When it comes to instigating or demanding a need for change there are few things that come to mind faster than a protest, and for good reason. For hundreds of years protesting has been effectively used in many cases to raise awareness and in some cases even overhaul an unwanted individual, circumstance or enforced law. (Click HERE to read and watch about 10 Protests That Changed The World)
Currently there are dozens of protests happening around the world, some organized by sanctioned protesting groups such as March Against Monsanto and others involving thousands upon thousands of people congregating in major city squares -many of which are not recognized by mainstream media. Whether publicized or not, protests are a major part of our current world, and although many of them have been effective in creating change, here are 5 things that we can do to change the way that we protest:
1) Raise Awareness, Not Anger
Just because much of the inspiration behind the majority of protests usually involves a level of frustration or anger towards that which needs to be changed, doesn’t mean that we need to carry that anger throughout the entire protesting process. Anger can be an effective tool to inspire passion within others, but it can also be a major deterrent. Think about it, the more angry we are, the more radical we seem, thus further minimizing the chances that we will capture the attention of the general populace to look into what we are trying to voice. Our outward anger only further increases the likelihood that we will quickly be labelled as “crazy,” “annoying” or a “nutjob conspiracy theorist.”
Rather than commit so much of our energy towards being angry at that which we want to change, let’s instead channel that energy towards building awareness. You will be pleasantly surprised by how much more open and receptive people are to what you are trying to say when you are not angrily trying to force it down their throat.
2) Stop The Blame Game
As much as certain individuals or organizations may be at the core of upholding much of which we would like to change, it’s simply not enough for us to gear our protests towards blaming them. It’s great to be aware of who is helping to keep things in place but demanding their head on a stick isn’t going to create the lasting change that we are looking for.
Rather than gathering to collectively point our finger at the leading cause or contributor, let’s gather to educate one another on how we can opt-out of what they are spearheading. There is a lot more power in being a part of the change rather than just being aware that the change needs to happen.
3) Maintain A Respect For Differing Opinions
No matter how passionate or well researched you are about your stance on a particular issue, there is nothing that makes people less receptive to you than a complete unwillingness to respect their side of the story. We all come from different walks of life, different bodies of experience and different sources that we define as credible.
The most effective protests are those that consistently receive growing levels of support, meaning that they need to consistently find a way to appeal to people that are not currently supporting them. The best way to accomplish this is by presenting your stance while respecting the differing views of other people. Whether or not they choose to mutually respect your side of the story, you’ve still planted a seed that they more than likely wouldn’t have even been willing to listen to if you didn’t take the time to understand their view.
4) See The Power In Starting Small
When it comes to already established massive global protests -such as the March Against Monsanto -it’s easy to feel that you’re involvement in choosing to support them is making an impact on the world. That sense of accomplishment may not be quite as easy to find when trying to organize that local walk to support farm animals in which you have 13 people confirmed to come out and support on Facebook.
The bottom line is, awareness is awareness and even a shift in just one of us makes a lasting impact on the entire world. Find the power in creating a change in even just one other person’s life. Think of your own “awakening,” was it not an exciting process that completely shifted the way that you live and look at the world? Is it not awesome to think of helping to create that same experience for someone else? The more that you find motivation and empowerment in the small steps, the more likely your efforts are to grow -and before you know it, you’ll be planning your own massive awareness march.
5) Actively Seek Collaboration
One of the best parts of being behind the scenes at Collective Evolution is getting to see the number of people and organizations that contact us daily looking to collaborate or support our cause. Collaboration is one of the most powerful tools in building a change-inspiring protest. So rather than focusing solely on riling up who is already on your side, spend some time looking into other existing groups that share similar inspirations or interests. Even if they do not line-up with your cause 100%, it’s still worth a shot reaching out, especially since they may carry the potential to multiply the support for your protest overnight.
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