Maya Angelou’s words do not come without a warning.
Providing relief from suffering is a task meant for the brave hearted. The process is slow. Change is not instantaneous. There are obstacles, and there is pain.
It can be a lonely world as a leader of an NGO. Watching suffering on a daily basis, an acute sense of helplessness shoots through. There is so much that needs to change, so much that needs to be done. The frustration seems overwhelming.
Leaders and staff of non profit organisations are committed to alleviating the trauma of others. This extracts vulnerability from both sides. Open hearts are susceptible to wounds, if appropriate care is not taken. And this is important. Taking care of oneself is as important as taking care of another.
“Be very careful when a naked person offers you a shirt.”
One cannot pour water from an empty pitcher. One cannot give strength if there is no strength within.
This is a reminder – none of us are superhuman.
Seek help. Talk to your coworkers – showing emotions should not be a stigma. It’s okay to let go.
Breathe consciously for a few minutes, every day. Listen to your own heart beat. Allow yourself some time, alone. There is joy in simply being.
Turn to art, turn to music. Dance or sing. Scribble on blank paper. Clean your home. Meet your best friends. Remember what makes you the happiest, when you feel like your inspiration is slipping away.
Use any resource available – retreats, workshops for staff and leaders of NGOs that help replenish passion and strength. The care givers and leaders who invest in themselves first, also learn how to help others in the best possible way.