On Friday, Donald Trump will become the 45th president of the United States…
The prospect of these next four years has me seriously concerned, bordering on terrified. Some worry we’re likely going to have a narcissist at the helm of our country; others, that his tenure and leadership will be completely unpredictable.
Neither of those are what worries me. No, what most concerns me is the fear, helplessness and hopelessness I see all around.
For anyone reading this who doesn’t live in America, the sense of loss, and for some people terror, that Trump’s America engenders is palpable. Radio, internet or print media- all we hear about day and night is what it will be like to have “the Donald” as president, and the news is not reassuring.
“Some are terrified that Trump will make good on his words, and others fear that he won’t.”
People are voicing their concerns for their friends, families, health, jobs, safety, reproductive and religious freedoms… It’s fear, fear, fear sprinkled with anger and hefty side of hopelessness.
Americans feel helpless and stuck. Many because they believe that past governments have failed them. Some are terrified that Trump will make good on his words, and others fear that he won’t. Many Americans are sure this administration will do more than just default on its promises. Others just don’t believe that anyone or anything associated with Washington and politics can or will help.
If you are one of the people who feels depressed, scared and fearful when you think about Trump’s America and its politics, I’m here to tell you there is hope.
There is a way of not feeling so afraid and it starts with understanding that you — not Donald Trump, not the Senate, Congress or any branch of the government — have the power to create the world you want to live in!
Before you write me off as naïve or foolish, I can tell you as a psychologist I deal in fear and hopelessness all day, everyday! I am writing not to make you feel good, or passively assuage your fears. The recommendation I am making is based on over a decade of experience working with people to help them restore control and recover their lives.
You can’t really blame Americans for being so scared; after all, this country was founded in rebellion against a government that had failed to put the interests of its citizens first. Our nation was founded on a constitution that promised to put The People’s needs and welfare first, and despite the many times history has shown these promises to be as trustworthy as a pinkie swear, we The People go on hoping.
This is our mistake, and it is at the root of much of our fear. By entrusting out welfare, happiness and life to others — in this case the government — we deny ourselves the opportunity and agency to live well. Although Trump, or any other political leader, has the power to affect our daily circumstances, they do not and cannot determine the course of our lives.
It is because we believe that our fate can be determined by our rulers that we feel so afraid when the not-so-benevolent ones come to power. But our daily fates, and the greater landscapes of our lives are determined mostly, if not solely, by our choices, our actions and our values.
If the words “President Trump” scare you, or if the thought that Trump won’t hold to his campaign promises has you feeling fearful (it’s not just anti-Trump Americans who are afraid, it’s most of America including those who voted him in power), here is my strong, sound and professional advice.
Take a stand. Take action.
“By entrusting out welfare, happiness and life to others — in this case the government — we deny ourselves the opportunity and agency to live well.”
Through your choices and behaviors everyday, create the world you want to live in.
Don’t wait for the government to build you a better tomorrow. Don’t wait in fear that the Trumps of the world will destroy what you love. Instead, make choices everyday in big and small ways that reflect the world you want to live in.
“To make your world a better place doesn’t necessitate political involvement, an open schedule or deep pockets.”
Fear is what happens when we perceive impending danger and don’t believe we can avoid or change it. If you remove the perception of danger, or if you give someone the tools to take control, fear suddenly diminishes or even disappears.
I don’t have the power or knowledge to change your perception of danger, but I can convince you to take control, to take action, to diminish or mitigate the risk.
Take action, regain control over your life, and remove fear.
You might be thinking, “but, I’m not a lobbyist, I’m not a millionaire, I don’t have 2 million followers to stand with me and support my efforts, what can I do?”. The truth is, having one or all three of those things would certainly be helpful, but anything you do to make your life and your world a better place is a good start.
So take action in both big and small ways- from joining a political rally, or donating time or money to a cause you value, to showing kindness to your neighbor, picking up pieces of trash at a local park or calling a loved one who is having a tough time.
To make your world a better place doesn’t necessitate political involvement, an open schedule or deep pockets. You don’t have to take off from work, or take time away from your family. The key is to find ways that you can actively improve your small corner of the world.
When you make your life better, you have more energy (mental, emotional, physical) to devote to others, which in turn leads to ever-increasing improvements in the world around you, like ripples spreading in a pond.
Make the choice to act according to your values, create a positive change in your world, and you will make the rest of the world better.
Whether you march on Washington on Saturday, go to the park with your kids, or make a date with a friend to help take her mind off of things, take some time this weekend to think about what matters most to you.
What values define the person you are, and hope to be?
What do you need to do, live and have to feel fulfilled?
How are you living those things currently? And what are some other ways in which you can realistically express them right now?
If you’d like help answering those questions, or want some ideas on small and big ways to regain control, feel balanced again and not feel so damn afraid over the next four years CLICK HERE and sign up for Life in Focus’ FREE Monday Motivation series.
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Originally published at medium.com