What to do when everything is too much?
By Yaron Engler
Published Jun 4, 2021
The last couple of weeks have been tough for me. I’ve felt overwhelmed, with negativity coming from many directions. At work, I’ve been suffering with classic Imposter Syndrome: who am I to think that I can make my vision come true? On the home front my wife and I have been arguing – nothing too feisty, but sometimes in an argument what’s not said can be louder and more painful than what is said. And of course, the kids needed our time and attention too but our patience with them was lousy.
On top of all that, I’ve been really affected by the awful events in Israel, which is where I grew up. Everyone seems to have a strong opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and this has brought out so much aggression and nastiness in too many people. I received a comment from someone on LinkedIn – a platform that is generally known to stay out of politics – telling me that Hitler should have finished the job with ‘people like me’ last century. What I think, believe, and stand for just doesn’t matter to some people; to them, I was born in Israel to a Jewish family, which simply means I should not exist.
So, the world has felt like a nasty, manipulative place to me at times recently. I’ve had fears bubbling up about my life and about just what we’ll leave for our children in the future. At its worst, humanity is full of aggression, pain and suffering; ignorance and lies. And who the hell am I to claim that we can all do better? Who am I to believe that positive change is possible, when there’s so much shit going down? Who am I even to judge objectively? These are some of the questions that I couldn’t get out of my head lately.
I know that it’s okay to have this type of thoughts, but it’s important to acknowledge when we’re feeling overwhelmed. It’s what we do with these thoughts and how we turn them into something positive that matters.
With all the challenges we face, I know that I must continue doing work that connects people to themselves and others, to challenge the doom and gloom. I have no doubt that the work I do with men makes a difference to many lives: it’s clearly visible with the men who are in the programme.
In the past few days, I was lucky enough to get an insight into the way the work also impacts others, after listening to some wives and girlfriends talk about the change in their partners (as part of some branding work I’ve been doing). We might not be able to change the whole world, but we must do what we can, one act at a time, to create a positive ripple effect on others. There’s so much more value and satisfaction in spending our time doing this instead of fighting battles that cannot be won.