Whoever you voted for, or even if you did not vote at all, or however you're feeling about life, chances are you might be suffering from that lingering post-election syndrome: Disappointed in someone or other, whether candidates, friends, family, colleagues, media people or total strangers.
Here are my own suggestions that I'm actively embracing with success. Hoping they might benefit you or someone else! While social media can be transformative at times, we also know the harrowing results of social media gone awry. Therefore my suggestions are mostly off-the-media-grid. Keep in mind, these are not political suggestions, these are survival tips for anyone in need.
1. Get in touch with all your friends and family who agree with you about everything that happened. Ask them how they are doing. Ask if there is anything you can do to help them. I've started my list. Personally, I use the phone. So far it's working, and wonderful to catch up with others regardless of the election.
2. Connect with your colleagues and neighbors and acquaintances who, for the most part, agree with your views. Then, same as above: ask them how they are doing. Ask if there is anything you can do to help them. Just in my apartment building alone, I'm experiencing a lot of traumatized people with different points of views. I've made sure to spend extra time with those people who seem to need a sympathetic ear.
3. Reach out to people who don't agree with you, any of those friends or family or colleagues. More difficult I know, but I urge you to try it if you have not done so already. Then, same as the above: ask them how they are doing. Ask if there is anything you can do to help them. You can avoid political differences completely by asking personal questions. This may be my favorite one. I have a lot of friends who think differently than I do. They inform me far more than most journalists. I love to speak with those people who seem to care just about as much as I do, although it's a very different outlook. Outside of opposing political views, these people are often truly amazing and giving of themselves. If this is almost impossible for you, try to find one redeeming thing about someone you think you have nothing in common with.
4. Find your cause, or get more involved with your cause, or causes. So many people out there are great activists. I find it's true that action speaks louder than words. If you're already a change-maker, please be helpful to newcomers. Personal suggestion: Any cause that benefits others sounds good. Any cause that brings harm to another living being, needs to be re-thought. I'm re-upping my focus to help my sister who's been a pioneer of women's rights forever, and support one of her foundations, WordsofWomen, an international storytelling contest that encourages women and girls to write their own history. Additionally, I will push harder than ever to get my passion film of twenty-years made about Amy Biehl and truth and reconciliation and race that will offer hands-on tools to move forward.
5. Once a day do something kind for yourself. Walk, meditate, listen to music, dance, sing, etc. One of my favorite things to do, being a New Yorker, is to ride the subway. It's grounding and there are people from all walks of life with diverse backgrounds and different views. Most of the time, they're getting along. And when they're not getting along, New Yorkers more times than not have a way of working it out between themselves. Connecting with others energizes me.
6. Once a day do something kind for another person. Doesn't matter who. Yesterday my neighbor was telling me she was on prescription medicine for her allergies. I bought her homeopathic supplements that have been successful for me and told her to try them instead. Whether they work or not, it was joyful to help someone without her asking.
7. Change your inner language. If you're up for it, this is a difficult one. As for myself, I began to notice over the six months up to the election and beyond, that I've been pretty frustrated with my fellow humans. I might read something on Facebook and quietly say to myself, what a dummy, what an idiot. Or if someone slams a door in my face I might say to myself, what an ass. You get the idea. So finally I caught myself. I decided that anytime someone irritated me, rightly or wrongly, I'd replace my negative words. Instead of saying to myself what a fool, I'd say: What a human! I realize of course that occasionally I'm that irritating person to others. We all are, sometimes it's simply accidental. And without really intending it, there you are annoying someone. And so I ask you, if I'm doing that to you right now, please consider not judging me, but just say to yourself: What a human!
8. Change your outer language. Once you've completed the inner language process, consider changing the language of our time. For example, perhaps there's a better word for tolerance, which basically means that you don't agree with someone but you'll put up with them. Why not: I embrace you, I support you, I hear you, I feel you. If someone is tolerating me that means there's a giant disconnect between us. There's judgment. I'd rather find the bridge to a greater connection. It takes time and patience with each other.
9. Open heart, open mind. For all of the above, the most important thing for me is to keep an open heart daily. If my heart is closed, my mind is closed. If I wake up with an open heart, easy! If I wake up with a closed heart, I'll spend time trying to pry it open. When my heart is open, I can embrace the world.
10. Whenever the world seems to be too overwhelming, I immediately to go this two-step breathing meditation. Taught to me by my friend, intuitive coach and healer, Kim Pentecost. It works anywhere you go. Breathe in love, breathe out chaos.
I know, maybe you've mastered all these tips already, or maybe you think they are naïve or misguided. However, if one of my survival tips has helped, hurray! My goal is simply to send a pragmatic healing valentine to us all. I'm just another one of those imperfect humans out there. All I can do is to try everyday to make a difference while making mistakes along the way. All any of us can do is try. And keep trying.