Yep, I had to write a post about the election. Many of my clients struggled with how to process the election and understand how it would impact them. Many people’s reactions on both sides were ones of anger and frustration giving a voice to the divide the exists within our society.
If you’re struggling to manage the emotions or frustrations regarding the election my advice for you is this, “be the change you want to see in the world”. If you want someone on the other side of the fence to be empathetic of you, you need to practice empathy with them. There are many reasons of why people vote. If we took the time to understand versus judge others, we will not only forge connections, but also educate each other on experiences the other may not be aware of.
Give your friends and family the benefit of the doubt. Understand that each of us has a unique view the world based on our experiences. For example, I was raised in a bi-racial family and based on my upbringing had visibility to the struggles of my family members as a result of racism. Though I wish that everyone could see the struggles and empathize with them, for my own peace I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. How can I expect them to see this if they have never experienced it on their own? Instead of getting angry and isolating myself from them, why not try to bring to light some of my own learnings in a way that is empathetic and curious versus judgemental?
Most importantly, ensure your choices reflect your hopes and not your fears. Regardless of the politician we all have a choice and we all have a voice. We can decide today to be a leader of a revolution, giving light to issues and experiences that we may not be aware of. Or we can believe we have no power and that we’re simply just pawns in the big game. It’s your choice. I know for me it’s more productive to choose the course of leading by example, to choose love instead of hate. If I want peace, I have to be peaceful and practice empathy. This does not mean that I tolerate discrimination in any form, but it does give me permission to understand and maybe connect with someone versus further adding to the divide. I do not choose fear, rather I choose hope that the divide can slowly be mended.