There are many issues in the world today, from humanitarian crises to rising sea levels to space. All of these issues are worth attention, but with so many, a single person can’t be a perfect advocate for all of them.
When someone joins a new movement or even takes a new stance, it’s a challenge. They’re often expected to become an instant expert on all of the facets of the topic or do the action perfectly, even though they’ve only taken the first step on the journey.
For example, let’s consider someone who has taken a stance on an environmental issue. The person is then expected to go zero waste, recycle everything, go meatless, and more immediately or they’re “not doing it right” or they “don’t really care.”
This negative mindset is dismayingly common. Unfortunately, it creates barriers (and the perception of barriers) for people who want to be involved. That expectation that people have run the marathon when they’ve taken the first step makes it difficult to join many causes, no matter how passionate we are.
Part of the issue is the equivalence, at least in the United States, that personal characteristics indicate the virtue of the stance. For example, going back to the environmental stance means many discount the stance because there is no way to live a perfectly environmentally friendly life without withdrawing from society.
We should all learn and become better informed as we live. That often means changing opinions and stances with new information. That’s part of our journey as well as the cultures we shape to live in.
It’s important to give each other grace through the journey. No one does everything perfectly the first time, and there will be differences in how people embrace their stances. Grace at the first steps is critical if we want to continue to grow.