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"Pick Your Battles" Ignored


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Old 16th December 2013, 4:14 PM   #1
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"Pick Your Battles" Ignored

My little niece (18) is very much the champion of everything and everyone. She is passionate about helping and changing and trying to find justice and generally doing things which are helpful. However, there are times when she picks battles she just isn't going to win. She called me this morning angry about how women in Afghanistan are treated, feels let down because her coach won't play her friend in soccer, and is weepy because she feels so overwhelmed by all the poverty she sees in this world. We raised her so I am her father in all but biological makeup. She is in college and is very mature for an 18 yr old.
My wife is an empath (more logical minded though) and she realizes that this is something her niece shares with her. My wife believes we have to let her find her own way. I believe I need to bring her home and wrap her in a bubble away from all the bad stuff in life though I know that isn't logical or helpful and she would hate that.
However, as we have suggested to my niece, "It is not necessary to react to everything you see. Pick your battles and wage your wars when you can do the most good and are in a position where you can effect change." She agrees and then reacts to everything she sees.
Is there a more effective way to help her learn how to harness empathy so she isn't emotionally exhausted all the time? She calls me every night and has some new cause. I remember college and I know that this is what it is like, but she takes everything to heart. Any advice from those who have dealt with this or understand this driving passion?
Thanks in advance,
Grumps
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Old 16th December 2013, 4:58 PM   #2
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She's 18.... 18 year olds tend to be very idealistic. Sounds pretty normal to me, honestly. And if she's interested in world events/politics/ really anything in this world where everyone is generally too blase/postmodern/"ironic," good for her! She sounds like a great girl.

In brief, i don't think she needs an intervention... as someone who works with 18 year olds who have just discovered the world (college), and as someone who was once an 18 year old woman, I can assert this is mostly a phase, but a positive one. Young women need to be especially encouraged in their passions and willingness to stand up for them!

She will likely get more selective in choosing battles in time. That's part of growing up, you know?

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Old 16th December 2013, 6:20 PM   #3
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nescafe:
Did my wife call you? Exactly what she said. I guess I am a wee bit protective of the little charmer.
Thank you,
G
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Old 16th December 2013, 6:32 PM   #4
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nescafe:
Did my wife call you? Exactly what she said. I guess I am a wee bit protective of the little charmer.
Thank you,
G

she sounds altruistic and emapthic........i have been this way all my life......i try really hard to champion the underdogs....causes........to the point fo sickness in some cases.....she needs constants in her life to tell her when to let go .......to follow her passions but at the same time maintain her own health.........because seeing and dealing with others problems can be the biggest drain........as an empath....channeling passion into success in dealing with bad circumstances....is never bad if she has constant people inn her life who watch otu for her..........sounds like your wife and you are constant....good luck to her....battle on ....support her.....just watch her....see if she can get back up from a support network of similarly minded people....a group....a church....whatever....pick her passions......try to not let her go on tangent projects at the same time......deb
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Old 16th December 2013, 7:46 PM   #5
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Part of growing up is learning where to prioritize your time and energy, I feel like technology's downside is the amount of information bombarding you every day makes this harder. If you have Facebook, then you have friends posting articles with sensationalist headlines which promote each issue as if it's the biggest deal in the world and you need to fight for it or you're a bad person. I still sometimes build up the ideal world in my head and am upset about how it isn't that way but am getting more realistic about expectations and less edgy about each issue I see someone spout off about. You can only be overwhelmed for so long before you start realizing you cannot change everything to your will and stop getting so emotionally involved with every injustice you see.

Your niece will start to learn this eventually, sorry man, there's no way for you to resolve this for her.
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Old 16th December 2013, 8:28 PM   #6
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nescafe:
Did my wife call you? Exactly what she said. I guess I am a wee bit protective of the little charmer.
Thank you,
G
Well I can definitely empathize with you wanting to protect her from all the anguish that caring so much can cause. But I think it's a lesson that everyone must learn on their own. For now, if I were in your shoes I would do my best to be supportive of her enthusiasm... and be ready to help when she gets burned out/disillusioned. I think that's the most loving thing anyone can do.
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Old 16th December 2013, 8:34 PM   #7
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Sounds about right for 18. I'm much older but I still sometimes feel a bit disappointed that I can't save the world. That's when I got into volunteering and I've been volunteering at one thing or another for decades. Took me a while to find my passion tho so be patient with her. She'll live - so will you.
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Old 16th December 2013, 10:18 PM   #8
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My little niece (18)
^^Love this!^^

With that said, you're her loving and protective uncle who wants to shield her from bad stuff, prevent her from hurting and experiencing too much pain.. the thing is, these are her lessons to learn and over time she will see how exhausting it is, to try to fight all battles, go to war all the time.. As she gets older and wiser, she'll change her ways.

She is who she is - passionate, kind, giving and loves with ALL of her heart and wears her heart on her sleeve. All great qualities, but in time she'll get hurt enough to see that she will have to pick her battles, not try to win them all. Compromise and learn to let go, detach a bit.
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Old 16th December 2013, 10:20 PM   #9
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I recall being similarly idealistic in my teens, Grumps. I think I turned out cynical enough in my twenties...

She'll be alright. Just be there for her when she needs a shoulder to cry on. Life will teach her the rest.
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Old 16th December 2013, 10:26 PM   #10
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Is there a more effective way to help her learn how to harness empathy so she isn't emotionally exhausted all the time?
5 or 6 years of maturity should do it

Thank goodness for 18 year-olds and their idealism, though. Sometimes they really do change the world.
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Old 16th December 2013, 11:46 PM   #11
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5 or 6 years of maturity should do it

Thank goodness for 18 year-olds and their idealism, though. Sometimes they really do change the world.
xxoo:
She certainly did change our world. We thought we were scot free until her parents decided to be butt darts. Then we got her at 3 months. Landed in my hands like a tiny package of fluff and tears. I am glad she is like her aunt, my wife. My wife does change the world... lobbying, fighting, loving, being there for the rest of us. I just hold them up as best I can and try to protect them as best I can. She told me tonight that her friends in college thought I was hot...apparently I am not portraying the severity I should be. She was embarrassed so it was worth it, of course.
Grumps
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Old 17th December 2013, 12:56 AM   #12
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Thank goodness for 18 year-olds and their idealism, though. Sometimes they really do change the world.
I love working at the college for this very reason.
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Old 17th December 2013, 1:04 AM   #13
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I love my little girl and don't want her to suffer....stupid, yes. Everything I do, I do to make sure they are safe. She says I am too hoverey...I know, not a word. She used to lie in my hands and when the coach said she couldn't play football I offered him a new face and gave her a haircut. She is her own person, but I am her poppy. I want her to change the world, but not if it breaks her heart.
G
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Old 17th December 2013, 12:46 PM   #14
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I love my little girl and don't want her to suffer....stupid, yes. Everything I do, I do to make sure they are safe. She says I am too hoverey...I know, not a word. She used to lie in my hands and when the coach said she couldn't play football I offered him a new face and gave her a haircut. She is her own person, but I am her poppy. I want her to change the world, but not if it breaks her heart.
G
You sound like a wonderful uncle, Grumps, and like the next couple of years will be a great opportunity for growth, for both you and your niece.
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Old 17th December 2013, 1:39 PM   #15
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I recall being similarly idealistic in my teens, Grumps. I think I turned out cynical enough in my twenties...

She'll be alright. Just be there for her when she needs a shoulder to cry on. Life will teach her the rest.

You always nail it, Els....

Yep...Typical female idealistic crap..Too much internet hand wringing..
She'll learn that you cant control the worlds problems and her cat isnt the most wonderful thing that ever happened to her..

Just got to ride it out...

TFY
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