The United States has just completed the 2016 election process and we are bombarded by reports in the media concerning people’s surprise, elation, dismay, excitement and even protests after the votes were counted. One word that we have yet to hear from any prominent media outlet is “grief” related to the outcome and how it touches us on a very personal level.
Every major change in our lives has elements of grief attached to it, but we often miss that connection when it comes to the election process. This particular election has a multitude of change attached to it. The presidential race has dominated the media and our lives for almost two years, as candidates vied for the opening position of leadership of the nation. The speeches, commentary and discussion has been part of our daily lives for the bulk of that time frame. It is further exacerbated by the fact that the predictions of the outcome were far different than the actual results.
And now it is all over, except for the post-election analysis, which endlessly rehashes everything that has happened in the last many months.
Change results in elements of grief. Whether the results of any given race are those we wished to see or not, the changes and uncertainty of what the future may bring have elements of grief attached to them. This grief is accentuated by the continuing analysis and speculation of what these changes might actually be in the daily news. This further stirs the conflicting feelings that are a part of the grief process.
For those older members of our society who have experienced multiple elections in their lifetimes, these potentially grief creating changes may be less pronounced, since they have a history of dealing with such past changes in governance. Those who are younger may be more greatly impacted, since such changes are not a part of their life experience. When you are familiar with one thing and expecting a continuation of that same thing, but are then faced with a future that is different than what was predicted, you are likely to experience grief related to that new and different expectation.
We often say that when something is mislabeled, it is mistreated. We need to recognize the new and conflicting feelings that some people are experiencing are grieving experiences and treat them as such if we wish to successfully move forward. Recovery is dependent on making the personal decision to take action, not with protest, but instead, recovery steps regarding our personal relationship to those with which we are emotionally incomplete.
The Grief Recovery Handbook is not just about dealing with death, but rather with grief related to every change in our lives. It can be a positive and helpful tool in this situation as well.