Whether you’re a Trump, Hillary, or “other” supporter, the outcome of the 2016 presidential election was a shock to all of us. Going into Election Day, Reuters gave Hillary a 90% chance of winning the election. Regardless of this and other favorable projections for Hillary, Donald Trump beat the odds and won the election. Now that Donald Trump will indeed be the 45th President of the United States of America, it is time for all non-Trump supporters to suck it up and move forward, right?
Wrong. Liberals, minorities, immigrants, Muslims, women, and the LGBT community are in mourning. They need some time to process what has happened and what this election means for their future.
It is true that not much may change for some. However, this is not the case for many. The groups of people that have been singled out and attacked by Trump have fears that need to be processed before they can accept the outcome of this election. Half of America is grieving, and we need to allow them to go through the grieving process before motivating them to move forward.
As a mental health professional, I have supported many of my clients through grief and loss. Grief is associated with many forms of loss, including but not limited to, the death of a loved one or pet, the loss of a job or relationship, or the loss of hope as a result of the outcome of a presidential election.
Grief is a complex experience with many stages. The stages of grief include denial, anger, depression, bargaining, and acceptance. I’d assume that most grieving Americans are still in the denial, anger, and depression stages of grief.
If you’ve ever experienced any form of loss, you may understand that reaching acceptance can be a long and uncomfortable journey, especially when the loss is unexpected. Research has consistently shown unexpected loss is more difficult to cope with than loss that is anticipated.
As stated earlier, Hillary was the favorite to win the election. As a result, many were blindsided by the outcome of the presidential election and are still struggling to wrap their heads around what has happened.
I’ve seen many political commentators on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, etc. and friends on social media (including Liberals and non-Trump supporters) minimize the feelings of the grieving American people by telling them to “accept the outcome” and “move on.”
Yes, some losses can be more troublesome than others, but to minimize someone’s very real feelings for your belief of how they should feel is simply callous.
Although we all hope to eventually get to acceptance, hearing others invalidate your feelings by telling you, “you’ll be okay” or “it’s not that big of a deal” does not expedite the process by any means.
We will be okay. But give us time to process what is going on before you tell us how to feel.