Though activists and social justice workers live faithfully into compelling vocations of compassion, they are sometimes the grumpiest, crustiest and meanest people out there—often down right unpleasant folks to be around.
Many who fight to alleviate poverty are unhappy. Loneliness and sadness are familiar companions in their work for hope.
Sometimes the stereotypical “dirty hippie” social justice advocate offers an uninviting example of how to serve beautifully for the common good.
Many practitioners involved in causes, charities or communities of hope often do a much better job of taking care of those they serve than they do taking care of themselves.
Sadly, many social justice activists are unhealthy—physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Of course this is understandable given that most folks involved in grassroots work in places of poverty experience versions of secondary post-traumatic stress disorders. What they see, the work they do, and the solidarity of suffering with their exploited friends ultimately takes a toll on their personal health.
It is the luxury of the non-poor to be able to make healthy choices and options for themselves, but in many cases this comes with a price—feelings of guilt or undue self-critiques of entitlement.
Often those engaged in the difficult work of justice perpetually teeter on the edge of burnout. Countless young people sign-up for volunteer opportunities, internships and even careers of service and while some find ways to sustain and thrive in these callings most are not as fortunate. It’s not uncommon for activists to leave vocations of service disillusioned. Some even walk away from their faith.
We can live better.
We can love better.
We can serve better.
…we can do good better.