Introspection is a very important part of becoming an activist; it’s a time when you’re realizing that you have to critically examine and unpack a great deal of your assumptions about the way things “work”, about the state of the world, and why that’s been that way. It can be disruptive, it can be painful, it can be exciting, but it is necessary, because you can’t go into activism thinking that you know best and that your worldview is identical to everyone else’s. 

That said, introspection and self-examination are not meant to be the centerpieces of your activism. In fact, they’re meant to take up a comparatively small portion of your journey, the rest is going to be spent on external action, such as reading, writing, and protesting. If you make your introspection your focal point, it will make you obnoxious, because you won’t be responding productively to a problem, you’ll be flailing over it and focusing more on your opinion/perspective of the issue than the issue itself. This is what leads to people thinking that self-flagellation and writing endless navel-gazing posts about their own privilege is the same thing as activism. 

If you let your introspection consume your activism, it ceases to be useful. Work on ways to keep it contained so that you are interested in growing as a person, instead of stymieing that because you’re more interested in your own guilt than the real problems at hand. Write about your feelings in a private journal or a private blog. Work through them on your own time. Don’t turn them into a performance piece that is meant to show that you’re a Good Person. 

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