Sing, “Let it go, let it go!” if you are one of the people who almost (or did!) un-friend someone and/or disowned a family member throughout this presidential election!
(Insert everyone singing a song we have worked years to forget…)
Here is the thing: if politics never came into conversation (which they RARELY do), relationships would probably stay just as they are. We would all coexist, mostly pleasantly, but for the occasional road rage or mutual affray at the little league game. Things would be business as usual.
That being said, in honor of the November 8th election, here are 8 Ways to Maintain Your Relationships and Integrity in Regards to this Election:
1. Stop talking/typing and just breathe. Normally I simply say, “breathe”. But I find in this particular situation people have to literally (emphasize the “t”) take their hands off of the keyboard and/or reluctantly close their mouths and then start to breathe. Some have to actually cover their mouths, or have someone close their laptop on their typing fingers. Friends and loved ones, do not be afraid to do this. You may be saving a life.
2. Do Stress Relief Breaths (SRBs) every day, throughout the day. Even if you are one of those individuals who chooses to abstain from any and all political news, Facebook feeds, tweeters, discussions, etc, - unless you are living in a bunker it is IMPOSSIBLE not to pick up vicarious stress at this time. You can do SRBs reactively (when something suddenly stresses you out) or proactively (five SRBs in the morning, at lunch time, and before bed). Click here to learn the 5 Steps of the Stress Relief Breath.
3. Stop trying to convince each other: If there is one thing we can clearly see, it is this: if a person doesn't like Trump - there's no way they are ever going to like him. There's no way to convince them otherwise. And the same goes for the anti-Hillary peeps. So, please, let's all just stop trying to convince each other to come to the other side. If you want to share about a policy, or provide your opinion about a specific candidate – go for it! Just don’t try to criticize or badger someone into agreeing with you. Or take it so personally if they don’t. That’s where it gets ugly. You want to viciously rant about one of them? Have at it! But also trust that no one on the other side of your opinion really wants to hear it. So do it with people who share your opinions, or – here’s a great suggestion - write it down in your diary!
4. Remember: People are generally still good. Aside from the handful of misogynists and racists that suddenly felt it was appropriate to come out of hiding, most people are still good. The truth is, before I heard some people speak about Trump or Hillary - I genuinely liked them. I think they liked me too. And I am trying to hold onto why, because that's not going to change that much. I’m still going to enjoy laughing with certain family members, and crack up with my other room parents outside of the kindergarten class. And, most likely, who we voted for – and politics in general – won’t even come up.
5. Our daily lives aren’t really going to change. No matter who is elected, we are still going to be living in our same communities, doing the same routines, and seeing the same people. Hopefully trying to do our best, be as kind as possible, nod and smile during drop-off and in the grocery store, be friendly at Thanksgiving, and be good citizens of America.
6. People’s personalities, actions, and values are not going to change much. No matter who is elected, we are still going to stand up for what we believe in. And support the causes we believe in. Unless they decide to make a big change: complainers will still complain, haters gonna hate, heartbreakers gonna break, fakers gonna fake fake fake fake fake. I'm still going cringe when someone sends me the thumbs up emoji, yell at my kids occasionally, and be messy. I’m still going to see the glass half full, promote kindness and equality, recycle, volunteer, and have a moms night out (even with people who voted differently than me!). I'm still going to create the happiest life I can, and surround myself with like-minded people. Bottom line: I will still be me. And you will still be you.
7. Make sure if you have let go of a relationship, it was for a genuine and profound reason. I did consciously un-friend a couple of Facebook acquaintances. They revealed themselves as truly racist and sexist and used hateful language. Three things that are not acceptable, or necessary, in my life. Ever. I had some borderline conflict with a couple of people I truly like and decided to follow my own guidance, set some boundaries, rise above the political talks, and remember why I connect and relate to them. And definitely not let the ridiculousness of this political race divide us.
8. Speak with positive and effective language. Make a choice to share your points, thoughts, and feelings in a way that is grounded and emotionally intelligent. There is never a need to say things in a mean-spirited, offensive, or attacking way. To quote the great author Miguel Ruiz from his book The Four Agreements, “Be impeccable in your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.”
May the force be with all of you during these final days of the 2016 presidential election. You can count on me to be the best person I can before, during, and after November 8th.
Will you make the same commitment?
Healing Vigilante podcast coming soon!