When the world is on fire, and all you got is a garden hose

The earthquake in Haiti.

The Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.

Racial inequality in America.

Global warming.

Oh, yeah, and that little thing called, “COVID-19.”

The world can definitely seem fuckity fuck fucked, especially now.

If you are a worrier like me, who gets anxious and overwhelmed when thinking about all the problems in the world, I hear you, and I see you.

When I was a child, I use to randomly think about all the garbage in the world, and where it all goes, and if there’s enough room for it on our planet. I guess when you’re a kid, and a lot of your needs are already met, you have time to think about that stuff.

Now, as an adult, family and other responsibilities often distract me (often welcomed) from the bigger problems in the world, but between the news and social media, those problems are unavoidable.

For many, simply turning of social media and than news is helful, and necessary for their mental health. I think if this is what you need to do (and I do as well, sometimes), that’s what you should do.

However, if you prefer not to tune it out, and want to be aware of what is happening in the world, and learn how to process and even do something positive with your feelings, here’s what works for me.

Understand You Can’t Personally Solve Any Of The World’s Problems

This is a very logical, sound statement, yet I can’t tell you how many times I have felt that if only I did this one thing, or didn’t do another thing, everything would magically be better. I have to check my ego a bit here, and remind myself that no person, no matter how rich, smart or how much access they have, can solve a major world problem alone.

Focus On A Few Issues That Matter Most To You

There are numerous challenges facing our world. And, we as humans only have the capacity to handle so many things at once. Even something like the environment can be broken down into air pollution, rising sea levels and deforestation.

To hone in on what causes you and/or your family would like to support, take a few moments to think about and write down what issues matter most to you. My “Generosity For Every Season” guide provides plenty of tips and tools to get you started. Your list can be as long or short as you want.

Donate And/Or Encourage Others To Give

Over and over you will find that nonprofits request monetary donations above all else. This is because cash donations are the most versatile and can go directly to fulfilling organizations’ basic needs. This isn’t to say food, clothing and other item donations aren’t important or needed.

How much you are able to give is a personal choice for you and your family, and for you that amount may be little to none at all. I am not the type who is going to tell you to give up something that brings you joy (like your daily cup of coffee) in order to give to charity. You don’t need more guilt in your life. However, if you are unable to give directly, an easy (and free!) thing you can do is promote causes and fundraising campaigns on social media. Many nonprofits have a small social media presence, so anything you can do to get the word out is helpful.

Be Kind To Yourself

Your heart is in a beautiful place, and you just want everything to be OK. This is a wonderful ideal, and I wish more people would give just a little bit more of themselves toward making this world a better place for future generations. Ease up on yourself a bit, and show your soul some kindness.

Sometimes, it feels like the whole world is burning around you, and all you have is a garden hose to squelch the flames. I am here to give you permission to not fight all those fires, to know that we can all only do the best we can. So, point your hose at those smaller flames, and know that just doing that is OK.

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