I know many of us are still sitting with and processing the recent election results.
Many of us are feeling disappointed, angry, scared, shocked and numb. Some of us are grieving, traumatized, worried about deportation and violence. We may be horrified about what electing Trump says about the state of the country and the sentiments held by a large percentage of the population.
As someone who works with a broad array of people, I’ve been thinking about what may be most useful during this time of uncertainty and change. Here are a few suggestions for the next few months:
1) Emotional care and connection: Have your reaction and feelings and engage in the necessary conversations to express your thoughts and all the complications and then take a break from conversations if needed. This may mean not checking social media for a few days. Eventually connect to a good source of news. This is your country and world and you must stay engaged and informed even after your break.
2) Grounding and history: Stay grounded in the fact that you are and will be okay. It can be difficult, but certain grounding exercises, music, art, poetry, meditation, or actual physical activity or exercise can help remind you that you are here in your body, in a particular moment, and life will continue. Many of us have been through extremely difficult times and have survived. We have resilience, problem-solving skills, and perseverance. We have been through ups and downs, we have created change, resisted, fought, left countries if our lives were in danger and made new homes if we needed. If this is difficult to see, it’s okay to be reminded of history and other struggles – watch some movies, read some books and remember that others have made it through longer-term horrors. Also change and progress doesn’t always happen in a linear fashion.
3) Openness: Remind yourself that even though we can all make predictions and feel anxiety and worry, we don’t actually know how anything plays out until we are in it. We think we know what will happen but we actually don’t
4) Activism and action: To prevent feelings of helplessness or dissatisfaction, get involved in making a concrete change. Don’t just settle in fear or disengagement. What actions can you take if you don’t like the situation? For those who say he is not your president, he actually is. And we can own that and either change it, support it or push to make things different. We do have a voice. We are not powerless and I think the more we stay focused on our own individual worries and concerns or disconnection, the more we perpetuate problematic situations.
5) Listen to the “other”: Dare I say, listen to Trump supporters and have some curiosity about why people voted for him. I know we think we know the answers and it’s easy to dismiss them for being racists, sexists, etc. but we are missing other points, just as many of them may miss our points. It takes a lot of practice to actually listen when what others are saying is harmful to us and to the communities we love. Most of us think our perspectives are right, or that our thoughts, perceptions, experience, knowledge base is on the just side of things. Listening does not mean agreement. We are still in the same country and same space.
“What are people really saying? What do they want and how do we respond to this? How do we keep alert and safe and still have the courage to engage or change things? What is our role?”
If there is anything particularly helpful you are doing, let me know.
We are here and grounded always!
Dr. Cory Nyamora is an endurance sports coach, a licensed clinical psychologist, and the founder of Endurance – A Sports & Psychology Center, Inc. He provides endurance coaching for beginner and experienced athletes, as well as psychotherapy services to children, adults, and families. Find out more at www.runinkenya.com and www.endurancecenter.org.