Yesterday was perhaps the most “important” day, the most pivotal moment of the Trump presidency. For many, the news of the impending retirement of Supreme Court Justice Kennedy was a kind of death, the death of what we believed was social justice — at least the possibility of a tolerant and inclusive society — for perhaps decades to come.
Today, many are in a dark place, perhaps filled with hopelessness, a sense of powerlessness and depression that seems insurmountable with this news. This is a natural response. We have believed — and continue to believe — that we are fighting for our country, our rights, our freedom, and basic human decency, compassion, and kindness. How do we keep our heads up when the gates of balanced justice from the highest court in the land are now firmly shut and locked?
What is the story you are telling yourself about this news?
As life coaches, we know that what we tell ourselves has the single biggest impact on how we feel. We usually create stories that “prove” our biggest fears. Looking at these default narratives and shifting them will immediately change our experiences. Are you feeling like we will become the real-life version of the novel/TV series “The Handmaid’s Tale?” If so, step back, look at what is as opposed to what you are fearful of, and create a more balanced narrative for yourself. For example, instead of “Social justice is dead,” try “Many of our rights may be taken away, such as Roe v. Wade, LGBT rights, and election fairness.” Now, decide where you will stand for justice in the area that matters most to you.
Prioritize your emotional, physical, and spiritual well-being. Author Audre Lourde writes, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence; it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” We cannot afford to neglect ourselves on any level at this moment in our history. While it may seem selfish to prioritize our self-care or other needs right now, we must become absolutely clear that, without our health intact, we will not be able to stand for our beliefs because we will be empty vessels.
What should you do next?
1. Assess your current self-care: Look at all three areas of well-being — emotional, spiritual, and physical. Where is your self-care strong? Where is it lacking? Make sure you are doing at least one thing to support yourself in each of these areas.
2. Take targeted action: #GOTV (get out the vote)! Recognize that any possibility for change will come down to our electoral process. The single most critical thing any of us can do is support candidates with time or contributions, vote, and make sure others are registered and actually vote.
3. Get educated: Educate yourself about candidates and issues so that you can speak from a place of knowledge. Always check sources of information provided to you as factual to identify whether or not it actually is.
Yesterday was a huge blow, there is no doubt about it. But we do not need to let it pull us under. If we do, we lose. Stay positive, stay the course, and know that you are a warrior for justice.