Here we are a few short days away from the 2016 US Presidential election. Many of us (myself included) have already voted. Most of us made up our minds a long time ago. Those who say they are “undecided” probably have made up their minds too but are reveling somewhat in their unique “swing” status and the attention it brings them. It’s time to vote and then move to the process of getting on with our lives and our country.
It is disconcerting how divisive this election has been. Yes, the country was already divided on many key social and economic issues but this election has only exacerbated the situation.
Now that we are nearing the election we are starting to hear some apocalyptic voices that speak to even worse case scenarios occurring after November 8. Trump and his message of the election being “rigged” has stirred up his supporters such that some are already preparing for disruptive behavior if their candidate loses. One right wing media pundit (whose 15 minutes of attention has long over played) was calling for folks to join him in picking up their “muskets”. Many Hillary supporters are talking about relocating to Canada if Trump wins. Neither response is in the best interest of the United States.
Since you most likely have made up your mind and you have a bit of time before the election, I am asking you to consider using this time to “reorient your thinking”. Here is what I am suggesting:
No matter which candidate you support and no matter what negativity is being presented out there in our sensationalist media, I am asking you to stop and ask yourself what good you see in both candidates. Take this time to see goodness rather than “evil”.
Don’t worry, the media and those caught up in the fear of what might happen in this election can churn up enough negativity without you feeding in to it. It will be ok, you can step away from trashing one or both of the candidates for awhile. After all, again, most folks have made up their minds….continuing to trash talk Clinton or Trump isn’t going to change anyone’s opinion….in fact, all it might do is to continue to feed a sense of our separation and disunity.
Yeah, I know this won’t be easy….no matter which candidate you prefer, you have a long list of reasons why the other one is “crazy”, “a liar”, “a crook”, etc. etc. etc. You’ve probably had a degree of fun in degrading that candidate…..it has bonded you with like minded “haters”.
But….and you can do this….it’s time to step away from the hate….and move towards seeing the good.
Here are two simple steps:
Step One — Stop Being Negative
It’s hard if not impossible to see good when your focus is in the other direction. Hence, this first step opens you to second step. Besides, do you really want to live in the world of negativity all the time?
What practical ways can you do to let go of being negative? Don’t pass along negative social media posts. Don’t make negative online comments. Don’t tell me how crazy I am for suggesting all of this! (That’s simply more negativity!) When others trash “your candidate”, simply say “I don’t agree” and let it go. When you feel that emotion welling up inside you that wants to defend your position or candidate and point out how “stupid” the other person is, simply invite yourself to take a “pause” before responding….and then consciously choose not be to negative! You are powerful! You can do this!
Step Two — Look for the Good
Now, I invite you to honestly take a look at both candidates….maybe start with the one you prefer, it’ll be easier….and ask yourself this question: “what do I like about them?” Make a mental list of the things that you do like. Stay with the positive things. Now, the challenge….ask the same question about the other candidate, the one you feel so emotionally negative towards. Come up with at least 5 things you like about them.
Come on….5 good things about Trump and Clinton…bonus points for more!
This is critical to remember — finding something positive to like about Trump or Clinton has nothing to do with any criticisms you have about them. It is perfectly OK to find something positive about someone and still have concerns about them. You can have strong disdain for their political positions and still see their human goodness.
If you say that you cannot find anything positive…then I say, you’re not really trying. You have convinced yourself and bought into your belief of disliking the other candidate so much that you cannot seem to open yourself to holding that internal feeling of dissonance of “seeing the good” even in something that you “believe is bad”. Keep trying. Let go of holding on to your dislike so much. Ultimately, it’s not supporting you or our country no matter how much you have convinced yourself of your righteousness.
The Bottom Line —
We all want the best for our families and our country but we have different opinions on how to accomplish that goal. We all want to feel safe and secure and have a decent standard of living. We want meaningful and productive work and options to live a life with joy and abundance. We are more alike than we are different. We are humans with human needs and desires first and foremost. Beyond that, we are all Americans living in this great country and we all should treat others with dignity and respect….and be treated with dignity and respect.
It’s OK to disagree on political matters. Our country is stronger when we have a diversity of opinions and ideas. That diversity leads to better solutions for all.
However, what we focus on and give our mental energy to is what we grow in our lives and in our world. If our focus is on our divisiveness, our differences, our hatred of those who are different from us, then we will call forth more hatred into the world. However, if our focus is on our basic unity, our similarities, our recognition of the good that is in all, then we will bring forth a world where there is more care for one another, more love.
Which world do you want?
Now is the time to start shifting our thoughts and mental energy…..no matter who wins this election, we must come together as a people and a country and work together to create a world that works for all…..no exceptions. Letting go of your fear and hatred and starting to see the good in both candidates….and everyone around you….is a critical first step on that journey.