Doing the right thing can take a lot of effort. Sometimes, it can feel like morality, sustainability, and charity are each paired with their own never-ending path of education and action.
‘I’d love to start collecting rainwater… but the local ordinances are 15 pages long’
‘I always use reusable dishware, but I’m hosting my family reunion this year… with 50 people’
You know what? ...It happens.
As individual human beings with limited time and energy, there is always going to be a new cause, a new upgrade, a new way to do more and waste less. Sometimes, though, we just do the best we can.
It doesn’t mean we don’t care. Our best is enough.
A bleeding heart and a heavy dose of humility can sometimes spin their wheels together, and actually end up making less of an impact. When you care, it’s easy to get swept up and become a ‘jack of all trades, master of none’, but it isn’t always best in the long term.
Maybe we can’t always devote every ounce of ourselves to every viable cause out there, but that doesn’t mean we need to feel like imposters for showing up as human. Here are five tips for narrowing down your causes, to have the most impact as the person that you were meant to be:
Tip 1: When You Can’t Help, Be Mindful Not To Hurt
Sometimes, we just have to say no. Whether you can’t afford to lend that friend some money, or just don’t want to reschedule that pressing root canal to go volunteer, it’s okay to take care of yourself and set healthy boundaries.
The trick to keeping it healthy is in how you set them. Always stick to a kind tone, and if you really want to get involved but simply can’t right now, consider asking about an alternative way to chip in later on that’ll line up more smoothly for everybody.
Tip 2: Find Your Passion
There are thousands of worthy causes out there. Really, every tiny detail that keeps planet earth from being a utopia as soon as tomorrow is a cause, and every single one of them stems from a real, viable aspect of the human race.
…But you are not the human race.
You are one person, and the causes that resonate with you most will be based on your life experiences, your personality, and what you have seen and felt firsthand. Find what fits, and focus on the things that move in your core sense of being.
Tip 3: Focus Your Skills on Your Causes
Once you have a focus on what you care about, take a look at what you’re good at. What kinds of work feel natural to you? What sort of hobbies do you enjoy in your spare time? Take care to make the most of your unique skills and talents. Not only will it make the most impact from you as an individual in the world, but it will bring you a sense of ease along the way.
Tip 4: Cut Yourself Some Slack
Keep your expectations for yourself reasonable, and stay humble by valuing the little wins along the way. We all have bad days, gaps in our knowledge, and moments of forgetfulness. Stay open to learning new things, but remember that you’re not the only person working toward a better tomorrow. It isn’t all on your shoulders.
Tip 5: Bring Kindness First
At the end of the day, kindness is a habit that can be learned by any demographic, anywhere in the world. For those among us who are fortunate enough to even have the time and resources to get involved with something bigger than ourselves, it’s important to stay genuine in our mundane lives, as well.
We must remember that the cranky neighbor is just as much a human being as the starving child. We don’t always know how people got to where they are now, but one thing is for certain:
Somewhere out there, there is another cause,
Led by a different bleeding heart,
Working to find and heal them…
Before the world has a chance to kick them when they’re down.
No matter what, always let kindness and consideration walk two steps ahead of you. Those are the end goals, and without their lead, we risk losing our way.
Written by Michaela MacBlake Matthews