A hand holding a small globe

‘Big Issue Guilt’ and Why It’s Okay to Start Small

The world is a big scary place.

A hand holding a small globe
Sometimes it feels like you have to carry all the problems in the world… Photo by Porapak Apichodilok on Pexels.com

 

Let’s be honest, there are a lot of things to feel worried, annoyed or stressed about at the moment, outside of the bubble of our own lives. Politicians are making some pretty dreadful decisions on our behalf, the planet’s falling to pieces and sometimes it feels like we’re taking a backwards step in our battle for equality and fair rights.

I know that’s a pretty negative way to start a blog post, but stick with me if you can.

I know that all the negative news stories and bad things happening around the world can be make us feel really, really bad. I’ve recently deleted the news app I had on my phone, because I found that scrolling through it every day just made me feel sad and overwhelmed. As soon as I deleted the app, however, I felt guilty. Shouldn’t I be taking an interest in world news? Shouldn’t I be educating myself as much as possible so that I can help people to make the world a better place?

Here lies the problem.

I call it ‘big issue guilt’ – that guilt you feel when you can’t single-handedly solve the huge problems that the world is facing. When you feel like you’re never doing enough.

You’re using metal straws and re-usable coffee cups. You buy eco-friendly cleaning products and none of your make-up is tested on animals. You adopted your pet cat from a rescue, rather than buying from a breeder. You avoid ‘fast fashion’ as much as you can within your tight budget. You celebrate LGBT authors and try hard to buy books with diverse characters at their heart. You vote in elections and don’t eat meat.

But somehow, it just doesn’t feel enough.

a thick scarf and a hand holding a hot drink

You can’t fix climate change by using a metal water bottle.

So part of you starts to think, what’s the point? You get overwhelmed by ‘big issue guilt’ and your anxiety starts to spiral.

Sound familiar?

I’m hoping it’s not just me that feels this way! I am always trying to improve my awareness of the world’s issues and see what I can do to help. I am that person I described above, always making sure to vote, educate myself, and change my purchasing habits to try to help. But I quite often get paralysed by this fear and guilt that I can’t ever do enough. And no, I can’t fix climate change by myself or stop the beauty industry from testing on animals ever again. I can’t make politicians see the sense in allowing abortions or gay marriage, but I can do my part.

At the end of the day, all we can do is start small. If enough of us are making small changes to our day or speaking up now and then, it will all add up and, hopefully, start to change the minds of the people in charge, whose changes really matter!

It’s okay to start small. You can’t solve every huge world problem. Your anxiety is not going to thank you for trying. But you can…

  • Make eco-friendly and sustainable purchases where possible.
  • Go vegan, vegetarian or try meat-free Mondays.
  • When you go out for coffee, take a re-usable cup. Maybe even try a non-diary milk alternative.
  • Save up your money for a bit longer and buy from an ethical retailer, rather than a high street store.
  • Recycle what you can, when you can.
  • Eat your leftovers.
  • Sign petitions for things you really care about.
  • Vote in elections whenever you are able to.

If we all do the small things, it’ll all add up. Spending all your time feeling guilty is exhausting, and I promise you, you are doing enough as long as you are trying.

I hope this made sense! Do you feel the same way? Is there anything small that you do to try and help with a ‘big issue’?

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15 thoughts on “‘Big Issue Guilt’ and Why It’s Okay to Start Small

  1. Such a great post! I always experience “eco anxiety” but remind myself that I’m doing what I can and that’s all that matters. xx
    El // Welsh Wanderer

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This is familiar! I sometimes feel as if I am not doing enough. I feel like people are not content with some of the beautiful little things in life and always want more. I have been teaching myself to be content with what I have and what I am doing and to expand slowly, if need be.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Hi There, and I understand your reason for feeling guilty. I too have been one of those people who say to himself, “Bruce what can you do, you’re only one person so why bother?” But after reading your post I can that maybe I can’t change the big picture, but at least I can feel good about myself for contributing to the better cause.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I saw a quote recently that is quite apt in this situation.
    “It’s better to do something badly than do nothing at all”

    We can’t do everything, so we have to be happy with what we can do.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. This is such a thoughtful post, and you’re totally right that you can’t save the world on your own. I think starting small is a good thing. I recycle as much as I can, I take a water bottle to work instead of using the plastic cups they provide etc. I’ll be honest, I’ll never be vegan or vegetarian because it isn’t for me … But I still try and make other small changes to do my bit.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is a great post – It’s so easy to get caught up in all of the things we can’t fix singlehandedly rather than taking the time to recognize how a smaller action or change in our own lives can have a significant impact!

    Liked by 1 person

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