Although who won the presidential election in America felt blurry for a while, what it clarified for me, is how divided the country really is.
With the election officially called, we are undoubtedly left with one candidate and nearly half the country in a state of grief.
Maybe they’re feeling…
Sadness of not getting what they wanted.
Fear of the choices made by the person in office.
Anger about the other half of the country not being on the same page.
And what about the other voters? Perhaps they are in a place of joy about the results.
Maybe they’re feeling...
Happy that their candidate won.
Celebratory that things may change in ways that they want.
Relieved that the person scheduled to be in office, has aligned interests.
Let me ask you...
How do you feel about the election results?
And how would you have felt if the results had gone the other way?
Seriously, take a minute to reflect on that. I’ll wait. 🙂
The reason I think this is important, is because it gives us an opportunity to not only get in touch with how we are feeling, but it also gives us a sense of what feelings others may have.
It gives us a moment to empathize.
And when we look at how the country voted, we can see there are a LOT of people potentially feeling very polarizing things right now. I think this has the power to further our country’s divide, if not handled with care.
So how do we bridge this gap? How do we heal this divide?
We heal it by coming back to what is the common thread among both sides. The thing that is true whether someone voted for Trump, Biden, or Kayne West.
We are human.
A complex combination of feelings… beliefs…. wants…. people we love… past hurts… motivations… things that leave us feeling safe… and unsafe.
While beyond our own vote, the results of the election may have been largely out of our hands, we can change the way this country heals by being with one another’s humanness.
Strip away the assumptions you have about folks who voted differently, the judgements about them as people or what motivates them, and choose to allow the space for their experience.
And no, that doesn’t mean saying "I agree with what you believe" or even "I understand you”. It means "your feelings are real and it makes sense that you feel that way".
Imagine what it might be like to be the other right now. What was it like for you imagining the election going the other way?
Can you think back to when you’ve lost something before?
Do you remember the pain of loss?
Can you think back to when you’ve felt victorious?
Do you remember the excitement or joy?
What if you literally reach out to someone you know who is supporting “the other side” to ask them how they’re feeling? Or what if you take a moment to simply imagine their pain or victory - and choose to send them love, choose to bring some focus and compassion to the feelings that may be present?
We have to acknowledge what’s here before we can really move forward together and it starts with you and me.
Try it, you’ll see. The more we hold space to validate and empathize one another, the more it spreads. The more others feel heard and see how THAT feels, the more likely they’ll be able to allow that space for others.
Can you imagine a country made of people that feel heard? I can. And it starts with us.
Choose to be the change.
Choose to come from a place of compassion even when it’s not easy.
Thank you for reading.