11 Nov Regrouping After an Election Seismic Shift: Six Authentic Ways to Move Forward
While some may be celebrating, there are millions of people in shock over the American election. And now, we are now seeing a collective response that looks eerily likes the stages of grief. Some have referred to this as a “collective trauma.” This is not the first time that so many people have together felt this jumble of emotions. And unfortunately it will not be the last. I, myself, have struggled in these days looking for how to move forward. And so I have researched and searched for what works. And then I collected up the best of the best of what seems to be a great set of first steps to share with you.
- Return to what you know to be absolutely true: What is YOUR vision for this world?
When the ground has shifted, reach for a strong foundation. What is an absolute truth for you? What is something you know to be core to who you are. For me, it is the enduring love for my daughter knowing my job is to help make this world a better place for her. For someone else, it may be their steadfast commitment to equality and justice. What is it for you? Return to that truth. You will find strength in that truth. Use it for a foundation when you feel the world is unstable.
- Strengthen your connection to community, friends, and those who feel vulnerable
Do not isolate yourself. Reach out to friends and family. Connect with people in your community. If you are given the chance to offer support and compassion to the people who are feeling particularly exposed, take it. There are huge groups of people in this country who are feeling vulnerable and unsure of their future as a result of this election. And they fear their future. We will be defined by our collective effort to support one another and to stand up to hate of any kind.
- Do not give into fear
In times like this, fear is not our friend. But many of us will retreat to fear, because it is familiar. I get that because I, too, have gone there. And because we now face major uncertainty, we justify the fear. True, this election will likely bring about changes to our country a lot of it will not be good. But there will also be resistance and defense for what we all care about. How will this all shake out? We really don’t know yet. Because of this, I challenge my deepest fears because, in the end, we cannot look into the future. We can only be here and now.
- Take action
Action empowers. One of the beautiful things emerging just within the past few days is a movement of people who are standing up to say they will defend the gains we have made on peace, justice, equality, and environmental protection. I believe this resistance will make a difference. I have seen with my own eyes how standing up for what is right changes the course of history. Where do you want to take your action? You can make a tremendous difference in your local community. You can join but I strongly suspect will be a national movement to defend the peace and justice gains we want to keep. Even the smallest action to help someone else reminds us that we have the power to make positive change. We are not powerless.
- Be compassionate to yourself
Millions of people are feeling hurt and scared. When we feel this way – especially Americans – we tend not focus on nurturing and healing. I am a true believer in taking action when there is injustice. But if we are unable to heal ourselves with self-care and compassion, we are no good to others. Take the time you need to nuture yourself and restore. This means taking time away from social media and the news as it tends to drown us in negativity. Be realistic about the emotional impact this election has had on you. And do not feel guilt for retreating to take this time. When we do this, we are stronger and better able to stand up and respond to what is right. We are in this for the long haul.
- Have Hope
Hope – not despair – is how we as humans have moved forward before. Hope is what brought the vote to women. Hope is what fueled the civil rights movement. Hope is what finally gave Americans a legal right to marry. Hope is what gave us protections for clean water and clean air. Hope is how we elected our first black president. And hope will be what we need to move us forward through and past the next four years. It is that hope that will burn brightly for us to move forward. We owe that to ourselves and our children.
“This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it. It is, it is worth it.”
-Democratic Presidential Nominee and Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton