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Election Got You Down? 5 Lessons from Carl Jung

Lately, I've been feeling helpless and hopeless about our great country and have found solace in my studies. Reading the great psychiatrist and philosopher Carl Jung has helped me put things in perspective...

1 ~ "We cannot change anything unless we accept it. Condemnation does not liberate, it oppresses.” It is often said that we must understand something to change it, but the real solace comes from completely accepting what is. Others' opinions are a reality. Others' actions are a reality. Others' understandings are a reality. Accept them and be liberated. Condemn them and continue with your isolation and hand-wringing.

2 ~ “The best political, social, and spiritual work we can do is to withdraw the projection of our shadow onto others.” Those characteristics and behaviors we despise and rail against are the very attributes and actions we fear and hate the most about our own selves. When we feel the most riled up is when we should take stock of our own flaws and instead try to learn how to be our best selves.

3 ~ “What you resist, persists...Whatever is rejected from the self, appears in the world as an event.” The more energy and attention you give to something you DON'T want will continue to manifest because you are giving it energy. Give your time, talent, treasure, and emotional energy to what you WANT to have happen, not what you fear, distrust, or despise as you will only create more of what you are trying so hard to reject.

4 ~ “In all chaos there is a cosmos, in all disorder a secret order.” It feels like the world is in complete chaos: nothing makes sense and the world is upside down, but take solace in that there really is an order to all that is happening. The winds of change blow and then cease, the tides rise and fall, humans fall and then stand back up again. All will be well. And, to throw in another quote from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr (who was himself paraphrasing Unitarian minister, Theodore Parker): "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."

5 ~ “For better to come, good must stand aside.” When we are in the middle of an era, we don't understand that we are part of an evolving process. We have an understanding of what is good, and right, and just, but what we believe at the time is appropriate dialogue, just discourse, equitable policy, and fair procedures may not, in fact, be good--but actually that with which we are accustomed. We must shift our paradigm to be flexible--and humble--and know that we haven't figured it all out yet.

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