November 8, 2020

5 Tips for Democrats on How to Not Gloat over the Election.

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I took a webinar this morning on inner peace, and in the middle of my small group on Zoom, my husband came in and showed me the message that Biden had been declared President of the United States.

My formerly neutral face was instantly transformed into a jubilant one, and I think my arms went up into some sort of victory signal.

I had to explain to the group of five what had just happened, and do it in a way that would respect any of them who would not take the news well.

Fortunately, the webinar had provided me with a lot of tools. Even though I’m a trained mediator and interfaith spiritual mentor, I’ve been sorely challenged by my own tribal tendencies during this time.

So, a review of conflict resolution and communication skills was welcome, and helped me with the angst that had messed with my inner peace.

So now, having finished my Snoopy dance, I’m aware that it would be easy to lord it over “the other side.” And yet, isn’t our goal to bring the country together?

So how do we stick to our principles and rejoice in the chance to manifest them, while being respectful and creating a peaceful society?

Here are a few takeaways from experts on creating peaceful resolutions of inner and outer conflicts:

1. When triggered, take three deep breaths. Don’t cheat. Three.

2. Name what you feel. Naming what you feel engages the prefrontal cortex—the thinking brain. Core feelings like anger, sadness, shame, hopelessness, impatience, overwhelm, and vulnerability. Just name them. Ask the person you have the disagreement with to name theirs, or gently guess what they might be feeling.

3. Name the need you have. Underneath those feelings you probably have when something really gets to you lies a need you have, or more than one. We need things like affection, appreciation, beauty, belonging, boundaries, choice, compassion, connection, dependability, fairness, freedom, honesty, kindness, love, respect, safety, and trust. Name those. Ask the other person to name their needs. Or gently guess what they might need.

4. Apologize for the part you played. Only apologize for the part you really know you screwed up. If you feel you’re in the right, then how was your tone? I know I tend to come across as superior or judgmental, so I usually have to apologize for that.

5. Make a reparation or state what you’ll work on.

How does this relate to the Snoopy dance some of you might be doing with me after this victory?

Part of a “good apology,” one that lands well, involves real humility. And one of the hardest and most necessary times to have humility is when you’ve won.

Can we be humble now? Can we do a reframe?

Guess where my inspiration comes from: two places.

One is the phrase I heard on MSNBC:  “the covenant of disagreement,” which is the notion that if we don’t agree on giving space for disagreement, we lose democracy. And this election was about democracy.

The second was a surprise—from Fox News. I heard them being amazingly respectful, reflective, subdued. Suggesting Trump might withdraw gracefully. Suggesting Biden might be the one to unify. This was moving to me, and gave me hope. It was humble of them.

Given all that inspiration, topped off by the beautiful Biden and Harris families, and Kamala in her suffrage white surrounded by faces of color, the last thing I want to do now is gloat.

Why make “the losers” feel bad? Why call him and them names now?

This is a day when great winds blew through Arizona. The winds of change. We had blessed rain sprinkle the parched desert. Could this be a turning toward our time to be connected to all humans? Maybe we can learn to stand for truth and not back away for a second, while respecting, and listening to, and honoring the feelings and needs of others.

The “losers” probably feel (if I may gently guess) forgotten, disrespected, angry, frustrated, impatient, and overwhelmed.

Underneath those feelings they may feel (if I may gently guess) the need for respect, safety, hope, kindness, and freedom.

Don’t we all have the same needs?

As for my apology, I’m sorry for the times I have spoken harsh, insulting, demeaning words.

I will work now on speaking my truth while listening to yours—listening for the needs underneath what you are saying.

I will do that hoping that love will win out. That compassion will have its day. That politics may become a vehicle for what we really all want and need: a change of heart.


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