4.15. Why Self-Care Is So Important

Show people that they don’t have to give up their own personal health and well-being, in order to do some good in the world.

Social change is hard work. If you’re passionate about it, it’s easy to get overwhelmed by everything that’s happening. It’s easy to get frustrated by the slow pace of progress. It’s easy to get burnt out.

If you aren’t in a good place yourself, you aren’t going to be able to do much good in the world. Sometimes you’ve got to take a step back, so you can take two steps forward.

But even more important than that, I think, is the need to show people, through your words and actions, that they don’t have to choose between caring about themselves and caring about what’s going on in the world.

People are torn.

They see what’s going on in the world.

It bothers them. They want to do something about it.

But what they see, when they look at the people in their lives who are most passionate about social change, and most involved in trying to do something about it…is a whole lot of tiring, thankless, minimally productive work.

What they see is a whole lot of people who are constantly exhausted, despairing, frustrated, outraged, and burnt out.

Yes, some people aren’t as involved as they should be because they’re selfish, or lazy, or cowardly, or apathetic, or because they’ve bought into some dumb excuse or rationalization.

But I don’t think that describes the majority.

I think most people don’t do as much as they could, because they don’t see how enough good will come from it.

If the world is going to largely stay the same, and the only difference is going to be a negative effect on your own personal health and well-being…then why bother?

Social justice warriors tend to try to shame the masses into getting more involved. They play up the outrage. They bombard people with hyperbole and fear.

Those tactics may work on some. But for most, it just reinforces their main concern about getting more involved: the fact that everyone who is more involved seems to be freaking miserable.

I think we’ve got to show people that they don’t have to give up their own personal health and well-being, in order to do some good in the world.

I think we’ve got to show people that it’s possible to keep your cool, have joy in your life, be well-rested and have a positive mentality…and still be doing as much as you can to make the world a better place at the same time.

When you care about all the atrocities that are happening in the world, it’s hard not to get discouraged. It’s hard not to push yourself too hard. It’s hard not to try to rile everybody else up.

But when you do that, you may very well be hurting the cause you want to advance.

Show people they don’t have to choose.

Show them they don’t have to be afraid of losing their sanity.

Show them how to be a happy, healthy person and an engaged, compassionate citizen at the same time…and you’ll accomplish more good than any shaming rant ever will.


This is the 75th in a series of over 150 videos about how to create real, lasting social change. Click here for a list of all titles, videos, and transcripts.

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