For so many minorities and those who have always perceived themselves to be on the fringes of American society, the results of the 2016 Presidential election is a big and bitter pill to swallow. For the vast majority of people of varying colors, those living proudly under the rainbowed flag, and we women who were all ‘with Her,’ it feels like a mortal wound akin to a stake in the heart. For what we have always known about America, what we have sensed and felt and experienced at work, in school and in the shopping malls has now in our minds been confirmed and made public. The schism is real. The ‘ism’ is real. Racism and racial hatred is no longer a covert operation. It’s pretty much out there for all to see and hear.
Given this, how do we deal with the myriad emotions we are struggling to come to grips with? The fear, the loathing, the disappointment, shock, the hopelessness? How do we survive in Trumpland? We go back to basics, and we remember some simple things that have sustained us in tougher times:
- Identity: During a time when we are feeling devalued as a people, like we do not fit in and don’t belong and aren’t wanted, Black people living in America must know and celebrate who we are and from whence we come. We must celebrate all that is us and is unique to us, and help our children to accept and embrace all of what is our cultural contributions to this nation. A trip to the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture, or rather a series of trips, is a wonderful place to begin. It is so important that we set the foundation for our children’s healthy sense of self and self-esteem despite the overt and covert messages to the contrary.
- Community: We are a communal people, and we have survived and thrived by sticking together and by having each other’s backs. It’s funny though; seems the more progress we’ve made, the less unity we seem to have. Nevertheless, we need to reflect on our history and get back to basics. Together we enacted great change in this nation. Together we elected the first African American President. Together we have overcome so much, and together we will do it again. During this difficult time, let’s not isolate or separate but let us remember there is both strength and power in numbers and in unity. Let’s not simply come together for protests or boycotts (though these can be adaptive ways of dealing with the upset and inequality in our country). But let’s come together and be proactive. This could be the catalyst to healing some of the internal strife and schisms that exist within.
- Conversation: The election results should and hopefully will pave the way for honest conversation; both in this country and in our community. Thoughtful, ope and real conversation about our community, about problems that are seemingly endemic, about the solutions, and about how we will break the cycles of poverty, lack of education, lack of opportunity, and others that continue to plague us. We gotta be willing to look at the man in the mirror. Everything aint about the enemy. Sometimes the enemy is within.
- Spirituality: No matter what your spiritual bent, where there is faith in and reliance on God or whatever higher power you subscribe to, there is hope. This hope is what has gotten us over many a mountain, and it is what we need to cling to now. As a people, we have clung to this hope when the only thing that could be seen was pure darkness. Out of our faith came an optimism and an unshakeable belief that better would come. Because of our faith, we knew we would overcome. And so we did. And so we will. During these difficult times, lean on your faith. If you don’t have a religious practice or attend a religious service, try attending one as soon as possible. Or try praying, or having a conversation with God or your higher power. Even meditation can be a way of connecting with Spirit. The point is, getting back to the roots of your belief system can be a grounding force and a powerful accelerant for change.
- Keep it rolling: We as a people have taken a licking, and kept on ticking. Its what we do, and a part of who we are archetypically. While today was a difficult prelude to what might be a new reality, tomorrow will be just another day, and the world will go on. And we will wake up, and we will put on our big girl underwear or panties, and we will keep it moving. It’s what we do.
I’m learning to appreciate this one thing: in life and business, one should always seek to achieve the win-win situation. Losing doesn’t have to be an all or none. There is great progress that can be made despite such disappointment, and much good that can come from what is seemingly so bad. Let’s strive for that. And let’s maintain hope, for hope is ALWAYS here.
The Good Dr. Nik
Dr. Nicole M. Alford, aka ‘The Good Dr. Nik,’ is a Washington, DC-area based Clinical Psychologist, Life-ologist, blogger, speaker and compassionate activist. Follow her on Twitter and Facebook @theGoodDrNik and view her website at http://www.TheGoodDrNik.com.