This post is for those who resonate with lightworker traits. Or if you don’t like that label, it’s basically for anyone who cares deeply about others and wants to make some kind of positive impact in the world while they are here. I imagine most people understand what career burnout looks like, and people who call themselves lightworkers can experience something sort of similar where they become so frustrated and exhausted by the world’s suffering that they eventually lose their passion and their ability to function well within society. Not everyone will experience this, but I wanted to discuss it because I’ve experienced these burnout symptoms in the past couple years and imagine that others out there are struggling with it right now, too.
I think the most common reasons why lightworker burnout occurs is because people either become overly concerned about the suffering of humanity and become unsure of where to direct their focus, or they try to help too many people at once because they feel a sense of urgency to help. Whether it’s career burnout or lightworker burnout, if you try to take on too much at once, you’ll obviously burn out fast because you’re not here to help everyone or to save the world.
When I was reading about lightworker burnout, I came across some helpful advice by Doreen Virtue. This is what she had to say:
“Lightworker Burnout” occurs in sensitive, caring people who feel overwhelmed by all the world issues that need healing attention. You don’t need to heal everyone and everything, however. Even the angels specialize in a specific focus. So, choose one or two issues that call to your soul. Then pray for the courage and guidance to make a positive difference in those areas.
Due to the desire to help others and to seek the truth about what’s going on in the world, I’ve had a tendency to carry the world’s weight on my shoulders. In recent years, I have uncovered a lot of dark truths about this world that is kept hidden from the public. After I overcame the shock of learning these things, I felt a combination of anger and sadness. It is normal to respond that way, but it becomes unhelpful if we get stuck in those emotions for too long.
It’s important to be aware of a few things: 1) the truth about what’s happening here is not always pretty or comfortable to know, 2) corruption exists at various levels and within all major systems and institutions, and 3) the news perpetuates feelings of fear and helplessness. If you tune into a news station, there is usually a barrage of terrible stories being told while solutions are rarely discussed. We hear one bad story after another, and if we’re not careful, we’ll become paralyzed by the fear that something bad is always lurking around the corner.
To stay empowered, we need to find a way of staying informed enough to make smart decisions without falling victim to the fear-mongering tactics. Once you become aware of the motives and manipulations that the media carries out to keep us in a perpetual state of fear, you’ll probably want to watch less and less tv and seek other methods of staying informed. I prefer alternative news sources on the internet, but you have to be careful with those, too, because any journalist or truth seeker has the potential to develop a complete doom-and-gloom attitude that can begin to infect your mind and spirit if you don’t stay mindful of how it is affecting you. Also, I wish it wasn’t a reality we had to face, but some of the most popular “truth seekers” are shills who are encouraged to spread lies and perpetuate more fear.
If you’re a truth seeker like me, you might struggle to maintain your sanity while staying informed. That’s why it is so important to remain aware of your mental and emotional state. If you find that you keep getting pulled down the more that you learn about what’s going wrong, perhaps it’s time to switch your focus to the positive things that are happening and find a way to become part of the solution. I would never encourage people to ignore the problems we’re facing because complete avoidance doesn’t solve anything, but worrying non-stop about problems isn’t exactly productive, either.
Although I agree that many news sources focus too much on negativity and fear, one of the facts we ought to learn as adults is that we all have a choice in how emotionally invested we become in the stories we hear. We are each responsible for our level of awareness of what is happening, for the decisions we make, and for our mental and emotional state. Once you’ve learned how to discover the truth without becoming engulfed by fear, worry, or helplessness, you have completely empowered yourself. One way to do this is to focus on solutions to problems. If you hear about a problem and can’t think of anything you can do to improve the situation, move on to another issue that can be solved instead of frantically running around in circles.
I think if we follow Doreen’s advice of narrowing our focus to one or two issues to help solve, it is possible to become change agents. Another point I would like to add is that instead of fighting against issues and ranting about how we need to stop this and stop that, it might be more beneficial to put our efforts into creating the new methods and systems that we want to see. In other words, instead of resisting the old, work toward creating something new. Help people see that there are other alternatives by building them yourself.
I’ll sum all this up with a few more tips on how to serve others without burning yourself out in the process:
- Work on healing yourself before you try healing others. We can’t be of much service to anyone if we’re in poor shape ourselves. This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect and free from all issues, but you need to maintain good health if you want to be effective and efficient at helping others. Take time to heal yourself first if that’s what is needed most right now.
- Strive for balance in all aspects of your life. Not only is it important to maintain the balance between staying informed and staying empowered, we also want to make sure we don’t spend so much time focused on a particular issue or cause that we ignore our own health and happiness. You deserve to have fun, pleasurable experiences. Your joy and happiness can serve as inspiration to others.
- Know if your passion and purpose derive from your ego or your heart. If you feel motivated to help others, ask yourself why you want to do so. Sometimes we say we want to help others, but when we’re truly honest with ourselves about why, we uncover other motives, such as a desire to live up to others’ expectations or to feel important or worthy. Do your motives stem from unhealed wounds, or are you really feeling called to do these things?
- Know what raises your vibration and what lowers it. When we spend too much time around negative, toxic energies, we may end up suffering if we don’t know how to handle it. This is especially important to remember when it comes to following news stories and events occurring around the world. Pay attention to how much time is being spent listening about problems versus solutions. To work toward building solutions, we want to stay focused on what keeps us going in a positive direction instead of getting completely trapped by fear.
- Have patience and compassion towards those with lower levels of awareness or motivation. If you’re trying to help people who are not as knowledgeable or conscious as you are, it’s helpful not to rush the process or to get impatient with them if they are not ready to change or face certain truths. For example, if you’re trying to teach someone how to eat healthier and take better care of their body, help them find ways to take baby steps. You’ll drive yourself crazy if expect everyone to make dramatic changes across the span of a day, a week, or even a month. Do you typically make dramatic changes overnight? Remind yourself that each person grows and changes at their own pace.
- Be a guide instead of a people fixer. Most of us who have a strong desire to help probably have a deep desire to fix or rescue people, but that’s not the role we should play. No one is perfect, so fixing anyone is futile. A healthier approach might be to view ourselves as guides and teachers who are sharing our skills, talents, and knowledge to help others more easily maneuver their way down their path. We should avoid rescuing people from their problems so they can learn lessons and grow on their own. Instead of being rescuers, we can be like lighthouses guiding and assisting others through the darkness.
- A small victory can be a huge victory. It may not be possible to help every person we encounter, but all the small successes can lead to something bigger. Once you’ve helped someone, they might be motivated to help others or begin spreading the information they’ve learned to their family and friends, which could benefit someone they know. Keep in mind that every time you try to teach others what you have learned, you might be planting the seed that is going to help someone grow.
- Accept that you won’t always succeed. Following your heart and your dreams sometimes requires you to step way outside the box. When you find the courage to step outside the box and do something different from what everyone else is doing, there is always the risk of failure. Some people might not understand what you’re doing. Others might intentionally target you and try to pull you down because your efforts are seen as a threat to the old, failing systems that they are desperately trying to maintain for as long as they can. Don’t let the fear of failure or obstacles stop you from fulfilling your mission. When your intuition tells you you’re on the right path, keep going. You will learn and grow a lot by taking these risks.
If you’ve been dealing with burnout lately, I hope some of the suggestions above will help you and inspire you to keep shining your light. For those who have experienced burnout, what do you think is the best way to cope with it?