Choosing A Cause

Elaine’s Block

January 18, 2020

There are a lot of great causes out there that support so many different communities in need. You can volunteer at a pet shelter, rally against political injustices, be an advocate for the environment, the list goes on and on. 

While it is awesome to support as many causes as possible, piling on too much can be overwhelming. As an empathetic person, seeing those in need breaks my heart because I want to help everyone, but it isn’t possible. It can become stressful, cause burnout, or just feel more like an obligation if I push myself to support more and more. How do you decide on what causes to support, and how many? 

Here are some tips to keep in mind.

Follow Your Heart

As cliché as this advice might seem, it is important to find something you are truly moved by. What problem bothers you the most in society? Where do you want to see change the most? Try pursing and prioritising these efforts. 

But what happens when you are equally passionate about more causes than you have the capacity for? You can pursue different causes in various seasons of your life. You don’t have to commit to one cause and focus all your energy on that one cause for your entire life. It also depends on the opportunities you have, what you are available to do, and your strengths. 

Manage Your Resources

I sometimes find that it is tempting to sacrifice more of myself for the sake of a cause. However, we have to remember to take care of ourselves by reserving some free time and giving ourselves a break. If we don’t take care of ourselves, mentally, physically, and emotionally, we are less able to help others. 

Sometimes, even if you are passionate about a cause, the practical ways of supporting it might not be the best fit for you. And that is okay! You can find other means of supporting the cause, and perhaps find another cause you are more comfortable with. 

For example, I was inspired by an article I read where someone gave manicures for kids suffering from illnesses in the hospital. I decided to try it, so I bought nail polish, contacted the local hospital, and volunteered my time. Though it was a good experience, I felt like it wasn’t something I was comfortable doing it again for various personal reasons.

But that doesn’t mean I can’t support this cause. Maybe I can donate money or nail polish to someone who is passionate about giving manicures to kids, or I can help in some other capacity. I can also look into different opportunities that involve volunteering with kids, but not in the exact same setting. I don’t regret what I did, but I felt like it wasn’t something that I could sustain and be fully passionate about. 

Remember That You Are UNIQUE

Supporting a cause can take on several forms. From retweeting an influential role model’s tweet for a cause, to being an active member of a civil rights group, you can choose how involved you are in what you support. Just because you are passionate about one or two causes in particular, doesn’t mean you can’t be a supporter of other causes without too much commitment. Those small things add up too! 

Everyone has different skills, gifts, and abilities. One individual may be able to take on a lot of different causes at once, while another can only focus on one or two at a time. It can be intimidating or disheartening when it seems like our efforts are nothing compared to others. But standing up for a cause can look different for everyone, and that is totally fine. 

There’s a lot of darkness in the world, and many areas that need your help. Even thinking about it all can sometimes make me feel hopeless in the grand scheme of things. But if we are all able to help in a couple of causes that we are really passionate about, our perhaps seemingly small contribution can make a big difference.

Stand Up For a Cause

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