one person. Something inside me says I am not enough to make a difference. I know it seems nearly impossible to “talk the talk” and “walk the walk.” How can we “be the change we wish to see in the world” when it’s so frustrating to just be seen?
Here’s how, my fellow humans. Or, at least, here’s how I do it.
I remind myself that every seemingly insignificant action has the ability to become a source for change. That’s what the butterfly effect is, after all. If bullying can lead to all-out hate, then I believe acts of consideration and kindness can lead to much-needed love.
WHO’S READY TO CHANGE THE WORLD?
These are some “seemingly insignificant actions” that I do to feel less helpless, and you can too. There’s just not enough time to overthink things when you’re busy saving the world.
Self-Care: Take a moment for you to process life by practicing mindfulness meditation. Or, listen to some ambient nature noises while you work to help you focus. That way, you’re done sooner and are that much closer to relaxation time. I use this website/app. They also have stories you can listen to while you are winding down for the day, as well as a blog!
Persistence: Keep going. Search for good news, study for exams, question yourself, reconnect with people, float in the pool of uncertainty. I promise you it’s not helpless, but rather a part of being human. You’re not alone.
Awareness: Stay informed about mental health, so you know how to help you and those around you. I am proud to say that I see a therapist every week, but I also know that it is a privilege to be able to do that. Check out Kati on YouTube for some good mental health vibes or click here if you think you need help.
Communication: Have a conversation with a buddy. Make it as deep as y’all want. Talk about your feelings until midnight. Cry a little. Share some hugs. Cry some more. Repeat. That’s it. That’s all it takes. Just spread your love.
You can do it. I’m with you and I believe in you.