A Safe Place For Discussion
Given the polarized nature of this past election cycle, it makes sense that tensions are still running high. Regardless of political affiliations, this election has had people feeling stressed, agitated, angered, and exhausted. For some, the results were a seen as a joyous occasion, a welcome change from the status quo; for others there are feelings of helplessness, fear for how the new administration could impact their lives, and a profound sense of loss. This election was deeply personal for many- there was an apparent shift from typical policy differences to a discussion about values and identity; whether certain groups of people have a place in this country or not. For many, these intense emotions have caused strains on relationships. People find themselves arguing or distancing themselves from friends, family members, or significant others. The election may be over but the fears and anxieties people are experiencing are still very present. But now we are all faced with a question- what do we now? How do we channel these emotions toward constructive and positive causes instead of getting swept up in fear, anger, or hate?
Some pieces of advice:
1. Be present: It is important to understand that your feelings are valid, instead of fighting against them. Allow yourself to feel the anger, anxiety, or fear. People often hear phrases like “everything will be fine” or “it will all work out”. While they may be well intentioned, those comments can make people feel worse- unknowingly invalidating the legitimate feelings of others because there are many who worry that everything will not be fine. Instead, make room for pain or anger so that you can understand what those emotions mean to you and where they stem from; utilize this understanding as a motivating force to gain control, take action, or begin the process of healing.
2. Take Action: This post-election anxiety is a feeling of dread that is fueled by uncertainty. To combat the fear of the unknown it is helpful to take action, however small, to effect change in your communities. Become educated about causes that you care about, find out how you can get involved in local causes or larger scale organizations. Taking a proactive stance will diminish feelings of helplessness and allow you to take back a sense of control.
3. Remain Engaged: Approach the world with a curious mind. Don’t allow yourself to succumb to hatred. Instead of writing off those who have different view points, ask questions. We all live together in this society; it is important to resist the urge to shut people out. Talk to one another, ask questions, explore possibilities. Compassion and desire to understand one another will take you farther than isolation.
Remember, the emotions evoked from this election are complex and real. It will take time to understand what the results mean to you and how you can exercise a sense of control in the community around you. Here at North Brooklyn Marriage and Family Therapy, we recognize the need for people to work through these emotions, to have a safe place to discuss these pressing matters. Therefore, we will be holding a Post-Election Anxiety group each week starting Saturday, January 21st from 4:30pm to 5:30pm to provide a place for people to discuss their concerns or anxieties that have developed from this election. $20 suggested donation. RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.