One of the things I discussed recently with my therapist was the anxiety I felt over not being able to do more to help the world. I mean, sure, I recycle, care about the environment, I support the fight for equality. But I am not currently working for a nonprofit. Because I am trying to protect the health of my wife and our newborn baby, I am not going out and joining the protests. I also know that even though I am trained as a lawyer, and could be offering assistance to those who are protesting, I am not. Yet my therapist reminded me of what I need to be reminding myself, which is that I don’t have to be a superhero, I can just be me. And I suspect I am not the only person who has to remind themselves of that.
I am aware that even though I’ve experienced some racism because I have a Cuban background, I nevertheless benefit from the fact I am a white person living in a comfortable suburb. I know my experience has been very different from those experienced by individuals of color.
However, there are many ways to help, some of which I am already doing, such as supporting organizations and small businesses that help communities of color. As for my legal skills, I am not sure how far environmental advocacy skills would go for criminal defendants. Yet, by advocating for environmental justice reforms, I am finding other ways to help communities of color. By advocating for increased access to mental health services and trying to push back against the stigma surrounding mental health issues, I am hopefully helping all of us, but especially individuals of color who might be reluctant to seek help.
Our society is made up of a diverse collection of people, all of whom have a diverse collection of skill sets. We can all find our own problems and our own ways of helping. Yet if we try to do everything, solve everything, fight every injustice, we will burn out. You don’t need an anxiety disorder to let the world overwhelm you. None of us are superheroes, and burning ourselves out trying to be superheroes helps no one. Self-care is an important part of seeking a better tomorrow. And knowing your limitations is an important part of self-care. I need to remember that. And if you are struggling with feeling like you aren’t doing enough, hopefully, these words will help you remember that as well.
And as always, thanks for reading.