A lot went on this past week—in fact, a lot has gone on this past year, and understandably, many of us are exhausted. Stamina has been drained, core beliefs have been challenged with mean-spiritedness, and many relationships have been tested on both sides of the political line. Trust has gone out the window. Many people have chosen to see each other not for who they are, but instead in terms of who they believe they are because of assumptions that have been made. And again—let me be clear—the behavior hasn’t been confined to one political party.

There are large groups of people for whom the events of the past week have infused new energy—and Congratulations to that group! There are others, though, who are genuinely concerned about the direction that their lives may be taking because of the election results. When you are invested in your beliefs, as so many people are/have been in these historical times, absolute elation is understandable when you’re happy with the results—but so is anger and frustration when things go differently than what had been hoped for and expected. All those feelings are real. It’s how we deal with them that separates the adults from the children, so to speak. That goes for both sides—because the behavior of bad winners is as damaging as that of sore losers.

And perhaps more than anything, a lot of people seem to be forgetting that a large part of the quality of our lives depends on our own decisions and actions. All of us. The political climate of our country is extremely important but what we do as individuals has a tremendous impact on our day-to-day lives. We have control over so many things that will affect how we live, and we need to recognize and take responsibility for that. It’s not the government’s job—it’s our own.

Attitude is a decision

Our son spent many hours at the baseball training facility, Frozen Ropes, when he was growing up. A poster with the words shown below was hung on one of the walls there, and the philosophy was driven home by his coaches at every practice. The message inspired not only the young people who trained at the facility but also the adults who spent many hours there, and took the time to read that poster. I read those words and took them to heart. They are among the most inspiring and practical words that I’ve ever read. They pop into my head almost every day—and perhaps they have never rung truer than during these current times.

These words go well beyond political atmosphere, though they certainly apply to the politically-charged environment that we find ourselves in today. Both sides. Ugly behavior doesn’t know just one political party. The attitude with which you approach these times is important—if not for yourself, choose to approach discussions rationally for the younger people around you. They are supposed to be able to look up to us, and use us as guides for their own behavior. They deserve to have role models. We did. Talk passionately—but rationally—about what the current environment means to you. Gloating may get you charged but it’s not a good look, and it doesn’t help the country’s healing process. Fits of anger are hardly attractive either, particularly if they’re expressed with meanness. To both camps—get whatever you need to get out of your system with people of the same mindset. Public displays of the kind of extreme behavior we have seen is robbing younger generations of learning how to grow up. Even worse, that behavior teaches them that adults really don’t have to mature beyond adolescence. Remember what most of us tried to instill in our kids about winning and losing when they were growing up—and then do that.

The bottom line is that we are adults and we need to behave like adults. All of us. We owe it to our younger generations.

It’s your life—own it.

Being an adult means being responsible for your own life and your own happiness. We need to own our actions, and realize that our actions and decisions have played a huge role in creating the lives that we have. When life seems out of control, we wonder how we got to this point. Looking at life in its entirety can be overwhelming but when you break it down, it’s far less cloudy and intimidating. It’s easy and tempting to blame someone or something but the bottom line is, your life is up to you.

Evaluate how your life is right now, and try to figure out what is creating that gap between you and happiness. Decide what parts of your life need to change, and what realistic steps you can take to get yourself to where you want to be. Do you want a different job? Do you want a job, period? How about your health? What can you do to lose “the Covid 19 (or 10 or 25)” that a lot of us put on as the result of spending endless hours at home, snacking away our frustration—and on top of it, not moving around? Put together a plan, and then stick to it. That is in your control. It may not be fun. It may require a lot of effort. But think of your endgame. Think of how small, individual, day-to-day decisions add up into major life changes. You’re responsible for your life, not anyone else.

For those of you who could’ve been happier with last week’s political outcome, ask yourself about the ways in which you expect your life to change, and the timeframe in which you expect that to happen. Face your fears. The changes you fear may not happen at all, and whatever change does happen, it’s probably not going to happen overnight. There are many paths forward, and attitude will certainly play a role in what happens along the way—yours and everyone else’s. And whether you like that path or the outcome or not, you will likely have time to evaluate, plan, and adjust your course of action.

Social media

I’m relatively new to social medial, and have very mixed feelings about having gotten involved with it. On one hand, it’s allowed me to reconnect with friends that I’ve been out of touch with for years, and stay in better touch with friends that I don’t see very often. On the other hand, I know stuff now that I really wish I didn’t know.

I have a theory that the anger and sabre rattling that we all saw on social media was amplified by the fact that it was depersonalized. Would the people whose mean-spirited posts left you feeling assaulted really say those things to people, face-to-face? Were they venting from what they considered to be a safe vantage point? Were they empowered by all that anger? If so, it probably wasn’t good for their health or their relationships.

But time heals most wounds. Let’s hope that it does this time, too.

Prayers and healing

That said, I want to recognize those situations that are truly tragic, and out of people’s control. To those people, I pray that you will find comfort and healing, and somehow, some good will come out of your sadness.  

Find your peace in the puzzle

So, my suggestion for all of us—step back and take a deep breath. Get yourself to a place where you can totally relax and clear your head. Be in an atmosphere of stillness where you can connect with God/the Universe, and/or your inner self. Pray and/or meditate. Life is bigger than our own little corner of the world. But that is a good place to start—in terms of evaluating, planning, and healing.

If ever we could use Divine help and guidance, it is in the year 2020..

Staying positive doesn’t mean that you have to be happy all of the time. It means that even on hard days, you know that there are better ones coming. —The Female Lead/Bright Vibes

Stay strong and hopeful—and remember, attitude is a decision.

Copyright 2019 – 2023 Maggie Stenman Communications, LLC