This post is written especially for people who, having voted for Hillary Clinton in the U.S. elections this past week, are still feeling miserable. For those of you who voted for Donald Trump, congratulations! I hope he does a great job.
Seeing how I am about to address liberals sympathetically, let me first reassure conservatives that my political bias doesn’t interfere with the professional integrity of my services. It greatly helps us all to feel united when we understand that the conflicted psyche, when dishing out emotional pain, doesn’t care whether we’re conservatives, liberals, or independents. Nor does your psyche care who your psychotherapist votes for.
I am pretty liberal, for sure, and so I wasn’t immune to the surprise outcome of the election. After watching the returns on Tuesday night, I went to bed with unease and deep concern.
Since then, however, I have been doing some of my best sessions and best writing. This content will be published here in coming weeks. I have simply refused to worry or to suffer over the fact that Mr. Trump will be the new president and that Congress remains in Republican hands. I feel strong and self-assured.
I’ve had lots of energy all week, and I’m as happy as ever. I can see more clearly now that the future of the world lies in the personal efforts each one of us makes to become stronger and wiser. When our psyche is cleared of inner conflict and the accompanying negative crud that arises from it, we don’t go looking for arguments or fights with one another.
How did I manage to rise from bed Wednesday morning (nursing a faint hope that Hillary might somehow have pulled it out) and all week long ride a tidal wave of energy and purpose? The process that facilitated my transition from gloom to pleasurable pursuit is called sublimation (you can read a lot about it here at Wikipedia).
It’s something of a mysterious process that occurs when we use our conscious intention and self-awareness to direct inner energy toward a purposeful end instead of toward negative speculations and considerations. In my case, the buildup of my energy was a result of my anticipation and alarm, over many months, about the approaching election and its ramifications for the nation and the world.
Often sublimation is associated with sexual energy. The energy can be transformed from a sexual end to, say, a creative or physically productive end. Often breathing practices can more easily shift the energy toward a more practical or purposeful end. Sublimation can also be facilitated when people, through breathing and visualization, move their energy upward from the lower regions of the body in the groin and abdomen to the higher, more transcendent regions in the heart, throat, and brow. Before trying this, however, take lessons or classes with an experienced teacher.
I’ve been doing some meditating this week, so that was likely beneficial. However, I’m convinced I helped myself the most through my determination to avoid becoming mired in negative thoughts and emotions concerning the outcome of the election. I’m skilled at doing this because of my understanding of depth psychology and how it pertains to me.
For people who feel their values were steamrolled by the election outcome, their path of least resistance is to feel deflated, disheartened, disgusted, and angry. Having such feelings for a day or two is understandable. Having them for a longer period creates unnecessary suffering and becomes self-defeating.
With Trump in power, we can be tempted to feel that our values and laws are going to be disrespected, belittled, and even expunged. It’s true that his administration might proceed to discredit and discontinue what we hold dear. Yet it’s also true that some of us are already tempted to take on misery associated with such a possibility and thereby, in a neurotic manner, to interpret our situation from the perspective of oppression, powerlessness, and victimhood. This would be a painful, passive place from which to observe and experience the coming years. Such a negative outlook on our part would be defeatist and would increase the possibility that he will govern badly.
A great reserve of energy (in psychoanalysis it’s called cathexis) has been building in our physical and emotional systems in the lead-up to this election. It probably began well before last spring and summer as Trump’s presence upon the world stage gathered momentum. In itself, this energy is precious. It’s neither good nor bad. It’s pleasant or unpleasant to the degree that we make it so. If we’re not insightful enough, this energy can so easily drift into negativity where it’s squandered in self-defeating cogitation, worry, and inner conflict.
The energy becomes trapped in our unresolved inner conflict. When this happens, we inevitably feel anxious, fearful, depressed, confused (along with many other symptoms). Our inner critic seizes the energy to mock or harass us more intensely, perhaps for somehow being asleep at the wheel as the country lurched to the Right. Inner passivity can also be felt more intensely, which results in us feeling more fearful, despondent, apathetic, helpless, and hopeless.
If you’re stuck in this conflict, the next four years will be long and painful. If you’re not stuck, the time ahead can be the best you’ve ever lived.
Meanwhile, if you want to protest or be involved politically, that’s great. But try to make these efforts an upbeat act of courage and belief in self, rather than an angry reaction to some underlying sense of oppression or insignificance. That anger can be a cover-up for your unconscious willingness to resonate with yourself through feelings of powerless and unworthiness. Such anger can cause you to flame out, and then smolder painfully and ineffectively.
If you read more posts here on my website, or some of my books, you’ll learn how to liberate yourself from inner conflict and thereby sublimate your bountiful energies for your greater good and that of the country.