No matter your cause you will face some of the same tough situations to various degrees. The word “ally” has evolved some but its essence is ancient.
Sometimes you must not act when you wish you could
Sometimes it seems easiest to get angry on behalf of your ally, solve a problem on behalf of your ally, or otherwise “do” something. But so often the right thing for you to do is nothing.
Many times you are told things in confidence, your ally needs a counsellor, sympathy, a hug, maybe all of those things. But ultimately they have to decide what they are going to do. If you were to take matters into your own hands you would make things worse.
It’s important to remember that when you are an ally you are by definition not a principal. If you (e.g.) rage on behalf on those you support it’s possible they will suffer the consequences and not you. Your first job is to help, which means, sometimes you must not act.
Sometimes you must act when you wish you didn’t have to
If “nothing” is all you’re willing to do then maybe you aren’t part of the problem but you’re hardly part of the solution. So you have to decide what somethings you are willing to do. Probably the most basic is to be recognized as supporting your cause of choice. In some cases this is itself very dangerous!
Allies have fed the oppressed, rescued slaves, and transported victims of horrible persecution at great personal risk, and in defiance of laws. Probably what you are risking is less than that, but its something. It may be a very real risk to your family and friends as well as yourself. Understanding which somethings you are willing to do and which you are not is essential. Making this clear to your cause is also essential. Will you contribute time? Money? Will you participate in civil disobedience? Will you publicly agitate? Privately? Which rules will you break, if any?
I often find myself quoting Jim Malone from The Untouchables: “What are you prepared to do?” But also, from the same source, “God hates a coward.”