Recently, I’ve been so bummed with all of the terrible news in the world. Between North Korea, Syria and Venezuela, there’s just so much violence and cruelty in the world. I want to get it out of my head, but I can’t ignore human suffering. How can I be happy when there’s so much meanness in the world?

Next to learning the truth about Santa Claus and where you were conceived, realizing that humankind is a plague has got to be the worst blow to our systems. Everywhere you turn, people cheat, lie, rob, rape, murder and sustain systems rooted in heartache, inequality and sadism. Now, you can try to withdraw from these systems on a personal level. Stop wearing clothes that are made in Chinese sweatshops and stop eating meat that’s produced unethically through factory farming. But then you realize that your sweatshirt is made in an equally horrific Mexican maquiladora, and you consume fruit that is picked by exploited migrant workers. In a world like this, you need to pick your causes. You seem to align with a general principle of fairness and nonviolence, so how do you reconcile the fact that unfairness and violence reigns throughout the world?

You can scrutinize every stupid and dangerous thing the government does, attend every protest to advance human rights and still never do enough. It’s good to be “woke” and understand injustice, but you simply can’t know it all. Read, explore, talk to as many people as you can, write about suffering, but you can’t cry every moment of the day. Unfortunately, systems of power are devoid of people like you: people who recognize and wish to remedy injustice. But unless you really plan to become a politician, a lawyer or an annoying actor, you have to accept your plebeian status and that you can’t make monumental change. You can involve yourself in these causes if you feel passionate enough. Volunteer for Greenpeace, Habitat for Humanity or any other worthy organization. If you don’t have enough time, help the world on a micro level. Volunteer for a soup kitchen or animal shelter. You will meet more like-minded people who share your dedication for a better future.