Merriam-Webster defines activist as: a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of, or opposition to one side of a controversial issue political activism, environmental activism. My first action as an activist took place in 1971 on Earth Day. I set up a booth on the University of Eau Claire campus. It’s been a protest, a sit in at a mining camp, to present day working to stop wolf hunting. I’ve met some extraordinary activists along the way. They’ve taught me more about how to be an activist. You see, they’ve led with their hearts born out of passion, for a cause they truely care about.
I have hope in people, in individuals. Because you don’t know what’s going to rise from the ruins. ~Joan Baez
Then, there’s the learning curve (ouch). Just because you care doesn’t mean everyone will be a possitive role model in activism. I experienced the dark side of activism where the bottom lies. If you let anyone put you down, they are not acting in your best interest; instead they’ve come from an unbalanced & sad place. They are the ones still seeking balance in their lives and they are in pain. The lyrics from the song “Let it Be” says it best:
And when the broken hearted people, Living in the world agree, There will be an answer, let it be, For though they may be parted, There is still a chance that they will see, There will be an answer, let it be
Experiences such as; being lied to, being used and having my character assassinated by angry & unbalanced activists can take a toll. But it never led me to throw in the towel. Why? Because for every bad experience there have been many good ones that make it worthwhile. The following adage rings true; don’t let one bad apple spoil the whole bunch.
Every activist experiences conflicts within their cause, in their advocacy community, and learns how to cope with upsets.
I’ve learned that bad experiences do make you strong. Today I don’t waste my precious time on the few bad apples, instead I spend my time nurturing the good apples.
Hopefully the bad apples will find their balance. And I’m grateful for the learning experience.