elections-2016-boxing-gloves
Dear Emma,
This is a really difficult election season for me and my family. Some of my family members support the GOP, but I am more liberal-leaning. I just had an argument with my father-in-law about politics and I told him I was supporting the Democratic party. He then proceeded to yell at me, insisting that I should just “get used to the idea” of losing. He is part of my family and long after this election is over, we’ll have to stay in contact. I’m finding that I actually have real physical symptoms of anxiety and stress in this election, including anger toward my father-in-law. How do I maintain cordial relationships with my family and friends even though we all feel really passionate about our positions? I don’t know how to get along with my father-in-law at this point.

– Politics Schmolitics

Dear Politics Schmolitics,

This is a great time to channel Michelle Obama (good thing you’re a liberal)! In dealing with your father-in-law, take a bathroom break, and recite this mantra: “When they go low, we go high” ten times. Take a deep breath. Be thankful that you believe in an American democracy with the capacity for holding multiple viewpoints. Feel compassion for the man who is threatened by the world he knew ending before his eyes, his hero discredited, and his place in the country’s hierarchy upended. And remember – this will be over in 3 weeks!

I started answering this question tongue-in-cheek, but I’m actually having to do all of these things myself. I have lost a couple of (male) friends this election cycle. As reported by therapists in articles in the New York Times, they have seen more anxiety and panic disorder since Trump was nominated than they have witnessed since 9/11. We are all unsettled, frightened by this world of rapid change and random attacks from all sides. Let’s all follow the words of the Dalai Lama, XIV, “If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.”

– Emma