Last week I attending an inspiring and beautiful tribute to the late Martin Luther King Jr (thank you Office of Institutional Diversity and Michelle Garfield Cook!). I did not realize prior to that event that I was carrying a large load of grief and sadness for the upcoming presidential transition. Dr. King’s vision never seemed in so much jeopardy.
Yet I’m trying to maintain my sense of optimism. Here’s what is helping me:
- 20% of the US is freaking out right now, which is a different 20% that freaked out when Obama was elected. We felt they were being unreasonable and over-reactive at the time, and so I probably am overacting to some degree as well.
- We’ve had 8 amazing years with the Obamas’ wisdom and grace. His election, twice, says as much about America as this current election.
- Even if Trump may not be the best mechanism for needed change, change will happen. Change is usually painful and difficult, and the lower we fall, the more change we will be willing to undergo. For that reason, I usually celebrate the opportunity when someone hits rock bottom, and I will celebrate this now, given that most of us are in agreement that something is broken in Washington. Good change will be informed by understanding, compassion, justice and an aspirational vision for a better future.
- All this catastrophizing I’ve been doing is causing me pain. I remind myself that “there is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” (Shakespeare). My thinking is causing me pain so I’m trying acceptance.
- Acceptance does not mean being passive. Acceptance means I understand that our reality is changing and that I should take whatever action I can to create a positive outcome. I keep trying while also accepting my limited ability to make an impact. I will use my negative emotion to motivate me, and use my strengths to contribute the best way I can. For example, I have not felt the urge to blog now for 6 months and now I am once again inspired to do so.
- All things are impermanent. The Obama presidency had to end, and so will Trump’s. We will survive, and even better, our post-traumatic growth will be spectacular.