We all just need a little time...
I think it’s safe to say that pretty much everyone feels wrung out from everything that 2020 has brought our way. Keeping pace with that is last week’s election. People on both sides feel very confused, hurt and are left feeling like they don’t really know or understand some of their neighbors, friends and family. That feeling has been present for the past 4 years, but the wound has recently been re-opened for many.
Well-meaning people continue to post things about being unified, getting back to our regular lives, advising that we forget about or look past our differences and simply unite as Americans. The problem comes in that this particular election (and really the previous one as well) feels very personal. Many of the issues at hand come down to our moral convictions and our identity, and “just looking past that” feels wrong at our core.
The damage feels irreparable and co-existing feels nearly impossible. So what do we do? Deep division such as this impacts all of us emotionally, socially and physically. And this is also where the solutions can be found.
1. Take care of yourself.
Feel your emotions around what is happening and find a healthy and appropriate way to express them.
Take time for yourself. Get some rest, exercise, a massage - or whatever self-care looks like for you.
2. Give yourself some space (if possible) from the people you feel in conflict with. Allow everyone the time they need to cool off a bit.
3. When you see these people again- agree to boundaries or rules about topics of conversation.
4. Understand that almost everyone is feeling hurt, afraid or misunderstood. Deep down even the loudest, most seemingly belligerent person out there is probably either afraid or hurt. Until we can all get out of that emotional place in our brain we are unable to really hear each other or educate each other.
5. Eventually, find common ground and issues that you can work on together.
There is no time table for all of this. Yes, it would be fantastic if we all woke up tomorrow and had gotten past all of this, but that’s not reality. It’s going to take time, patience and everyone taking care of themselves before they can truly be part of a unified America.
For more information on stress management or conflict resolution contact me at: