Opinion > Star Staff
Reminders for the Journey: Overwhelm your anxiety with gratitude
By Doug Smith
Post-election, specifically Wednesday morning, some of my friends were looking for a place to hang the rope because their candidate of choice lost the presidential election.
They seemed to believe that the elections results surely meant financial ruin for them because now they would be taxed into bankruptcy; or perhaps even worse, the now obvious changing of our culture (or at least from their point of view) indicates for sure that those who want government handouts now and for the foreseeable future will win all the elections.
Talk about sore losers!
That is OK, though; as my seventh-grade coach once told us, there is no such thing as a good loser, "cause if you are one, you shouldn't even be playing the game!"
Well, even though I am quite sure I will receive several vitriolic emails on my point of view, here is my opinion of it all: Son, it really don't matter all that much! Very few of our lives will have any tangible change regardless of which side won the presidential election. I think my opinion carries some weight as I have voted in every presidential election since 1968, and my life, as well as most of my friends, has changed very little one way or the other, no matter if our candidate of choice won or lost! I think our getting so carried away with it is really just silly. (Please rev up your computers now to send me emails telling me how crazy I am! I am ready!)
For years I have heard it said that our president is the most powerful man in the world, but I am not so sure that that is true, because there are many checks and balances in our constitution (Wow, did our forefathers have a clue!). And since the House of Representatives is where financial matters must originate, can any president, by his ownself, really take our money from us? I liken it to what one of my graduate school professors said long ago about why it might be important as a therapist to do dream interpretation: "It gives you something to do while waiting for your patient to get better." Maybe similarly, grief over election results just gives us something to do while waiting to get on with our lives. Regardless, it is not, in my humble estimation, worth getting insanely worked up about.
Just yesterday, one of my best friends in the world, a man who certainly did not want Obama to win, stated what I think is a good way to look at it: "I have decided that the way I am going to deal with this is to just continue to be responsible for myself." He, like yours truly, is self-employed and has been for most of his life, and knowing him as I do, I am quite confident that he is creative enough, smart enough and hard-working enough that he will continue to survive as he has always done before. No matter who the president is!
So, what is my antidote for you if you are wringing your hands about this turn of events, or any other turn of events? Just overwhelm your concerns with gratitude about how good nearly all of our lives are, or have been! And just in case you need a primer in order to get started, I will throw out a few in my life, and perhaps you can fill in the blanks in ways that more closely fit your individual situations: I am married to a woman who is far beyond my pay grade, and better than any man I know could possibly deserve; my son, Dustin, will be returning home from South Korea in early December, where he and his fianc#233;e, Lia, have been teaching for the past two years (here I must quote Kahlil Gibran: "Your joy is your sorrow unmasked, for what has given you tears will now bring you joy." I had tears of sadness when he left and will certainly have tears of joy when I touch him again.); all three of my daughters seem to be doing very well in their lives these days; I have more friends than any human alive; I get the opportunity daily to love other people; I live in a land of unlimited opportunity; I do almost nothing that I don't really want to do; I get to play golf with some real fools virtually every Thursday; I love what I do for a living and have a great boss, even though he is absent-minded, somewhat lax on me and lets me take a nap every afternoon (I did mention that I am self-employed, didn't I?); I love reading and do so daily, which I have done since I was 10 years old; I physically feel good almost always; and on and on forever!
If we would practice our gratitude more frequently, and set aside most of our hand-wringing, we would feel so much better. Really, Chicken Little, the sky ain't gonna fall today.
oug Smith is a licensed professional counselor. Contact him at 972-436-6227, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit his website at ccclewisville.com
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