I have a big and crazy family. Several weeks ago we heard the news that my 52-year-old brother, an artist and the youngest of the siblings with six older sisters, is getting married for the first time, on Thanksgiving day. All of us are very excited about going to Pensacola, Florida to see Charlie and his girlfriend Nikki tie the knot.
While making plans for the trip, I talked to one of my sisters who told me she has been seriously depressed since the election. I knew she had been pretty caught up in the election beforehand, but like many people she has been having a harder time dealing with the outcome. Between our big family and Nikki’s I am sure that there will be people on both sides of the election issue and that has the potential to be difficult. Since our family is probably not unlike yours I know we are not the only ones to be dealing with conflicting feelings. So I decided to share my thoughts on ways we can get through the holidays with grace.
Of course, this was an election unlike any other in our lifetime. Those of us whose candidate did not win it have been on an emotional rollercoaster caused by thoughts of what might happen in the future given the results. And if the outcome had been different, we know that people on the other side would have been as upset and outraged if their candidate hadn’t won.
What can we do with our extended families and friends over the holiday ?
- Take a breath. Be kind. It doesn’t work to gloat and it doesn’t work to vilify others about their choices.
- Get up and take action for a cause you believe in. Volunteering for a local cause or people in your community might be more empowering because you get to see and feel the difference you have made right then, rather than have it be more abstract. Passively ruminating about what could’ve or should’ve happened, or what might happen in the future will leave you feeling more overwhelmed, powerless, and depressed.
- Turn off your TV, get off Facebook and stop obsessively following the news. Being constantly plugged will keep you reactive and upset.
- Don’t let your political ideology cause you to go wild with assumptions about what someone else’s choice in this election means about their ideas. The truth is most people are just afraid and they do what they do and think what they think and it doesn’t mean what you might think it means.
- Take this opportunity to spend this precious time with family and or friends and tell them that you love them.
I am looking forward to going to Florida and being with my family. It hasn’t always been easy and this year might bring additional opportunities to step on landmines. But I do have a choice about what I do and how I react so I am making a commitment to have everyone win this Thanksgiving/Wedding day.