I am not going to lie: when I awoke this morning to see that the election was nearly tied, my stomach sank. I feel like so much is on the line. I feel like if my candidate doesn’t win, the fate of America is doomed. I feel like evil will win.
Here’s a question for you: who is my candidate?
I would argue that both Democrats and Republicans are feeling the exact same way.
I am going to reveal a little secret: I am writing this because I needed a reality check. In life, there is who we are and there is what we are. We tend to confuse the two and that’s what I was doing this morning.
What we are are the roles we play: mother, father, wife, teacher, brother, writer, healer, singer, republican, democrat, etc. These things change over time. A mother may always be a mom, but eventually, her children grow and leave the nest and her role shifts. A writer may always write, but once retired, may not publish works anymore. And both republicans and democrats have been known to jump party lines. So, what we do and what we associate with is not who we are.
Who we are is much bigger and much deeper and has nothing to do with anyone or anything else. Who we are is a reflection of what we value. These things do not change. For example: I value love, and compassion, honesty, knowledge, and integrity. Notice that my core values do not attach to any other person or institution. They sit wholly inside my heart alongside my soul and God. Knowing these values means that I know myself. When I live my life in accordance with my values, I am operating at my absolute best.
The beautiful thing about knowing my core values is that decision making becomes much, much easier. There are times I see a Facebook post and my ego really wants to make a snarky comment, but I ask myself if it aligns with my core values. Is the comment a loving or compassionate one? Does it do harm or good? I cannot say I value love if I act unlovingly. I may feel the comment is a reflection of honesty, but I would be lying to myself because sarcasm is inherently edged with cruelty.
When I voted, I voted with my core values in mind, and then, I walked away. I made a choice (an action) that reflected what sits in my heart.
This morning, however, I was making a choice to attach to “what I am” by identifying with the belief that my candidate losing would somehow make life…. Miserable? Horrific? The truth is, my candidates in the past have both won and lost and not once did it change who I am or what I value. This is my reality check: my reaction to this presidential outcome can fall short if I choose to forget my values. I could feel bitterness, anger, rage, even contempt -- and suffer for them (anger and bitterness never feel good in the body), but, because I know who I am, I know that this presidential outcome will not change me, and therefore, I can let go of the illusions of any catastrophe that may accompany it. Might I feel disappointment? Yes, but I will be able to let that go much easier because I will attach to what I value and not the illusion that the outcome will somehow change me. Holding on to such negativity (whether through gloating or anger) does nothing to help the country I love. Nothing at all. Acting in accordance with my core values means that what I put into the world is good.
I can almost hear readers saying, but if my candidate loses, it could affect (insert nearly any topic here). To this I will say: Yes, how I access different "things" may change after this election (healthcare, for example, could look different), but will that change me? How I react to life’s circumstances is a direct reflection of who I am. The mystics all agreed: the goal is to not lose yourself to the chaos of the world. They knew that the world could be in disarray, but that in their hearts, their very soul knew the truth -- the truth of who they were and what was real.
And what is real you ask? That at the end of the day, it is not who I voted for for President. It is not about who won or who lost. It is about how I proceed in life in response to what happens around me. Let’s say the world does fall apart -- am I just going to fall apart with it? Or will I make choices that are congruent with my values. If the world does fall apart, my challenge then becomes to find ways to become more loving, more compassionate, more integral, and more honest and to work to bring more of that into the world.
The only thing I can really lose today is myself.
Regardless of the outcome, I will
I think this is where people get lost. They identify with a party or a cause or a movement (or a conspiracy theory) and they get swept up in believing that this is who they are, and then, sadly, will do things that are in direct opposition to what they value. They confuse their preferred political party with their identity.
So today, I may feel the highs of victory or the lows of defeat. But I will not let those feelings turn into something ugly and incongruent with who I am and what I value. I refuse to add any more negativity or divisiveness into the world.
If I stop and really think about it: every reader here probably has similar core values to my own. Even if we cannot agree on a political candidate, perhaps we can extend grace and courtesy to each other because we can agree that love is a value we both share, and that will always outshine any division we “believe” exists between ourselves and our neighbors -- politically or otherwise.
So today, win or lose, I wish you love and I wish you peace.
God bless you and God bless America.
If you would like to explore your core values, please, feel free to download the Core Values document provided here.