This isn’t a piece about politics. You can find plenty of those elsewhere.
I am interested in what we do when planning for what we might fear as the worst case scenario.
All too often, we get over-attached to desired outcomes. Along the way, something that we would like to see happen morphs into something that must happen or else...
When we have minimal, if any, influence in determining those outcomes, becoming over-attached builds up the potential suffering if things don’t work out our way.
Of course, politics is on the extreme end of attachment as it strays into identity. Strange things can happen when we lose our sense of self within a tribal set of expectations.
You can test your attachment by completing the sentence, “If Trump wins, I will ……………………”
Possible reactions might range from indifference to delight, from despair to life-threatening angst, from frustration to fury. It’s worth reflecting upon.
If you can sense some struggle, then it may be useful to reframe this as advice you would give to someone you care about. Imagine if a loved one was about to sit an exam that they really wanted to pass, or interview for a job that offered them dream employment. What would you say to them when things don’t work out?
You’re likely to provide encouragement, to remind them of their worth beyond any one-off event, to add perspective and remind them of many other opportunities that are open to them. You’re unlikely to tell them to be angry, or to take to the bed, or go online and abuse anyone they disagree with.
So, what advice can we give ourselves as we prepare for a worst-case scenario? Do we want to be compassionate to ourselves? Do we want to be a best friend to ourselves when we might need it the most?
If we do, then we prepare for the worst. We plan actions that allow us to continue to function, that nudge us towards what is good for us and away from what would bring us regret.
And this is true for all attachments, not just election outcomes.
This post was adapted from one of Aodan’s Sunday morning newsletters, eagerly anticipated by hundreds of readers. Give yourself the gift of that weekly wisdom by signing up here.