How The 2016 Presidential Election Is Affecting Our Real-Life Relationships

Don't let our nasty presidential election affect you and your relationships.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

When I was on Facebook yesterday, I came across a video that brought tears to my eyes (and I almost never cry). If you haven't seen it yet, it's a series of video clips of Canadians telling Americans that they think we are great. If you haven't seen it, watch it here.

While this might seem like a tongue-in-cheek bash against Donald Trump (because of his slogan of "Make America Great Again"), it's more than that. I think that regardless of which candidate you are voting for (or choosing to vote for a third party or write-in yourself as the next president), no one can deny that this presidential election has been like nothing we've seen in the past.

So many people are SO sure that they are RIGHT when it comes to politics, or their political candidate of choice. But really people, there is NO right or wrong - it's all your opinion.

Yes, there are facts. Hillary did really bad stuff with her emails and with Benghazi. And Trump is a very angry man who puts other people down and has no empathy. And they both lie - a lot. Those are just some of the facts. But ultimately, it's how a person INTERPRETS the facts (and so-called/alleged facts) that really determines how they feel about a particular candidate.

None of us are strangers to heated political debates - especially since the advent of social media. It seems like you can't get away from angry people on both sides of the political spectrum. But have you noticed (or even wondered) how it is affecting our real-life relationships?

I'll be the first to admit it. I struggle to keep the respect for people who like a particular candidate who will remain nameless. Don't get me wrong - I don't like either one of them. But to me, one is way more deplorable than the other. People in my family whom I love and respect are going to be voting for this hideous candidate, and it makes me sick to think they can overlook the disgusting behavior exhibited by this person (yes, I'm purposely not naming that candidate because this is not a political article - and everyone will fill in the blanks in their own minds about who I'm talking about...some will be right, and some will be wrong).

The reason this is bothering me is because I pride myself on being a very objective, empathetic, and understanding person. Not only do I see myself struggling with it, I've heard of many people even having issues with their co-workers in their workplace as well. It's permeating our lives everywhere, on every level.

Why are we letting something like our dislike for the presidential candidates and their bad behavior rip apart our real relationships? Why can't we all agree to disagree? I usually have no problems agreeing to disagree with other people. We are all entitled to our opinions and look at the world differently.

But my problem with this whole campaign is how low and nasty it has become. I know, I know, tell you something you don't already know, right? But I've done a lot of thinking and research about why it has affected us on a personal level, and/or why we have been more intrigued - and frightened - than ever before.

I think there are many angry people in the world. And seeing these two political candidates behave the way they have in debates, and seeing them throw insults at each other, has just fueled our own personal fires. It's almost like people are living their anger out vicariously through watching this election. And that is ironic because most of us don't like it, yet we are feeding into it.

I had lunch today with a good friend, and we were talking about the election. When I mentioned the video by our Canadian friends, I was talking about how I didn't realize how drained I felt by the election hoopla until I saw the video. I told him how it felt so good to see Canadians spread love to us, as silly as that sounds. It's almost as if they were a parent consoling a child and telling them that everything is going to be okay.

My friend also admitted that it was taking a personal toll on him as well. Since he got to the restaurant first, he was reading about Trump at the debate late night on his phone while waiting. Then when I arrived, he thought, "Why am I filling my head with this negativity?" He admitted that the whole thing was draining and he was afraid it was affecting his own life.

It's really difficult to separate yourself from negativity in the world - and the constant media coverage and nasty comments on social media are not helping the matter. While I prefer to put my head in the sand regarding negativity, it cannot be ignored. Just as it cannot be ignored on the political stage.

But are you ignoring how it's affecting your own life? Is your opinion driving a wedge between you and your family, friends, and colleagues? Or is it bringing you closer? My guess it's the former and not the latter.

Don't let our nasty presidential election affect you and your relationships. Luckily, it's almost over. But even when it is, maybe we can all choose not to feed ourselves the negativity from the outside world. That way, it will leave more room for the good stuff.

Popular in the Community