I have seen dark days.
I was a child in an orphanage during the Second World War. While in grade school, I was taught to “duck and cover” to protect against potential atomic bombing. I’ve lived through the cultural and civil rights revolution and riots of the 1960-70s. I saw body bags being brought back from Vietnam. I saw the second plane hit one of the towers on live TV. I have been poor. I have been out of work. I have had no health care.
Like many of you, I’ve also voted for a presidential candidate who I thought would be “the one,” but had my hopes and dreams thwarted during many elections—just as I did again last night.
Life however, has taught me ways to overcome the sadness and loss that accompanies such crushing disappointments.
1. Don’t dwell. It doesn’t do any good and blocks you from moving forward.
2. Evaluate whether the results are going to affect your immediate situation. If so, your best bet is to do something for others, it will make you feel like you are part of a positive outcome, no matter what.
3. Accept the things you cannot change. They are out of your hands.
4. Work to change the things you can. Whether the results are what you had hoped for or not, another way will be found and other dreams will be dreamed.
7. Recognize that the results are not only the end of something. They are also the beginning of something new.
8. Do not let your disappointment turn into fear. Remember that the feeling you feel when you take off in an airplane feels exactly the same to your body whether it is fear or exhilaration. You can choose.
9. Let yourself feel your feelings in any case. You need your feelings to help you know what the results meant to you.
10. Do not, however, make any important decisions. Wait until you have reached a calmer state of mind to think through what your options might be.
11. Don’t blame yourself or others. These feelings are toxic and will poison the atmosphere
12. Don’t take the results personally.Taking things personally “narrows your point of view and prevents the acquiring of wisdom needed to see life from a deeper, broader and more meaningful perspective. For more: How to Cope with Disappointment.
13. Review your expectations. Perhaps some of them can be met and if not, perhaps some of them can be changed.
14. Protect yourself from negative reactions. Seek out positive, helpful, non-reactive responses to the results and shun fear filled, reactivity. You have already been traumatized; don’t traumatize yourself further by exposing yourself to the fear of others—including the media.
15. Work toward integrating your emotional energies: Rather than allowing anger and frustration to overcome you to no end, harness your emotional response to help make a positive change for good. Anger can be a positive force for change.
16. Seek out reasoned, well-thought out social media such as this one, or this one, or even the hundreds of articles that can be found on Elephant Journal that can help you accomplish your goal of restoring the balance in your life and provide you with the nourishment you need to believe again in a bright future for all.
And finally, here is one of the most helpful adages I have relied on throughout my life:
“How do you eat an elephant?
One Bite at a time.”
Author: Carmelene Siani
Image: Andrew Poynton/Pixabay
Editorial: Caitlin Oriel