Finally, the election of 2020 is behind us. But not everyone is having an easy time moving on. Local Life Coach and new Buzz contributor Betsy Rosenfeld Vargas has some timely suggestions for moving on and getting closure.
Whether your team won the White House or not; whether you think there was widespread fraud or you think the other side is acting like sore losers; whether your favorite did or didn’t clinch the Council seat, or whether you’re worried about how you’re going to handle an even socially-distant holiday with family members who voted differently from you, it’s one week out from Election 2020, and our community is reeling…on all sides.
And while it would be wonderful to suggest that we all just reach across the aisle, or more practically the Thanksgiving table, and make peace, it doesn’t work that way. Before we can build bridges, we need to mindfully manage our own feelings and the process pain we feel.
Yes, I said pain. We may not identify it as such, but doom-scrolling the internet for sources that confirm our point of view, picking fights with those who don’t agree with us, or just generally feeling out of sorts and judgy of things that don’t align with our beliefs, are symptoms of pain.
So, like any other pain in life, here are some practical steps to manage hurt feelings, move forward, and hopefully, just maybe, allow our community to come together for the betterment of everyone.
Lofty, I know…but a girl’s gotta dream, right?
#1 – CONNECT TO YOUR FEELINGS
I’m mad. I’m frustrated. I’m disappointed. Figure out what you’re really feeling and then STOP.
Stop yourself from launching into the ‘why,’ because connecting your feelings to a story — e.g. ‘I’m so mad that Trump won’t just graciously concede, and you know what…they’re all crooks and we’re screwed’, or ‘why didn’t people see we need this person in this local seat, and now our neighborhood is doomed’– will drag you down and keep you stuck.
Stay only with the feeling and move to step #2.
#2 – TIME OUT
Give yourself time to process the feelings you discovered, without engaging others who may further trigger you. Go to your proverbial cool down corner and for all that is holy, keep off social media.
Instead, engage in things that will allow you to release your pissed-offness, and disappointment. Exercise, scream into a pillow, write a letter to no one about how angry you are. Read it and erase it.
Note: This may mean skipping in-person Thanksgiving this year. If you’re not finished processing, you may do irreparable damage to a relationship you really care about.
So now that you’re connected to your feelings, and healthily processing them, it’s time to mindfully navigate how to interact with people who may hold different points of view.
#3 – SEE INNOCENCE
A key tenet my coaching philosophy is that for our own sanity, we must consciously choose to “see Innocence” in others; most especially in those with whom we disagree.
By assuming other people come by their opinions not out of malice, but rather from a place of innocence, we can actually speak with them instead of at them.
We may not understand them, and even struggle to respect them, but when we dismiss them as purposely oppositional to ourselves, and demonize them for their party affiliation, preference for DA, or their embrace of one side of a ballot measure, we only add to the fractured state of our community. And that helps exactly no one.
So, bottom line: connect to your feelings about the election. Give yourself the space to feel what you feel without judgement. And then, and only then, open yourself up to connecting with others, and only so long as you are willing to keep an open mind.
It may all sound painfully simple. And yet it works.
My best friend and I live on the polar opposite sides of the political spectrum. It hasn’t always been easy, but when we use these techniques, which we have expanded to include not following each other on social media, and completely outlawing any discussions about the election, we have been able to weather 2020 and all the challenges it has brought along with it.
Betsy Rosenfeld Vargas is a certified Fearless Living Life Coach. Raised in Los Angeles, she attended Marlborough School and was the President of Cuisine à Roulettes at St. Vincent Meals on Wheels. She holds a BA from the University of Pennsylvania and an MA from USC.