And so I don’t care who you voted for.
Like most other Americans, I stayed up way too late on Tuesday night to watch the election drama unfold. It was crazy stuff, and I’ll admit that I couldn’t hang–I fell asleep before a winner was declared. But when I woke up on Wednesday, as the smoke was beginning to clear, I was struck by two very different things.
First, I was struck by the civility and the graciousness of both candidates, as well as by President Obama. I was relieved when President-Elect Trump’s speech spoke of unity and gratitude, and about moving forward as one nation, and I loved how Obama reminded us that “the presidency, and the vice presidency, is bigger than any of us.”
I was also deeply touched by Secretary Clinton’s concession speech, and how she spoke to the young people who had supported her, telling them “I’ve spent my entire adult life fighting for what I believe in. I’ve had successes and I’ve had setbacks. Sometimes, really painful ones. Many of you are at the beginning of your professional public and political careers. You will have successes and setbacks, too. This loss hurts, but please never stop believing that fighting for what’s right is worth it.”
But as impressed as I was with the President and both candidates in the wake of the election, I was so disheartened to see people–even friends and family members–continue ripping each other apart on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram.
I don’t think it is a coincidence that some of the most contentious and downright ugly elections in the history of the United States have coincided with the rise of social media.
It changes the playing field because it gives us a place to band together with only people who agree with us and it gives us a place to say things online that we would never dare to say to people’s faces. And then suddenly other people “like” those things we say, which only encourages us–and others–to say even more things they would never say face-to-face. It’s a little like pouring gasoline onto a raging fire.
But here’s what I know to be true, in both politics and in life: we can’t always change the results, but we can change our response.
On any given day in any given week, each of us face what sometimes seems like an endless number of obligations and responsibilities and challenges and setbacks. From a demanding boss to an overwhelmingly long to-do-list to commitments at church or school to a family that needs us. Throw in the weight of financial strain, health concerns, or relationship drama and yes, even politics, and life can very easily feel like one big ball of stress and worry.
And when we look at these obligations and life circumstances as something that have been forced upon us, rather than taking ownership of them, it’s easy to get resentful, or to procrastinate, or to make excuses. In fact, sometimes it is even the most natural response.
But the reality is that even though there will always be circumstances that have been forced upon us outside of our control, we still have the choice to change our response. Rather than complain, we can choose to say, “I am going to handle this best way that I can.”
Zig Ziglar once said that “the choice to have a great attitude is something that nobody or no circumstance can take away from you.” Along those same lines, Dale Carnegie wrote “it isn’t what you have or who you are or where you are or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about it.”
In other words? Your attitude makes all the difference.
My challenge for you this week is to identify one small area in your life where your attitude could stand to improve. What circumstances in your life have you been passively reacting to rather than taking ownership of? Remind yourself–as many times as you have to–that although you may have been dealt a bad hand, you still hold the cards.
Live with purpose friends, and have an awesome weekend!
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