Boundaries and activism-keep safe the flame of change (Part1)

an article by Felix Metzger of the Beehive Community

Some people say living in Athens is too much of a challenge. And it is true: we are being non-stop stimulated in all our senses, confronted with misery, and most exposed to the government’s decisions and actions. There is one good reason though to stay here – to do our best in order to minimize the negative impact on all these millions of people and of course as well on ourselves. This is why the deal with boundaries is such a delicate one also in activism. As it provides a way to protect ourselves as we do our important work, to create a new way of living based on solidarity, freedom, and equity.

Imagine, you are riding peacefully on your bicycle (so it happened to the writer recently) without thinking anything terrible might happen until a policeman comes your way and decides to show off. Instead of just passing by and letting you ride, he pushes you to the side and starts shouting. What are you supposed to do here? Ignore him and go away? Shout back? Obviously, the range of action is also determined by who you are (maybe you don’t have papers and they might just put you in prison), what is your mood of the day and what’s your courage. 

Likewise, this and many even much worse incidents might happen to you. If you were to set your boundaries, you would tell this guy to leave you alone, making a statement with your body and behavior that he has no power over you, and truly feel it. This often enough is hard to do, in other cases it might be because you don’t want to hurt the other person. Because violence is not a solution. But creates traumas to all people involved. You could try to stay in your center (your lane), without reacting to this ugly behavior, and tell yourself that it/he will pass and things will be okay. You could also try to talk in a gentle way and let him know that his behavior is not tolerable (which might be much easier if he is not a policeman). There is always some range of how to handle such situations.

We encourage you to choose one that is in line with your values and keeps your dignity and at the same time not put you in danger. But protecting yourself, being a keeper of the flame of change. Because change can not happen without me, you, us. Choosing our battles wisely is important like choosing how to stand up for our rights, and how to protect ourselves, so be strong and ready for a fight that is crucial and the most meaningful.

Setting boundaries means working on self-awareness. It means, saying no to things you can’t or don’t want to accept and therefore you have to know until where your tolerance expands. Sometimes, it means not doing something because you don’t have the energy for it and it would drain you if you said yes. It is a thin line that we should be able to see when we are passing it. If we have passed it and we are just continuing, we will burn and hardly come back with the same amount of energy. Most people are losing their interest and power for activism when they turn 30+. This is not sustainable and not helping anyone. Let’s better start early enough to understand our limits and act accordingly – without giving up at any point to fight for a better world.