Skip to main content

Verified by Psychology Today

Living With Change, Post Election

Now is not the time to gloat or despise others.

Americans elected Trump because he promised change and they startled the world with their choice.

Some Americans are hopeful that things now finally will change for the better. Others see only the prospect for worse. None of us know what will happen.

What do you do when there are deep political disagreements within your family or close circle? What will happen to those relationships?

Maybe you’re thrilled that the people with the Ivy League degrees like Hillary Clinton actually didn’t get their way this time. She reminds you of your sister, who always thought she was smarter and more virtuous than you, and is thunderstruck that Hillary didn’t win. You can see the contempt for you in her eyes. You feel anger and contempt for her arrogance.

Forgiveness doesn’t mean we accept bad behavior or refuse to see it. But people are happier and healthier when they don’t dwell on judgments or hard feelings. Instead, we can think about how to bring joy into our own worlds, though our own responses and choices.

As you’ll hear over and over, we need the country to come together to decide on policies that actually address the discontent that the election expressed so loudly. How can you contribute? You can start in your own circle, not necessarily by discussing politics, but by finding ways to live peaceably with each other.

Sometimes we are disappointed in each other because we didn’t realize that the other person was changing. Or you hoped someone you care about was coming over to your views, and then you realized it wasn’t happening now. You can’t control those changes in others.

Now is a good time to remember the Serenity Prayer and think carefully about what you can change--and what you can't.