This election cycle has been one for the books, in many ways. It has been time consuming and energy depleting, to say the least. This is not new. Most presidential elections in the US have a high degree of “what if” fears associated with the potential of one candidate being elected over another. If you woke up to find that your candidate lost and your “what if” fears started to feel more like a mild myocardial infarction, just remember to breathe. It won’t feel like this forever. If you woke up feeling encouraged and validated by the election results, congratulations.
For those who are struggling with the loss of their political candidate, and what that might mean for the future, Kubler-Ross talks about the five stages of grief and loss.
- Stage 1: Denial (this may have occurred while watching election results stream in)
- Stage 2: Anger (perhaps you yelled at your TV or computer, or the segment of the population that voted against your candidate)
- Stage 3: Bargaining (prayer becomes a common reaction)
- Stage 4: Depression (feelings of despair, dread, lack of motivation, tearfulness, etc.)
- Stage 5: Acceptance (you accept what reality has given you and you adjust to it)
Knowing the normal progression of grieving can help normalize your experience and give you hope for the future. The stages do not last for predetermined periods of time. You go through them at your own pace, and you can sometimes go through them more than once (or repeat a particular stage on your way through). While I cannot predict the future, I can say that the only way that we build resilience is to face obstacles in life. If you are facing an obstacle right now, you have a choice. You can either let that obstacle weigh you down or you can climb that obstacle to get to a place higher than you would have been able to reach if that obstacle had not been placed in your path.
Change is difficult and stressful. It is also inevitable and it is necessary in order for us to grow, develop, and get stronger. What you do with the obstacle is up to you. If you need encouragement today; be encouraged, you are not alone, and you will be more resilient as you climb the obstacles in your life.
Shawn Healy, PhD