What Matters To Us?
Nowadays, it’s easier than ever to express our affinity with causes that speak to us. We can easily donate to a GoFundMe, slap on “In Support Of…” Facebook profile picture filters, and broadcast our condolences on any social channel we please.
We feel the same when we see someone in need. We readily help others when we can easily do so. Giving change to the homeless, helping out a colleague, giving a gift to a friend. This is great, but what about others who aren’t close to us (even physically). Or others even around the world? How can we learn more about what they might mean to us? Obviously, it’s much easier to focus on what we can handle, right? Maybe. In that case, doing the laziest things we can do to help seems ok to do.
What does this truly mean for our compassion to others when we’d rather take the easiest way out? For me, it’s akin to just seeing a dog in your peripheral vision and throwing it a bone without a second glance. Sounds pretty harsh, but the reality is that we just forget about the people we have so-called compassion to once we’re done “helping.”
Virtue Signaling Is A Trap
A more fun word for this is “slacktivism.” Unfortunately, the downside to all of this exposure is this. It can affect many types of people, even you:
- People with a big ego will use displays of sympathy to garner more attention to them and distract people away from the original issue
- Those who are insecure want these altruistic acts to create some kind of kindhearted, relatable, down-to-earth visage of themselves to others
- Even people who are generally very virtuous and believe in justice might fall victim to the laziness of clicking the “donate” button and completely forgetting the problem a week later
It has become an epidemic to have to “feel something” for every other problem we hear on the news or see on social media. That’s not to say that we shouldn’t be aware of these things, but rather, we shouldn’t always fake being all sad and worried about things for which we simply don’t have enough info on. (Related: What To Know About Motivation And Intention)
Rectifying Our Thoughts
We can start truly caring for others around the world by first getting to the heart of the issue. Ask yourself, “Do I know all the perspectives and stories of people who have gone through this issue?” Oftentimes, we support the idea of the cause, rather than the actual people affected by it. It’s so important to make sure we keep things level, real, and human in order to become a more mindful person.
In many ways, we can begin to enact positive change to others we wouldn’t normally get to support around the globe. And we can be more aware of the events that happen in the world, creating more ways to solve the problems others face day to day. In short, I think more people are becoming service-oriented and understanding that other people can depend on them for help.
Personally, my opinion is that we should affiliate ourselves with causes we truly care for. Causes we have done research on, learned the origin behind it, heard accounts from victims, and more. Where will your money be going if you donate? Who or what would it be going to? How will this impact the people involved? How can I keep supporting the cause going forward? Is there something I can change in my life right now to do it? It’s important to also be aware of the journey your help will take to give aid to those in need.
Mulling Over Emotion
It’s very easy to feel emotional about a cause. In fact, it’s great if you do. It means that you are human, and you understand that there’s inequality in the world. And that you might be able to do something about it. Sometimes, doing something about it might not always have to be monetary. Instead of changing your profile picture to a filter of the cause, think of actions you can do right now to help out. Can you volunteer or create something? Even doing research and spreading awareness to others is the next step.
When we consider which causes, companies, and people we really want to support, we can better learn about how we see the world and what we can offer it. In turn, we can also become more clear about where we stand in our compassion. Instead of using these causes to prove our values, we can transform our actions into our whole being. And that’s not necessarily something you need to broadcast to the world. It’s for you. 🌱