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Sunday, December 10, 2023

Picking The Right Causes

Picking a cause can be tricky.

Usually, it is not a calculated choice but a calling upon being personally affected or having people close to you being affected by whatever wrong that should be righted. You experienced and/or witnessed something that put you on a path of caring about it. And the fact that you do, endows you with extra firmness and determination to stand up and fight for it.

When, instead, it is a calculated choice and you’re not strongly invested in it, you can still be of tremendous help to it, depending on your position to be of aid, but might not be as sacrificing when the moment comes to make hard decisions that will inconvenience you.

But as long as you’re making a positive and/or constructive contribution, do your motives really matter? Yes and no. Yes, they matter when they will dictate counterproductive behavior somewhere down the line and for understanding how much merit there truly is in it. And no, just because your motives aren’t 100% pure and selfless it shouldn’t completely invalidate your contributions and keep you from making more. But here’s a messy area of morals and ethics to untangle with each unique situation.

And how can you be sure that what you’re doing is right? You can’t always be. But you can keep aiming to do the right thing and continually inform yourself to further learn what that is.

Too often, people are misguided. They latch onto causes to fill a void, better their image, or as an excuse to be cruel while believing themselves justified. None of these are likely to end well. The cause or causes you live for should matter to you beyond yourself - whether you picked them with your heart, with your mind, or with both.

Some people are born and live through terrible circumstances that set them up to champion certain causes. But for some others, they may have to look around and dip their toes into different types of suffering to find the ones that resonate with them and that they can be moved into alleviating. For the latter, there’s the risk of choosing something shallow and making it clear to the world that they are out of touch with what is most important, that they have been privileged. But they must keep pushing for better if they are to be humanitarian.

Let’s never forget, however, that you do matter too. Being too self-sacrificing will only lead you to lose your ability to continue to be of assistance. You can be compassionate, but you must be wise as well. Thus, it is advisable to give from your abundance and not from your scarcity. To have limits on how much you let go of or go out of your way for others.

It is fine to have one or more causes dear to you even if they are not deemed a priority for most. As long as they are not ultimately vile. You can devote to those and then more if you can afford it. May be “what you were put on this earth for”.