Separate Yourself – A Suggestion for Changemakers

Doing good comes with a downside. Maybe that’s why so many people just give up and stop trying. The reason we surround ourselves with the people we do, is because they “get us.” They know our heart. But we cannot live in a bubble. If we just surround ourselves with the people who understand us, there’s little chance that the change we want to make — the good that we want to do in the world, will ever come to be if we choose to just play it safe in our little world of like-minded people.

That doesn’t make it easier to deal with when we’re asked to prove our integrity, or when we’re questioned about our motives.

Remember, Pressure is a Privilege (I wrote about this recently, and I still need to remind myself of this regularly — and that will continue to be the way it is, so long as we continue to choose to fight the good fight.

I recently received a message from a close friend who shared his frustration about the dialogues in our city about a Confederate monument and the social divisiveness it has created in our community. He followed this message with — “I am only sharing this with you, because — you know my heart.”

The world is filled with so much negativity, that a person who has their heart in the right place is just completely vulnerable to the hatred — and this makes it harder and harder to keep at it. The noise, the voices of the people who believe there’s probably a hidden agenda, or some dirty dealings, or simply are unwilling to consider that there is another side — make it difficult for people who want to make a difference to keep trying.

Gut (Reality) Check

As long as there are people who strive to make a difference, there will always be people on the other side, bringing their negativity, “snarkiness” and even accusations to the table.

When we are faced with these challenges, it’s easy to consider just pulling up the cords and walking away. And allow our thoughts to go something like this: This work doesn’t really matter. I am

not making a difference. Maybe they are right. I am done with this BS. We’re supposed to ignore sunk costs — maybe that’s what this is — another sunk cost. Time to walk away.

But this when we absolutely must strengthen our resolve. We need to put on our “big girl panties” and carry on. And, we need to find a way to separate ourselves from the negativity.

Here are some things to remember when you’re feeling the affects of the negative energy that inevitably will surface.

  • The toxic energy that surrounds you is not you.
  • Their negative interpretation of your actions is not you.
  • The rude, insensitive responses to something good is not a reason to stop — it is a reason to keep going.
  • You will never know the pain that they are enduring — and this means you must not let their pain be your pain.
  • Fortify your soul and refresh by taking a good, long break. Staying wrapped up in the negativity will eventually wear you down.
  • At times like these, take a long, hard look at the work you have done. Don’t let the single heckler in the crowd distract you from seeing the good you’ve been doing — The results of your work should always be louder than that single voice.

Showing up to do the work you are being called to do requires GRIT. And, in order to stay positive, work through the challenges and keep plugging away, you have to know where you’re going. This might be a great time to write it down. So that when the next wave of negativity comes, you can remember what you told yourself:

Here are my favorite quotes to help me through these days.

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