Three Keys to Bouncing Back in Fighting Form

November 27, 2016 · by Alvarez Porter Group · Filed Under Previous · Leave a Comment

Trump electionTrump’s victory hit hard, starting on election night, when we watched polls and pundits get it wrong.   The results weren’t just unexpected, they were unnerving.  We couldn’t even say it was a night for outsiders, as the voters returned the Senate to the Republicans. What we are left with is a future that is more perilous than ever, human rights and the environment that are in jeopardy, and strategies and paths to victory that are blocked.

We get knocked down, but we get up again

We each have our own way of reacting to threats and setbacks, some that we aren’t particularly strategic: like shutting down, binge eating, lashing out, criticizing ourselves and each other, to name a few. It may feel good to go there, but we know that we need to be in fighting form to face what’s coming. We need to get back up again.

Resilience, the capacity to recover from difficulties, is a natural phenomenon that finds its way in time, sometimes leaving scars.  However, given the circumstances, we need to nourish and nudge resilience to hurry it up.  Here are three ways to do just that:

Express Lovepost-its

On the morning after the election I saw a note taped to a street sign:  “We love our Muslim neighbors!”  In New York city subways, people wrote their feelings on post it notes.  To care for others and be cared for is healing.   Knowing this instinctively, many people have been kind to strangers, hugged friends, or spent time with children . Here are other ways to express love:

  1. Express gratitudeappreciate small and large ways there is beauty and support in your life. Be thankful for the people, places and opportunities you have.
  2. Drop the judgment – a huge barrier to feeling or accepting love can be holding on to judgment and blame.   Judgment holds things is place.  Unconditional love transforms.
  3. Connect at the heart – particularly across boundaries of race, class and affiliation. Connection can come in conversation, in kindness, or in a smile. The more you can feel the other person shares your values and humanity, the more restorative it will be.

Cultivate Optimism

The more optimistic we were about Hillary winning, the harder we were hit by the result. And yet that quality of optimism is also key to bouncing back. If you are optimistic by nature, you may already be feeling it again. If you aren’t, here are three ways to cultivate optimism:half-empty

  1. See this as a temporary setback – instead of seeing this as a turn to the dark side, take the longer view and see it as temporary – the long arc of history still bends toward justice.
  2. Give attention to the positive – our tendency is to focus on the negative, but you cultivate optimism by paying attention to events that counter the story of hopelessness.
  3. Focus on your circle of influence – pessimistic people focus on those things they can’t control and then have their powerlessness confirmed. Optimistic people focus on what they can control and feel their power grow.

airport-workers-organizing-ohare-fight-for-15_850_563Take action

Actions are everywhere, thank goodness.   Get moving and see how good it feels. Things in motion tend to stay in motion, while inaction compounds feelings of powerlessness and isolation. If you are not yet taking action, think about this:

  1. Start where you are. Don’t wait to find the perfect action or the perfect strategy.  Write letters, donate to Planned Parenthood, speak your truth at the dinner table.  Wherever you are, start there.
  2. Join others who are in motion.  Taking action with others adds community, connection and power. Find a Fight for $15 rally; a Dreamers protest; a Climate teach in; a racial justice meeting.
  3. Create a small group. Margaret Mead said “never doubt that a small group of people can change the world.” Invite 4 or 5 other people who share a common concern to get together and talk about what’s going on and what you want to do about it.

They’re never gonna keep us down

img_2260Express love.  Cultivate optimism.  Take action.  Sounds simple enough.  But if you are still out of sorts and can’t get  yourself to take these steps, then start with self-compassion.  Ask yourself, “if I were to say something really kind to myself right now, what would I say?”  Slowly, surely, the green shoots will come up through the lava rock and find the sun.

In whatever ways and with whatever means you have at your disposal, work to support your natural resilience.  If we all do this, by the time Trump takes the oath of office in January, we will be ready.




























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