We all deserve to experience and express our feelings regarding the presidential election, regardless of our political affiliation, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or ethnic origin. It’s natural to feel disappointed, sad, angry, fearful, hurt, and hurt by what we expected and wanted to happen, but didn’t.
If Secretary Clinton had won the presidential election, she would be saying the exact same thing for Trump supporters. Uniting as a nation doesn’t just mean supporting presidential elected officials. It means supporting and allowing the feelings everyone has and keeping space for those feelings.
Defend positive expression
The protests that have been taking place in major cities, including New York, is a way of expressing and releasing feelings. It is one of the emotionally healthy ways to do it except of course for those who are acting violently, which is unacceptable.
There is a movement that started before the elections in New York City by Matt Chavez. After observing the gloomy mood of the people in the subway below 14th Street, he encouraged others to express their feelings on postcards and then post these notes on the subway walls. Validating the desperate need of many people to communicate their thoughts and emotions, more than 2,000 people used this creative method to share their feelings in this neutral way.
Preparing your destiny for acceptance
The only way that people who wanted a different outcome will be able to truly accept what it is is by allowing their feelings. This is not a new concept, or it is only specifically related to choice. Allowing and accepting the healthy expression of feelings is a must to continue to embrace positive growth in life. If we are struggling with a problem and have a hard time accepting it, either …
o A relationship that ends
o Loss of a job
or a medical illness
o The death of a loved one
… before we can accept reality, we have to go through a process. We need to feel and express our feelings. This is the path to the destination of acceptance. There is no specific defined time frame. It happens in the time of each individual.
This is also a process and cannot be rushed. There was more complexity during this campaign than at any other time in history. Both candidates presented us with something new to consider and a lot to process. Not only was she a woman running to the forefront for the first time for the presidency of a major political party, the other was not her usual candidate, but a businessman with no political experience.
Two sides of every story
This week, many of the people I work with in my psychotherapy practice spoke about how they are emotionally affected by the outcome of the presidential election.
Some are experiencing:
o A feeling of loss,
o Lack of security,
o The loss of his dream of the first female president
o The disappointment of waiting for the glass ceiling to break for women
o Despair for the defeat of someone who represented their hope and dreams of something else
o Concern about ethnicity and sexual orientation issues that arose during the elections
While others have expressed their enthusiasm for the presidential result and the prospect of having a non-politician in the White House and what that may mean for them.
Together we can recover from the aftershock
I encourage each of us to make a real effort to listen, understand and respect the feelings and points of view of others, even when it feels impossible. This may be the only way to truly unite.
o Some of my psychotherapy clients have trauma in their history. They may have been sexually abused, assaulted or harassed, or have been subjected to racial or sexual orientation bias. You have had these previous heartaches unleashed because something that was happening during the election triggered old hurts.
o While others are elated and hopeful by the opinions and promises made by Donald Trump.
Home is where healing begins
We all deserve to have our feelings and our voices heard. The uncertainty of what will come next and the fear of losing control can cause us to act where we think we can safely, at home.
“At any given moment, much of our suffering does not come from the moment we find ourselves, but from our projection of what will happen in the future. In reality, we have no idea what will happen next.” ~ Allison Carmen, author of The Gift of Maybe.
Unfortunately, many of us have carried our very intense feelings to our most intimate spaces and to our extended family and friends. So while the elections may be over, the gap created by arguments between our loved ones has yet to be repaired.
The way to hope
When someone is truly committed to a political candidate, as many of us have been, and what each candidate stands for, the feelings are sure to be deeply experienced, particularly when the person they were supporting did not win and their dream did not come true.
With any dream or loss, feelings cannot be turned off like a light switch. In fact, that would be emotionally unhealthy. The path to hope, healing, acceptance, and togetherness is to allow ourselves and others to experience and process our feelings without minimizing or repressing them.
Some people may have made fun of or made fun of other people, and ridiculed those who are showing or expressing strong feelings about what happened. If we give ourselves and others time to process our feelings, it will be more possible to come to a place of acceptance of what is, and to move forward and unite with our families and as a nation.
If you are struggling to accept the election results, or are experiencing historical wounds that have been triggered by this event, if we can all allow each other to process our feelings, perhaps we can begin the steps toward healing. .