What Can I Do?

Activism is about the power of one and the power of many.

Individuals who are plagued with a sense of hopelessness about the world sometimes feel that their own contribution is not enough. Whether they feel deficient in time, intellect, resources, or ability, the main underlying thought is, “What can I do?”

If you even have that thought running through your head, that is the first start. The desire to want to make the world a better place for all often carries with it feelings of hopelessness and frustration. That doesn’t sound very positive, but it is just a reminder that one person can’t do it all.

Still, one person can do a lot. Each of us has a sphere of influence that includes our families, friends, co-workers, and numerous other social networks in which we engage. We can motivate others and lead by example in the lifestyle choices we make.

Community is an important part of activism, and while we strive towards our goals as individuals, we also need to seek each other for support, the pooling of ideas, and, of course, to organize. Social networking websites like Facebook makes staying in touch easy, but we have to remember to hold on to our ideals even when we are by ourselves and the computer has been turned off.

Every movement starts with the individual decision to get involved. If we all sat around believing that we can’t make a difference then nothing would ever get off the ground. Never underestimate the power of one.

After all, activism is not an event, an organization, or a specific cause. It is a way of life, complete with both joys and disappointments. Not every rally or action has the results we want or intend. But being there and helping out sends a message to our own social circles and society as a whole. All we have to do is show up.

Paula is a freelance writer, editor, and photographer. Her website is: www.mynameispaula.com.