As I write this post on the Saturday morning after Election Day, I’m surprised that I haven’t officially learned the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Within this limbo, I’m learning lessons about patience, uncertainty, and hope.
Throughout the months leading up to the election, we were told that we might not know the results on November 3. We were braced for practicing patience. Understanding this in theory and accepting this in reality are two separate things. As Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday went by without a confirmed outcome, I had to ask myself: how do I practice patience? For me, this meant continuously coming back to the present moment, respecting the long and arduous process, and trusting that the outcome will eventually be revealed.
This process has also led me to evaluate how I relate to uncertainty. Speaking to folks across the span of election week, I realized that we all approach uncertainty in different ways. Some approach uncertainty by grasping at any bits of certainty that exist. Others approach it by distracting and avoiding answers altogether. What did you learn about how you relate to uncertainty throughout this process?
Finally, it’s hard to talk about election week without mentioning hope. Every person watching the numbers roll in has had some degree of hope or hopelessness about a certain outcome. Did you allow yourself to feel hope when you were sitting in the uncertainty? Or did you protect yourself from disappointment by expecting the worst? This time, I allowed myself to feel hopeful, and that made the waiting and uncertainty easier to navigate.
Bethany Kriegel, LMHC, earned her master’s degree in mental health counseling from Boston College. She has experience working with adults in residential treatment settings, helping those struggling with eating disorders and obsessive-compulsive disorder, among other issues.
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