How to Handle Bad News

Like most of you I woke this morning to the shocking news that the American people had decided that Donald Trump was to be their next President.  I felt physically sick when I  heard the news intitially and, in the past, I would have gone into a complete tailspin of negative thinking

and negative energy about what this means for the future of not just the States but for us and our earth as a whole.

However, as Director of the Positive Living Network, I have had the privilege to spend the last 11 years listening to and learning from our inspirational monthly Guest Speakers about many subjects but often about how to handle what appears to be bad news.  Let’s face it, folks, if we really wanted to we could find so much horror and depravity in the world that we would want to just give up right now.  And yet we live in a world of opposites and where there is darkness there must also be light. 

So today I am inspired to share a few simple but practical tips which I have learnt from several of our amazing Guest Speakers over the years.  I do this in the hope that, if you are feeling depressed or anxious about today’s news (or anything else in your life) these will reduce your suffering and help you to return to your natural state which is one of ease and calm.

Most of our suffering comes from our inability to accept the reality of a situation whether it be Trump or a cancer diagnosis or a financial loss.  So even though I am still reeling from the news of Trump’s success, I quickly reached a place of acceptance – albeit grudging acceptance.  It is what it is.  I can’t change the news.  I have to have the serenity to accept what I cannot change.  The very act of acceptance brings with it an ease and brings me back to myself.  It brings me out of my head and back into my heart.  Now, from my heart, I may have the answer about something which I can actually do in this situation i.e. write this blog post in the hope that it helps you.

Remember that accepting a situation is not the same as condoning it….they are VERY different things.

After Grudging Acceptance I then reach for Peaceful Acceptance which is where I say to myself “Donald Trump has been voted in as leader of the free world and I choose to be at peace.”  After all, what else can I do?  Anything else is just bringing me pain and suffering.

The final level of acceptance is GRATEFUL ACCEPTANCE.  This is a challenging one but I will give it a go with something like this….. Trump has been elected as US President and I am grateful because I do not live in the US.  Or Trump has been elected as US President and I am grateful because it might just wake the world up to the fact that this political system does not work! Or Trump has been elected as US President and I am grateful because he doesn’t come into office until January.  And so on and so on…..

Acceptance has been one of the most powerful and transformative practices in my life over the last decade and, when you think about it, to NOT accept what is actually happening is a form of insanity.  My partner Eoin Scolard and I recorded a short video on this topic a while ago.  You can watch it here.

The other thing which really helps me to not get sucked into a negative vortex about this is to focus on what I want instead.  So, for example, this morning after I gathered myself I almost automatically went into a bit of a speech to Eoin which went something like this…..”I am really looking forward to living in a country where the leaders are conscious, compassionate and free from ego.  Won’t it be great when leaders are elected in a way that highlights their values, their integrity and their commitment to things like ending poverty, stopping global warming and educating every child on the planet……” etc etc.  I went on for about 5 minutes so I won’t bore you with it all.  You may read these words and think “Yeah but that’s never going to happen.”  And that leads me on to my final tip….

“The possibility exists….” is the title of Eoin’s new book and he is going to be Guest Speaker on this topic at our Positive Living Network meetings around Ireland this month.  The phrase “the possibility exists” is a deceptively powerful one and one which is deeply embedded in our consciousness at home now.  So as I was walking the dogs and trying to process the news from the USA, I started to play with this…..

The possibility exists that this is exactly what the US needs for its evolution as a nation.

The possibility exists that Trump could be so surprised by his election that he has a total epiphany.

The possibility exists that Trump has learnt a lot of lessons over the last few months about how NOT to treat people.

The possibility exists that there will be a re-count.

The possibility exists that he might not even be sworn in.

The possibility exists that he will be the worst president the US has ever had and they will learn from his election.

We think we know what is going to happen in any given situation.  And yet, we don’t.  There are SO many possibilities in the Universe for what could happen and how things could unfold whether it be in the high drama of US politics or in our own little lives.  Using the phrase “the possibility exists….” helps me to keep my mind and my heart open to a more positive future and the reality which is that I don’t have a clue what is actually going to happen!!  But most importantly, as with all these practices, it helps me to feel better and easier right now and from that place I can take actions like allowing this blog to flow through me.

Find out more about “The Possibility Exists…..” here and about Eoin’s upcoming talks here or just come along and ‘like’ the Positive Living Network’s page on Facebook for more positive spin on bad news!  Please, please, please share this blog with others if you have found it useful today.