We Feel Too

During this tumultuous and anxious election, I saw an America divided. It actually wasn’t anything new as by political affiliation we were divided before the election and we will continue to be so after this President has come and gone. But, we are America and we are one.

We, as gifted people know how it feels to not be able to express the depth of our hearts and frustrations without being called “too sensitive”. We, as gifted people know how it feels to win and not be able to celebrate for fear of being called a braggart. But, we also know that while being gifted, we are particularly prone to emotional duress; yet we also have the increased ability to see both sides more deeply, in general. Some are forgetting both sides, though those emotional OEs seem to be running on high speed the past few days.

I will try to speak to the winning team, the losing team, and to those who have no horse in this race. While no group should assume responsibility for the suffering of another, please consider the other side. We feel your pain. Now, turn your attention to the other side. We feel your pain too. Both sides are dealing with the pain of a nation divided. One with fear and frustration and the other with fear and frustration. Eight years ago, we felt the other side. Do you remember?

While many think they are being supportive  by putting their thoughts and feelings out there for everyone, they are in fact being more divisive.  We are way too raw right now. Both sides. By pledging support for one side and not the other, we are drawing a line in the sand and alienating others. I’m guilty of it too. We are human and imperfect, but we need to take a moment and collect our emotions and our thoughts and strive to be better, to be greater.

When emotions escalate, there is a chance for increased violence. That doesn’t help either cause. It either embarrasses or frightens. It does nothing to further empathy, nor does it act as a release of emotions; it only escalates fear. It’s in your face and it’s frightening.

I also ask that for the sake of our children, we leave them out of it. No proclamations of how the other side has served us wrong or how the other side will be the death of this country. You know how you feel now and you know how you felt eight years ago. Believe it or not, not so much changes . Losing your friends or family over politics will be the biggest change you’ll realize.

I know that bringing back America together during this stage is not something that’s possible right now. Our emotions are still too new and on the surface. Both sides have every right to air their reactions, but keep in mind that by inflaming that reaction, you are perpetuating the divide. It’s easy to get sucked in with the help of social media.

“Men often hate each other because they fear each other;
they fear each other because they don’t know each other;
they don’t know each other because they cannot communicate; 
they cannot communicate because they are separated.” 
Martin Luther King Jr.

As gifted, we are not all on the same political side. Share your feelings with someone who truly understands your views to grieve or celebrate. There’s no need to bottle up your emotions as many are doing right now. They are feeling attacked too. There are many biting their tongues in hopes of keeping the peace, but it’s like putting a child between two screaming parents. It doesn’t serve the child well. Please try to resist the urge to share your view with the world. Just for a little while. Just until your emotions are in check. When you begin to feel outrage or begin to feel righteousness, turn it off. Go visit nature, go read a book, go play with your kids. Don’t we try to guide our kids to do the same? Manage your emotions responsibly. Be someone you can be proud of and act like the mentor you are to your children. They are watching.

My hope is that we try to find a middle ground. Perhaps that means ignoring the results for now. Perhaps that means we take a break from social media until our emotions are better in check. Disappointment is not rage and triumph is not gloating. We hurt people and especially those super sensitive people when our emotions run high. Often we don’t realize the impact of our words and actions.

I call for more mundane right now. Go watch Dancing with the Stars. Take photographs of your food. Go play Monopoly. Read a book. Take a nap. Watch the stars. Rejuvenate.

Where are all of the cute kitten videos when you need them?

4 thoughts on “We Feel Too

  1. This is a really thought-provoking and compassionate piece. From my perspective, it’s not the entire answer so much as an essential part of a larger, more complex answer. And if someone’s not able to apply the complex answer, then the one you suggest here is the next best thing.

    I shared thoughts on social media after the election, and do not think this was a bad thing; far from being private as many say, politics is inherently about public matters, and so it’s good to discuss it and engage with people who think differently. (It might even be essential to people with intellectual OE.) That this was at times uncomfortable was not, on its own, a reason not to do it. It *is* true that many people were feeling emotionally spent (especially those with emotional OE), though, and there’s also no reason to exacerbate that needlessly. In the end, it came down to a delicate balancing act. In my case, I went on social media, but did refrain from posting anything in depth (i.e. blog entries) because I could tell it would just be a rant, as opposed to in-depth analysis.

    And so I turned to Dabrowski’s Theory of Positive Disintegration – specifically, to the dynamisms of empathy, hierarchization of values, and subject-object in oneself. My intellectual OE drove me to understand other people, but my emotional OE wanted to protect feelings (both my own and others’!), so when I found myself getting upset, I stepped back and forced myself to try to understand where the person who upset me was coming from. That sounds like an ordinary process for any decent person, I know, but after the election, it took a certain determination to forcibly wedge myself into their perspectives, the best I could. It was not comfortable. But it allowed me to take the first step in turning our collective national disintegration back toward reintegration, at a higher level. At least for me. But that, I’m sure, is the first step toward helping our country reintegrate at a higher level as well. Both voicing my thoughts and listening to others’ thoughts (particularly those who disagreed) was part of doing it.

    I guess the trick is for each of us to figure out how to use our speech to heal and unite in the long term. Angry lashing out is definitely not going to do so. Neither is suppressing what needs to be said.

    Thanks for being part of this conversation. I enjoyed your post!

    Liked by 1 person

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