If you were asked to describe yourself, what would you say? For many, our self-descriptors are a conglomerate of hobbies, beliefs, social circles, and identities. Regardless of whether these identities were something you were born into or something you chose, there is no doubt that they are integral to who you are. So what do you do when these identities are threatened?

Loud opinions and threats from others may be intimidating, and when you want to be an advocate for something, they can be overpowering. What do you do in the face of intimidation?

First and foremost, you must care for yourself and your loved ones. When you're upset, take the time to center yourself. Gather your thoughts, write them down, and speak to a friend or therapist. The first step toward creating change is to understand your own personal stance and know how you might want to move forward. Remember, even the most active advocates need to step away sometimes to refocus.

Once you have bolstered yourself, you are ready to take the next step. Nothing is wrong with simply voicing your opinion, but true advocacy has a much broader scope of action. Some direct approaches include attending/ organizing peaceful protests, contacting your state representatives, and speaking to friends/colleagues who are willing to listen. If you are advocating for a group you are not a part of, speak to those you are advocating for. Ask them how best to advocate on their behalf.

If you are unable to go forward with these actions, though, that does not mean there is nothing that you can do to help. Consider donating your time (or money) as a volunteer. Research charities supporting the causes that matter to you, and then contact them to see how you can contribute.

Get involved in your community, reach out, and take inspiration from others. The key to long-term activism is resilience, which is hard to achieve in the face of opposition, but not impossible. Familiarize yourself with tactics others may use to attempt to delegitimize your stance, and practice calm and firm responses (or, in some cases, practice not responding at all). You are not alone, and your motivation will inspire others to join you.

You have within yourself the power to do great things. Don't forget that even the smallest splash creates a ripple in a still pond.