Election Reflection: Did You Get What You Want, or Not? Now What?

When I was a little girl,
A grown up told me that if you would dig
all the way through the earth to the other side,
you would come out … and be in China.
I don’t know generally about the wisdom of telling that to a child.
What I do know …
it was an inspiration to me.
It taught me that no matter how hard the ground.
no matter how deep you have to go.
if you keep digging …
you will come out on the other side.
Metaphorically, transformationally,
that person gave me a great gift…
one I carry in my own heart and cells and hold
as I work with people individually and in groups.

Descending through the earth to the other side;
Climbing the mountain and going over the top;
Taking a biiiiig step up;
Swimming up a waterfall;
Diving deep into the ocean of life;
Coming through the birth canal;
Taking a leap of faith off the edge of all you have known…
Whatever your picture of this experience…
as many times as you and we have done this before,
we are preparing to do it once again
at a crucial point in life,
in the life of each of you,
and in the life of our world.

Voting is not enough . . . It is only the beginning.
Whether the outcome of the vote is what you wanted or not what you wanted, it is not enough. It is only the beginning.

We need to go deeper still.

This is a wonderful example of what I have been saying…
Action is important in change. But action alone is not enough.
Prayer is important in change. But prayer alone is not enough.
The ingredient that is needed not only to help bring about any change we want,
but also to sustain it . . .

Is the inner work of psyche and soul that each one of us needs to do.

Where we are in our country reflects a change that has been growing…
And puts us in the doorway to further change.

This is the point at which we need to take a big deep breath,
go inside ourselves,
and explore.
The election is over.
Did it turn out the way you want?
If it did . . . what will you do with it?
It is always intriguing to me to see what we do when we long for something.
And even more intriguing . . .
what we do when we have what we have been longing for.

Will we go back to our lives as they were and become complacent?
Will we leave the responsibility for sustaining what we wanted in somebody else’s hands?
Will we do something unconsciously to sabotage or undermine what we’ve created together?
Why would you do that?
Fears . . .

Steve wants to take his business to a new level. He made an early decision in childhood – “I’ll never get what I want.” He works his heart out to create what he wants, this time growth of his business. But he won’t be able to make it . . . because of the decision. Part of him is working so hard to grow and the other part has already decided it’s not possible. He’s working against himself and living out a self-fulfilling prophecy.

When he realizes he can’t make it work, he may give up. He may grasp tighter and force harder. He may decide to heal the early decision . . . if he’s aware of it. If he heals the early decision, the shift that can happen within him can cause a shift in the possibilities for his business. Now he wouldn’t be working against himself.

Now – with the dissolution of the early decision – Joe works to grow his business and succeeds. It starts to grow by leaps and bounds. Joe gets scared . . . without even realizing it. He stops thinking about the business consistently and consciously. He makes choices that undermine the growth he’s created. He makes mistakes that aren’t like him at all. He stops tending to the garden he has planted that is finally blooming. It withers and dies, and maybe he even uses that to prove his early decision, which seems to be rising from the ashes like a ghost.

And if you didn’t get what you wanted?
What will you do then?

Roxy wanted to get a promotion into the upper echelons of management in her company.
She’s worked for years, with her whole heart and soul . . . or so she thinks.
She just got word that she didn’t make it.

Are you afraid, Roxy?
Can you feel it?
Will you explore your fear?
Or will you get angry?
Will you tap into your hate?
Not just the hate of a grown woman, but the hate of a 2-year old.
Will you blame others? Like your Mommy blamed you when you didn’t do what she wanted and taught you to do, in turn?
Will you tell her she’s a bad Mommy . . . if only in your mind and heart?
Will you plan to get her back somehow?

Will you act out on the young hate that was stirred up during the election?
Will you use the young reaction to not getting what you want and transfer it onto the election? The new president? Someone or something else in our world?

Will you have a temper tantrum?
Will you act out an escape hatch?

In order to avoid feeling what is there, too many people open a door inside them and then act out the escaping.

The escape hatches, once vital life savers for a child, are destructive and often dangerous for adults. And they keep us from solving problems and issues. They destroy the miracle that could emerge.*

This is a vital time for us to continue to look at ourselves.
To see what happens when we get what we want and when we don’t.

You can explore this post election,
During the holidays,
And in relation to your heart’s deepest desires . . .
Every day of your life.

*Watch for an upcoming article to deepen your understanding of escape hatches.

© Copyright 2009 by Judith Barr, MS, LMHC. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

  • Leave a Comment
  • Kris

    February 25th, 2009 at 12:15 AM

    wow!!! that is all heart and soul and hope!!

  • Allison

    February 26th, 2009 at 1:39 AM

    I think most of us do make up our mind about not being positive. However this was an eye opener on the power of positive thinking and the power of optimism.

  • AMH

    February 26th, 2009 at 5:19 AM

    Of course we never get exactly what we want. Sometimes I think we put people and ideals on a pedestal and then they never live up to being exactly what we thought they would be. But I have tried really hard not to do that lately because when things do not always turn out the way that you had hoped or planned you end up disappointed.
    The new election has brought some real changes and excitement to Washington that I have been wanting to see for a long time but we all have to remember that change is a process, not something that can come about over one night and with one man. I think that we all have to just sit back, be patient, and leave ourselves open for the changes that are hence to come.

  • Gwen

    February 26th, 2009 at 11:48 PM

    Too early to predict anything but I am sure Obama’s good intentions wont go wrong. It’s definitely brought a lot of hope to America even though the reality of the economic struggle is overwhelming.

  • Austin

    February 28th, 2009 at 4:10 AM

    In the minority here I am sure but this was not the change that I thought this country needed. Who needs a president who is willing to rack up trillions of dollars in debt for “bailouts” that may or may not help? I am sorry but thtis is not the course the US needs to take to become a leader on the world scene again.

  • Jerry

    February 28th, 2009 at 5:45 AM

    Well there are 2 sides to every coin. I believe the bumps in the road get more pronounced with a bad driver. Time will tell and getting too optimistic is not necessarily realistic. There are a lot of Obama blunders. To name a few NAFTA, ties to Rezko and the Daschle withdrawal.

  • Kami

    March 9th, 2009 at 1:06 AM

    I did vote and voted for Obama… I just hope he does his best and proves a lot of people wrong that have negative ideas of him

  • jeni

    March 9th, 2009 at 1:08 AM

    I believe I got what I wanted when I voted. Only time will tell and I am keeping a positive attitude about our president until I see otherwise. I really do believe he is what we needed and I think he knows what is needed for th is country. No one is perfect and that goes for the president, but I think he is really trying to turn things around.

  • Mica

    March 12th, 2009 at 2:09 AM

    I think we are on our way to a better country.. Anything has got to be better than last presidency..I’m sure it’s hard to be the president, especially now.. but I have faith it’ll get better.

  • Tawhnee

    March 12th, 2009 at 2:10 AM

    I have to agree with Mica.. We just need to keep the faith and hope and be positive.

  • Candeline

    March 16th, 2009 at 2:48 AM

    Lets give the president a chance here. He is only beginning his term, but I think he will do well.. I know not everyone got what they wanted, in the president elect, but I am a firm believer in letting Obama or anyone prove themselves first before we condemn him for his choices

  • Shana

    March 20th, 2009 at 7:24 AM

    i think i got what i wanted from the election. But like Gwen has mentioned, it’s still early

  • Carly

    April 10th, 2009 at 3:55 AM

    I’m sure the President is a good person, he comes off that way.. But I am beginning to wonder about the stimulus where they add back to the worker’s paycheck. At my job, the Federal chart changed, which in turn reduces the amount paid into Federal. AT the end of the year, that means we may more than likely OWE Federal instead of getting back. I’m not sure how this will turn out.

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