7 Tips to Handling Post-Election Disappointment
Could COVID be a blessing in disguise?
With so many people working from home, it naturally cuts down the opportunities to interact with coworkers, baristas, people in the coffee line, etc. Less face-to-face contact equals fewer scenarios for conflict. For some, seeing a simple logo on a t-shirt or hat arouses annoyance or can even lead to a violent reaction.
However, we do have social media to turn to which can often be worse. You have more people to target, more people to hear your opinions, more people to encourage your chosen behavior and or to fuel the “conversation.” This can result in more chances to ruin relationships and to damage your reputation.
Losing does not feel good. But we know that we can’t always win or get what we want. Learning how to accept a loss, rejection or disappointment is an essential skill, one that perhaps isn’t talked about enough.
For some people, a way to feel better about a disappointment is to find a reason, justification, or a circumstance or person to blame. If it works, that’s fine. Unfortunately, we’ve seen that a disappointment can be taken too far. How? By our actions. It can be as minor as cursing, ending a relationship, to a destructive act.
The bottom line is that we are in control of our words and actions. Disappointment does not dictate our principles or behavior. Nor do the leaders in the White House.
Here are my 7 tips to handling disappointment:
1. Harness your disappointment: Wait until every possible challenge by either side has been exhausted, and an official declaration is made before you shout with glee or sob with anger.
2. Don’t waste time on speculating why? Unfortunately, an election is not tangible. It isn’t like watching a (sports) game, where there are rules, coaches, and skills that are visible; it is easy to determine who wins and who loses.
In an election, it comes down to the number of ballots. Trying to figure out what is in people’s minds will only drive you crazy. People make their decisions based on political party, principles, needs, tradition, or beliefs.
3. Don’t waste time hating half of your fellow citizens. It will not change anything! It will only make you bitter, zap your energy, make you unpleasant to be around, expose your character, and keep you from being a beacon of dignity and hope for others.
4. Take a leave of absence social media. It is tempting to vent or engage with like-minded individuals to share disappointments. Challenging the final result, making threats, name-calling, or just plain angry statements WILL NOT change the result.
If you are prone to posting impolite comments, consider taking a leave of absence, even if only for 2-3 days. What you post can backfire on you if you’re seeking a job, have a pending promotion, new love interest, risk your child’s teachers seeing it…
You might consider joining a like-minded private group, however, if they are only fueling the fire, it will not help you cope with your anger or disappointment.
For the “winners,” be happy, not hateful.
5. Talk it out or walk it out. For some, being alone is necessary to process information and/or emotions. If you need to be alone, say so. If you’re a person who needs to talk things out, find someone who is calm and can focus on the emotion, not the win or loss.
Take a hike or a walk around your neighborhood. Drive somewhere new. If you are able, get-away for a couple of days. Exercise. Mediate or pray.
6. Think locally and mobilize. I think of John F. Kennedy’s quote, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” Once you’ve gathered yourself, think of ways that you can make the best of the situation. What gifts or skills do you have to share with others? Consider joining community service groups.* How can you help make your neighborhood a more pleasant place? Try smiling at your neighbors. How can a shift in attitude improve your daily interactions? Do your shopping at your local small businesses. Extend courtesies or pleasantries with your grocer, home service technician, delivery person—spread civility.
*This might be impractical due to COVID restrictions.
7. Time to mend. Throughout this messy election season, have your relationships suffered or been severed? Have you been hurt by someone? Do you want to restore this relationship? Can it be saved?
It will take a huge gulp of humility to take the first step in reestablishing or restoring a broken relationship. Naturally, both parties need to be willing. Be prepared to muster up some patience and understanding.
Don’t allow a “four-year-term” destroy a life-long relationship.
RELATED: Good Day Sacramento Segment: Post-Election Anxiety
Rosalinda Oropeza Randall, Civility and Etiquette Expert, Media Source, and author of Keep Your Distance! Your guide to handling common dilemmas in uncommon times.”