My Valentine’s Love Letter to Martyrs Everywhere
I love you deeply, and so I have something to say: It doesn’t need to be this way.
Thank you for all your hard work and sacrifice. Because of you, we have won countless fights, made enumerable advances, and are further along on this fervent path to justice.
It’s Valentine’s Day, and though I’m not normally one to celebrate, I want to extend a gift to you (and no, it’s not a fuzzy teddy bear holding a heart. It’s even better).
My gift to you, this February 14th, is the permission to put yourself first.
Now the truth is, I once thought that I had to be exactly like you, working what felt like ALL THE TIME and disconnecting from myself just to get through the day. But as it turns out, I feel most aligned when I’m operating in a state of balance. I feel whole when my self-care is a priority. I love the world by loving myself first.
It’s not your fault. In fact, I don’t blame you at all. We SERIOUSLY need to have some conversations in this movement about organizational culture, fundraising requirements, and leadership training.
But in the meantime, do what YOU need to do:
1) It’s ok to say ‘no’ to things. Like, it’s really ok. The Earth won’t stop turning, and there will always be someone else who is right for the gig. Boundaries are wonderfully healthy things.
2) Putting your oxygen mask on first means you love other people more, not less. We are all more happy when you show up as the best form of yourself. Do what you need to do to be able to act from that place.
3) Working insanely long hours ALL THE TIME is not aligned with your social change values. Yes, sometimes it is very necessary. But those moments should be the exception, not the rule, and it’s high-time we put more distributive leadership practices into operation.
4) And, lastly, remember that the younger folks in the room are learning from you. Want the next cycle of awesome social change leaders to be more grounded than you are? Yup, then practice what you preach.
Believe me, this is all coming from a deep place of love for you, and for all of us fighting this good fight together. I honor your commitment and passion, so let’s all work hand in hand to reshape our non-profit cultures. I’m ready to co-design, are you?
With love and abundance,