How to be with the 2016 US Election Results

Ezio Gutzemberg/

Ezio Gutzemberg/

Unexpected results

Wow! What a week and it’s not over yet. Tuesday seems like eons ago. The election results shocked the whole world, leaving some celebrating, others protesting. On the one hand, as an immigrant and a woman of color, I hear and identify with the concerned voices of my fellow brothers and sisters as they face an amplified fear to the already prevalent racism, xenophobia, islamophobia, homophobia and sexism in our society. On the other hand, republican voters speak to the hopelessness and oppression they felt under the Obama administration. Each has a story to tell.

Narrowing the great divide

Our country is facing unprecedented polarization. That leaves a “we” versus “them” mentality with little room to hear the other. Whether you are a distraught Clinton voter who has taken to the streets, a victorious Trump supporter beaming with pride or a secretive Republican supporter afraid to come out of the closet, here are some ways to be post election.

  1. Come together – be with those who share your viewpoint. Find company. Look around you and know that you’re not alone.
  2. Express yourself – silence is dangerous. Speak to your hopes, fears, frustration and disappointment. Use words, art, music, anything.
  3. Let your feelings come and go, come again and go again – if you’re experiencing shock, denial, anguish, sadness, fear, anxiety, anger, joy, thrill or whatever else, acknowledge them. Pushing away unpleasant feelings will only make them stronger; prolonging pleasant feelings will make you miss out on the here and now.
  4. Revisit your values – remind yourself what you’re about and how you want life to be for you, your family, your neighbors, your community, the environment, animal life, and human kind.
  5. Know your impact – your beliefs and thoughts carried out in words and actions will affect another. Your choices have consequences, positive or negative. Imagine the effect of those same choices when done to YOUR father, mother, brother, sister, son, daughter, best friend and those your love.
  6. Listen closely – you come with your worldviews, life experiences and biases as you encounter another’s worldviews, life experiences and biases. Listen and understand another’s perspective even though that has and might never be your reality.
  7. Stand up for justice – give voice to those who are silenced or are afraid to speak up. Stand with those who are treated less than because of their race, gender, sexual orientation, age, religion, class, abilities, looks or ethnicity. Pause to reflect on what each of these even mean. 
  8. Teach the next generation – when your children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews inherit this earth, what do you want them to know about caring for ourselves and each other?
  9. See our humanity – we are first human beings BEFORE our differences divided us. Strip us to the core, we have the same needs for safety, love and connection:

I might not know your story, but let me hear it

Ada Pang, MS, LMFT is the proud owner of People Bloom Counseling, a Redmond therapy practice in WA. At the heart of what she does, she’s about helping people flourish and live compassionate and vital lives. She can be found at