Happy election day everyone! Isn’t this fun? Seriously, not at all. As luck would have it, I’ve found myself thrust into the unfortunate role of “swing state voter.” I can honestly I am tired of seeing these folks in my hood all the time.
I went to breakfast with a friend this morning where a news team tried to interview us just trying to numb ourselves with egg whites, potatoes and jelly. Before I could get too grumpy about the giant high-resolution lens aimed at my pillow-mashed face, I realized the reporter looked as weary as I felt, only in full make-up and heels.
I think I’ve finally figured out what’s so different about this election. Most people I’ve spoken with this election are not voting based on a candidate or policy they love. They are voting on their candidate because of the rage, hate, and fear they feel for the opposed candidate. Both sides are deeply disturbed by the other side.
When we make choices from positions of hate (a form of fear) and not love (our authentic self), from what we don’t want instead of what we do, it means we are personally in a really bad place.
We are not us when we are feeling or using the word hate.
Anger and hate occur in us when we are living with some unresolved emotional pain of the past that we felt powerless to change or get help for at the time. Then someone powerful (like Hillary or Donald) or some event where you feel powerless (the election) now pushes on that old festering wound and propels us into a powerful and sometimes irrational mind–body response.
Hate is interesting because it combines a fight mentality with a flee-from-the-real-issue action. In the case of the election, the candidate we hate propels us to flee to the other side. We’re not necessarily voting for any situation we actually agree with, but our choice makes us feel safe for the moment.
For example, if you are woman who has been sexually assaulted in the past, Donald Trump may trigger the pain in you that you’d repressed, thinking it would go away. You are violently repulsed and cannot vote for him even though he’s never been tried or convicted.
If you have “mom issues,” Hillary may promote rage and anger for issues of powerlessness from your relationship with your mom, just because she is a woman that may make decisions for you like your mom did.
I hope you can see that there are no good choices in this place, except to get help.
This is a case of “the opposite of bad is still bad.” It is easy to confuse these awful feelings with a storyline on TV; making a choice from pain that is not necessarily a good choice for you because it never addresses the real issue.
You’ve noticed that you don’t just do this with candidates. Your boss or spouse may trigger this same response in you if you are walking around in pain. We are not choosing authentically—the pain is mainly choosing (fleeing to ) safety.
Today, I’m here to remind you that you are not powerless to heal from pain and have a wonderful life. We can learn to understand our own reactive feelings and gently disagree with our own powerlessness—it’s what we call self-compassion.
Compassion is the power state. We only project hate onto situations when we’ve forgotten how to find compassion for ourselves and others.
Practicing self-compassion is how we transcend from our powerless state.
Here’s how to begin today.
When you find yourself using the word hate this week, become gentle with yourself, realizing that you are witnessing your own powerless state. Do not allow yourself to turn the hate inward, either.
- Ask yourself why this situation make you feel powerless.
- Ask yourself if this situation was something we were ever supposed to control.
These meditations of awareness will bring answers and relieve pain when we practice listening for internal responses. These meditations may not solve any physical situation immediately. If your pain increases and/or you feel out of control, then it’s time to get some professional help.
You deserve the lovingkindness that everyone else does. You cannot build a life that you will celebrate in the end from making choices fueled by unconscious pain.
Next week, when all these folks are gone, we talk about destiny again!