Are you afraid of blowback from speaking up for what you believe in? Here’s the trick for making yourself bullet-proof…
Many of the changemakers I work with are empathetic, natural peacemakers, and often kind-to-a-fault.
These can be great qualities for caring about the state of the world, but challenging qualities for calling out the state of the world.
And that’s a problem. As changemakers, rocking the boat is a big part of our job… consistently, and often boldly, disrupting the behaviours and systems that create oppression, injustices, and suffering.
This can create quite the conundrum if you’re uncomfortable with disturbing the peace… You feel imposing and anxious when you do speak up, or guilty and inept when you don’t.
To rock or not rock…
Well, I’ve done a lot of experimenting around this, and here’s the best trick I’ve found for dealing with this dilemma…
Get deeply connected to the LOVE you have for what you’re fighting for, feel into the power of that, and let that guide you forward.
So, as you’re taking action as an environmentalist, for example, you’re tuning into how much you love mother earth, as opposed to how much you hate big polluters.
Or, as a racial justice advocate at a board meeting, you’re keeping connected to your vision of the just and equal world you’re trying to build where people, regardless of colour, are respected and honoured.
And, as an animal rights advocate, you’re staying connected to your love for animals and the idea of animal liberation in a conversation at the dinner table as opposed to seething over the fact that your dog-loving brother’s busy scarfing down other animals.
Not only will the energy of that love help to propel you forward to act when it’s inconvenient and uncomfortable, but you’ll be able to better weather any blowback to that boat-rocking, knowing you acted from a place of love and integrity.
In fact, when you act from a place of love and integrity, how people react is really none of your business. 😉
How acting without love can cause a world of trouble
On the other hand, rocking the boat from a place of ‘I wanna stir shit UP!’ or “Screw you…I’m going to show who’s right!’ has so much potential for angst. Not only are you more likely to cause harm, but any pushback will feel particularly yucky knowing deep down that you acted from a small and petty place. (And the shame spiral begins…)
Anger and fierce love
Now, there are two points I want to address that always come up in sessions and talks when I encourage doing your advocacy from a place of love…
- If you’re a changemaker who’s felt oppressed in your life, I’m by no means saying you should deny your anger. Anger as a reaction to oppression is natural, full of valuable information and energy, and merits exploration. Acting out of self-righteousness or hate in your mission, however, often just begets more of the same… and creates even further suffering. Also, hate tends to do great psychological harm to the holder.
- It’s also vital to understand that acting out of love doesn’t mean we’re passive. Love can be FIERCE. Love can sometimes be loud, and even relentless. I’m all for rocking and CAPSIZING systems of oppression.
A message for hesitant status quo disruptors…
Bottom line…this world desperately needs you to get out there and rock some bloody boats, Dear Ones. Just try to do it with love in your heart.
P.S. I’ll be doing my “Word of the Year” workshops in January. Check it out HERE and be sure to join us if you’d like to start the year in a really powerful way.