In 2008 and 2012, I did not understand how you could be so sad and discouraged when I was in such a celebratory mood. I believed with all my heart that Barack Obama was the beginning of a major paradigm shift for us and our country. I still do by the way, think we are going through a major shift; however I do not understand yet how the new messenger fits into what is ahead, and hopefully in spite of the vitriolic campaigning rhetoric that he will do right by our country.
Remember the paradigm shift in the late 60’s and 70’s regarding the accepted imbalance of power between men and women in marriage. Paradigm shifts turn the status quo upside down, are quite messy, not neat and orderly as we would wish. It took years of women fighting for personal power and men fighting to hold on to their control (think Archie Bunker). Eventually there was acceptance of an egalitarian marriage. From where I sit as a psychotherapist of over 30 years practice, it is the egalitarian marriages that have the best chance of going the distance.
So here we are in the same kettle of soup, just at a different time and for different reasons and over a different messenger. So we really are the same, just with different blind spots? Presently I am more compassionate for you and for me. No kidding about experience being the best teacher
After an excruciating political season, I am working to change the only one I can change; myself. Reflecting, reviewing and owning my part in the negativity that permeated our country from so many different points of few for too many months, I am working on acceptance. Acceptance does not mean one likes what is, but accepting is important to begin anew, a dance floor upon which to move with freedom, openness and curiosity.
Remember the fable of several blind men who were presented an elephant to describe. Each one had a valid description but of course each one was incomplete. A single issue may have layers of perspectives, with our understanding of it is limited by our actual experience.
It is a primitive instinct to defend what is ours, and be against what is theirs. Have you ever noticed how difficult it is for us to agree on even one sliver of light in the whole conversation because we are so attached to our position? The pride we have in being right is often perilous... Dead right? Right and alone. I sometimes see that stubbornness in couples who come for marital therapy. Being so invested in a story of blaming and being right that they will divorce rather than show any vulnerability.
So when things fall apart, make room for sadness to be expressed to prevent it from becoming static and causing in turn, bitterness. I delayed getting to this blog because I needed to be in a better place, after I was incredulous, sad, and fearful to finally be accepting and wish our president-elect Donald Trump, well.
Hold a space for the truth by recognizing a view point is only that, even if it is false, it is not our job to complicate an already complicated situation, with aggression and the and need to be right. Remember to be right one has to make another wrong, which has caused untold division and misunderstanding already.
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves…” Rilke