I voted on November 2. Though I am sad to report that it was the first time that I had ever voted in Tennessee – nonetheless I was excited to make my voice heard. When I arrived, I was met with a meandering line that seemed to continue forever. It was wonderful to see that so many others were exercising their right as a citizen.
Upon entry, I immediately asked how long the line was. I was not looking forward to the wait, as that had never been my experience in Ohio. I was told that it was moving quickly so I decided to stay. 15 minutes later, emotion began to set in. I mentally asked of the situation - Why was I standing so long? Why was this line not moving any faster? Why were there not more poll workers? Then a different emotion set in. And tears began to flow.
I was complaining about what my family members had fought for. Had been pushed around for. Spat on for. Cursed at for. Been killed for. How could I be so selfish?
Needless to say, my attitude straightened up quickly and a third emotion rushed over my being. Gratefulness.
Fast-forward to November 9, Donald Trump is named our new President Elect. New emotion. Confusion. After the ushering in of true hope with Barack Obama, came what seemed to be an almost immediate reversal. New emotion. Breathlessness.
How could so many people support such ideals? How could so many people be joyous while there are so many others who are afraid, hurt, and traumatized? New emotions. Anger and Hurt.
Was the hope that I was counting on really there to begin with? How much will this change my life? My future children’s lives? My friends’ lives? How will I deal with backlash should it come my way? New emotion – Resolve.
If there is anything that I have leaned within the past week, it's that emotions are REAL. and it is more than ok, and quite favorable actually, to recognize them as such. But life does not stop there. There are many citizens that like me are annoyed, confused, breathless, hurt, or angry – but what we decide to do when we recognize these feelings is key. Here are a few tips on how to move past the immediate emotion and towards action and solutions;
- STOP, acknowledge the emotion, and ask yourself why. Why are you feeling the way you're feeling? Whats the root cause? What has happened? Did you play a role in the situation? This may help you reveal a solution or help you realize that you may be overreacting, under-reacting, or like me, overthinking.
- Talk to someone you trust. You cannot and should not bear these loads alone. I am sure that there are more people that you think who are willing to be an ear or shoulder. You might also want to open up the conversation to feedback and an additional perspective on your feelings and the situation at hand. Which takes us to...
- Listen. It is very easy to get locked in our emotions and lost in what we have to say. Don't get trapped. In your dialogue, state your piece but hear other perspectives and help others through their situations as well. It’s healing.
- Develop yourself. If there was ever a time in which we needed to be a better versions of ourselves, its now. That looks different for each person so take some time to figure out how that looks for you.
- Give yourself time. These situations are not solved over night. Immediate results are more often than not temporary fixes.
I recently completed a style shoot with my photographer and I fell in love with this picture. While shooting, I felt like I could not move forward until I cleaned off one of my favorite pairs of shoes. Now, this was not a planned shot, but I feel that it captures the essence of the process of forward movement.
Like the photo, we may have to walk through some dirt if we want to get to the "perfect shot" When that happens, we have to sometimes shake the dust off in order to move forward. We may even have to fight and break through the stuff that is placed in our way or on top of us in order to grow and reach our full potential (i.e. the small blades of grass pictured).
Using some of the above methods, I was able to successfully overcome some of my immediate and VERY REAL emotions, work towards solutions, and make better use of my mental space. You should try them sometime and let me know how it works out. Let's work through together, family; shake off that dust and break through whatever is trying to keep us weighed down.
Remember, you're in control of your person. #BeBetter