“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.” - Margaret Mead
When I did counselling training some years ago now, a phrase I heard stayed with me. It was "challenge people on their strengths". In other words open people's minds to the possible, rather than focus on what they aren't doing or can't do. It always resonated with me and so it came to mind again with this task today.
What fuels my activism is when I see others living their dreams for a better world, facing their challenges head on, being the change they want to see in the world. They inspire me to expect more, overcome the barriers, let go of the learned helplessness or even hopelessness and hold fast to my fundamental beliefs that things can be better.
Those people who stand firm- in the fire of dissent, of ridicule, of belittling, of hierarchy, of power- and say "this is not inevitable, this can be better". It's that everyday courage that proclaims their right to stand alone and be true to their beliefs. It's the courage to stand with the discomfort, against the tide and know that your conviction is guiding you in the right direction.
Whatever the cause, this courage always inspires me and gives me the strength to hold fast to my own belief in a heartful health system, not only for breast cancer but for all requiring health and social care.
One that listens, cares, respects and enables people to be active and engaged partners in their care, not merely passive recipients. A system that recognises the power of the shared individual experience to enable an improved experience for all. A system that recognises that all involved in providing the service need to feel equally valued and confident to live out the values themselves.
I do believe it can happen if we are all willing to let go of what gets in the way and respect and trust that change can happen....and if we hold fast to our courage to follow it through.