POA Journal Topic

Activist Emotional Landscape

How Does It Feel to Be an Activist?

Activists live in the belly of the Beast we are struggling to transform, obliged to manage our daily lives inside an oppressive, unjust global socio-economic system with which we are fundamentally at odds. We can’t avoid participating in institutions, customs and cultures we know to be harmful and against our interests.

This underlying conflict, inherent to being an activist, can lead to considerable complexity in the emotional landscape of our daily lives.

In addition, activist work itself often puts us on an emotional roller coaster…or bumper cars! We feel the thrill of being connected in community, the excitement of working together for a common cause with others, but also concern and sometimes fear for our comrades’ safety, and our own. 

We feel frustration, confusion and grief. Also burnout, isolation, terror, hopelessness. And more–especially in challenging, turbulent times.

All activists need to navigate the emotional landscape of activism, but its impact varies according to the types of societal oppression you experience. On the individual level, it depends on how personally vulnerable, targeted, experienced and resilient you are, as well as how much support you get–and how knowledgeable are the people and community that support you about dealing with emotions.

sour puss protect our activists

Like telling you to take it on the chin whiskers, suck it up, get revenge, criticize…that sort of thing.

granny gus protect our activists

Actually, activists have found better ways to support each other emotionally. We’ll be gathering some examples on our resources list.

sour puss protect our activists

Well, whatever makes the humans do less clawing, hissing and scratching at each other!

Emotions are part of our experience and it is vital to understand and deal with them in ways that reflect reality, neither attempting to squash or ignore them, nor get bowled over by them. Rather, we explore ways of dealing with this integral dimension of our lives and work as activists.

Detective Drunella

Like, if you see what’s messing with your mind you can deal with it better?

granny gus protect our activists


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