New Year, New You: How to Show Up for Others in 2022
Image Via Ian Schneider
The past few years have been difficult for everyone. Living through a pandemic, social uproar and protest, as well as a presidential election with unfavorable candidates, needless to say, the beginning of the ’20s has been a hot ass mess. Fortunately, we’ve all survived another year, somehow, so please take a second and pat yourself on the back. As this year comes to an end and we enter 2022, many people are gearing up for the new year ahead and reflecting on the past year as we attempt to put it behind us. One big way I like to reflect is to ask not only what I can do for myself but what I can do for others as well.
As a Black queer woman, and subsequently a member of several marginalized communities, it is not hard to notice the vast amount of injustices people of certain communities continue to face in our modern world. As I encourage people to participate in self-care, I like to remind them that it also includes extending a hand to your community and looking out for those around you as well because there is no self-care without community care. In 2021, we witnessed many tragedies that, unfortunately, did not receive the attention they deserved, which left people unsupported and uncared for. Furthermore, those groups who do receive support have yet to experience or acquire the necessary aid provided by government officials or any other people who hold significant power.
Currently, there are people suffering all over the world such as the genocide taking place in China, Haiti experiencing fuel, power, and food shortages due to gang rule, and not to mention new Covid-19 variants popping up left and right. Specifically, in the United States, the issues stemming from Covid-19 alone are leaving many people with severe mental health issues leading to increased unemployment as companies are unsympathetic to these very real issues. Additionally, Covid-19 has had an impact on Asian hate crimes and those are still being carried almost two years after the racist remarks made by the United State’s ex-president Donald Trump. Clearly, there is so much going on and we want to show up for as many people as we can. So what are some ways you can show up for others in the new year?
1. Educate Yourself & Others
Many of us see a post about a horrible event or injustice on social media, read and reshare a few posts, and never think about it again. While it’s great that many of us are learning due to these platforms that allow us to receive information quickly, it is important that you take the time to do a little more outside research, especially if you are not a part of the community being affected. Many of the events happening are rooted in deep histories of injustices and it is important to learn the story of others and share them, especially to your friends or family who may be ignorant about the situation. Education can lead to increased empathy and is a great way to start showing up for others.
2. Challenge Your Thinking
Lots of actions such as celebrations, following certain trends, or engaging in certain behaviors are embedded in prejudice such as racism, misogyny, and fatphobia, just to name a few. When you are participating in a certain practice, celebration, or activity take the time and think about the history of what you are doing or why you are doing it, and if you find out that action is rooted in prejudice consider stopping or giving back to the community it has severely harmed. The greatest example of this is Thanksgiving, which I no longer celebrate and instead dedicate that time to learning more about indigenous communities and giving to them where I can. This does not mean you have to stop your favorite celebration but can instead adjust them to be more educational, less racist, and use them as a way to show up for others.
If you have the resources and time, consider volunteering. It is a great way to be active in your community as well as help community members. Additionally, there are virtual spaces where you can do volunteer work. So many of us are in such positions of privilege that we never think of what we can do for others outside of sharing posts or rounding up our total at the grocery store to give to charity. Volunteering can be an effective way to show up for others as long as you do your research and are supporting an organization that aligns with your morals.
I will yell this at anyone who will listen but in a world where the most impactful way to speak is with your wallet, I encourage anyone who has the resources to donate when they can. While there are organizations that do a lot of great work, I always encourage people to do their research and make sure an organization truly aligns with your values and is doing the work you support. I also highly encourage nontraditional methods of donations such as supporting GoFundMes and donating to individual people directly through Venmo or some other system. Remember, thousands of people are going to donate to that organization but there are still plenty of people who don’t have access to aid from those organizations!
Feature Image Via Eyestetix Studio