How does one reconcile conflicting needs?
I’m in a quandary and can’t make up my mind which route to take.
As regular readers will know I’ve been helping to run my local Transgender Support Group for over 4 years now and said a couple of weeks ago that I’d had enough and would be stepping down. I’ve actually been trying to step away from running the group for over 18 months because I find the mental energy that’s required is more than I feel able to exert.
Every time something comes along that the group could get involved with in order to spread the word about transgender issues or to advocate for the LGBT+ community, especially in my local area, it fires up my internal inspiration and I feel that this is something I need to be doing.
So, on the face of it I have a simple decision to make; step away, which would help to relieve some the stress I feel, or carry on for the greater good at the expense of my own personal wellbeing.
Then again, there is a third option that has been forming in the back of my mind recently.
I obviously feel the need to advocate and work for the transgender community, but that doesn’t mean that I need to be helping to run a support group. I could do this on my own, and with nobody else to answer to; in my own time, in my own way, and at my own pace.
I already do this to a certain extent through this blog, and I recently signed up to YouTube so that I could post videos on there. So, what is to stop me taking the middle ground and doing my advocacy work in the way I want to? There are already some ideas I have about projects I would like to start that would, hopefully, help to break down the barriers that the community faces.
As I said, this has been batting around in my head for a while now and it does seem as if it might be the way to go.
What do you think? Do you have any words of wisdom that might help to tip the scales?
Please let me know if you do.
First thing to say and is rather trite is if you don’t take care of yourself you will not be able take care of others. Even, looking at it selfishly, self care is very important for our mental wellness. Without it things can be more stressful. I’m not big on formal mediation practices (mindfulness), but taking time out to smell the roses like the popular phrase goes can help to center ourselves, and give renewed vigor to what we are doing.
I feel like what you described you may like to do sounds like a very good option. I’m kind of in the opposite side as you. Although, I haven’t done much in advocacy on a personal level I have as of yet not been successful in obtaining volunteer position with a trans* organization. I have applied to the Transgender Law Center and the Trans Lifeline nothing has come of it as of yet. I cannot say I have done nothing in the advocacy domain. I led a group at the mental health program I attend on how to interact with transgender individual. I am also openly trans there and often speak of my journey.
This does not sound like a lot and it isn’t. But, I use a circle of care model for helping others. It starts with those closest to you and widens out as you move from the inner circles to the outer ones. So don’t discount the little ways of serving those closest to you.
Take care and be safe, Stephie
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I can’t go past a rose without smelling it! I’m making sure that I have a selection of roses in my tubs garden, and all of them have to have a lovely scent.
I’ll make a note of that “circle of care” model, it’s so very true.
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I ran across it in an ethics book I read. There was a whole chapter devoted to it. Like most things, I made it my own. And it not the only view of ethics that I have but it fits in nicely with other approaches I take such as virtue ethics (again my own model) and a pragmatic approach to the needs of the situation.