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November 9, 2016

Good morning.

I didn’t post yesterday because nothing I had to share seemed significant given the huge decision our country was making. I felt so anxious all day.

I hope you exercised your right to vote. We are truly so lucky to have it and to live in a country where we enjoy personal freedom, especially as women.

I woke up at 3 a.m. and checked my phone for the election results. I stayed up for 30 minutes reading various articles before Tanner woke up and encouraged me to go back to sleep. I practiced Ashtanga primary series in my head (one of my go-to ways to relax my brain to sleep) until I fell back asleep.

This election cycle has been a circus. It’s been so difficult to watch the candidates battle each other but even more painful to watch our country become so divided. All politics aside, we just elected a billionaire reality TV star as President of the United States. I want to ask, “how did we get here?” But the answer is painfully clear.

Our society is full of disconnection, fear and separation and it only seems to get worse every day. We’ve traded in face-to-face contact for emailing and texts. We escape into reality TV instead of feeling the reality of our own lives. We scroll through social media quietly comparing and (sometimes not so quietly) judging. We’ve let the anonymity of the Internet rob us of basic human respect for others. I’ve watched complete strangers rip each other apart on social media in ways that are appalling no matter your political stance.

A useful litmus test for me is, “If this person was sitting directly in front of me, would I say this (or honestly even think it!)?” I find it difficult to believe that so many of the hurtful statements we’re hurling around at each other are things we’d say in direct communication.

While I can’t control what happens in Washington, I can control what happens in my own heart. Today I make the conscious choice to continue live from a place of love, compassion and kindness. I have written about this in the past but I truly believe it’s the only way we can keep moving forward.

Tanner shared the following statement on Monday evening.

“Be kind to yourself and to others, and respect each other regardless of whether your beliefs may be different. It’s what makes you different that makes you valuable to this world, not what makes you the same.”

So that’s all I’ve got for you today. This is one of those times where I have to step out of the blog bubble to feel grounded and authentic in this space. I’ll be back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

Love and prayers to all of you and to our country. May we choose to respect and love each other and choose the path of kindness and compassion.

Jen

{ 36 comments… add one }
  • Katherine November 9, 2016, 9:16 am

    Thanks for this Jen! Just what I needed to hear in the midst of what feels like complete craziness.

  • Nikki November 9, 2016, 9:27 am

    I did the same thing at 3:00 AM…

    As usual, you are on point – best thing I’ve read all day about the election and state of our country. How did we get here? Thank you for your positive words and reminder to stay grounded in respect and love for mankind. I needed that perspective.

  • Meg November 9, 2016, 9:27 am

    You always have such a thoughtful insight that really speaks to my heart. Thank you for the kind words of encouragement.

  • Fiona November 9, 2016, 9:46 am

    This right here is why your blog is without a doubt my favorite to come to and read. Your realness here is spot on. I love your continued positive attitude and reminding everyone to continue living their lives with kindness and love. thank you for this amazing reminder today and everyday ❤

  • Erin Cusack November 9, 2016, 9:50 am

    I totally agree with you on this and while I’m disappointed on the results of the election, I WILL NOT SPREAD HATE. I wrote a post on this the other day, too. http://www.erincusackblog.com/be-kind

  • Lauren C November 9, 2016, 9:52 am

    Wonderfully and beautifully stated, Jenn. I’ve admittedly really struggled to stay positive today, and am still reeling and feeling so many emotions. But I keep coming back to the beautiful words of MLK: “Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” Those words will be my driving force as we move forward, and I hope they can drive all of us as well.

  • Jenny November 9, 2016, 9:53 am

    I also woke up at 3am to check my phone…and struggled to fall back asleep.

    Thank you for your words, thoughts and perspective. It is much needed in our society, ever more so now. I hope and pray others like you continue to share this message. As difficult as it is for me to choose love and kindness right now when I am in utter shock, disbelief and grief, I know it is the only way we move forward. Thank you.

  • Jen November 9, 2016, 10:02 am

    The same thing happened to me at 4 a.m. And even though I was tired and sad and scared, I went to the gym. I realized then that many of the people there with me, people I consider my friends, were in support of the outcome. So in a way, it made me hopeful that surely we can all at least be kind to one another, as we are when we are there. I’m choosing kindness.

    • Jen DeCurtins November 9, 2016, 1:43 pm

      I couldn’t agree more. I said this to another commenter but I love what President Obama said in his speech today. “We are not democrats or republicans first. We’re Americans first.” Our country has always found a way to uphold democracy and I know that we’ll continue forward and figure out how to work together.

  • Kaleigh November 9, 2016, 10:15 am

    I’ve been a reader for several years. I am an 11 year Army officer, and a woman. I have to say, while our new President may not be what we imagined as children for our country, I could never in good conscience stand behind a person who knowingly and willingly jeopardized fellow Americans’ lives, and our national safety. If you are going to say that you are practicing compassion and kindness, do not write a post where you mock the new President-elect. If you don’t want to have political issues on your blog, just leave it out completely. I do not want to begin a political fight here, as I enjoy your blog and respect you greatly as a fitness and nutrition resource.

    • Haley November 9, 2016, 12:01 pm

      Thank you for your service and your courage in posting in this comment!

    • Jen DeCurtins November 9, 2016, 1:39 pm

      Hi Kaleigh – thank you so much for reading over the last few years. Thank you even more for your service to our country. I am so grateful. Please know that I would feel the same way about the presidential candidate no matter what party affiliation they had. My point was more to the power of social media, reality TV, fame, etc. versus the actual person. And also about my sadness over the online/social bashing that has been going on. It’s just over the top. I completely respect your opinions and I’m hopeful that we will all move forward together and stay united in all of the reasons why we’re so proud to be Americans and live in this country with so many freedoms. Thank you again for fighting for it.

      Love,
      Jen

      • Kaleigh November 9, 2016, 11:36 pm

        Thank you, Jen. I agree with you 100% that social media has become so hurtful and angry. It’s sad to see what people write when it’s “without consequence” so to speak. I want our country to be stronger and a happier place for everyone- regardless of political affiliation. Americans need to remember how lucky we all are to hold that title, as the saying goes, freedom isn’t free. However, maintaining our composure and giving one another a little grace is. I think you always have a knack for expressing things clearly and with such resonance on your blog- and I hope all your readers carry your openminded attitude forward in their daily lives. Maybe we all just need a little more yoga and veggies and less fighting on social media!

    • Sarah November 9, 2016, 4:12 pm

      Kaleigh – thank you so much for your service. Especially in these uncertain times. I mean it – thank you. I teach my daughter that a country is a fragile thing and that we need brave men and women like you to protect it for us. That we owe you our very lives and, without you, we have nothing.
      I couldn’t be more proud of my country today. No matter your political stance, we the people have spoken. That is so powerful.
      This point is this: yesterday, I felt hopeless. Today, I am more confident than ever that we can come together, heal this country, work together and stitch shut this chasm that has developed between the people of this country. I know we can do it, and I know we will. Today, I feel safer and more protected. I feel less fragile. And we will choose kindness and unity.; I can already feel it. God bless.

      • Kaleigh November 9, 2016, 11:29 pm

        Thank you, Sarah. I feel more confident too. I hope so much for a stronger and more unified country. Hopefully we can become reunited if we all choose to be just a little more accepting, and remember the foundations of our country. Patriotism shouldn’t be a thing of the past, and it should be untethered from our political beliefs. I think at our core we all want similar things; an strong and unified country where we all feel safe, empowered, and respected.

  • Katie November 9, 2016, 10:17 am

    Thank you for this post, Jen. I was trying to wrap my mind around this outcome this morning and my first instinct was to delete the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat apps from my phone and leave my phone upstairs while I had my coffee downstairs. In the near silence that followed, I realized that part of my shock at the results was because of the “digital echo chamber” of social media. Because I lived and have lived in extremely “blue” areas my entire life, my Facebook feed and social media contacts were almost entirely for Hillary. That and the polls and mainstream media’s underestimation of the fervor of Trump’s base made it unfathomable to anticipate the ultimate outcome. But it goes to show that both sides of this election were operating on almost entirely different playing fields and I genuinely believe social media filtration and the isolation you mentioned are impacting our society in major, irreversible ways.

    I echo your thoughts that the best course of action is to choose kindness, choose love and look forward. I have sincere hope that much of Trump’s campaign rhetoric was just that and I look forward to (hopefully) being pleasantly surprised by his actions over the course of the next four years.

    Thanks for always being a source of inspiration in tough times and good times.

    Much love.

    • Jen DeCurtins November 9, 2016, 1:32 pm

      Hi Katie – thank you so much for taking a moment to share your sentiments on the social media front. It’s definitely changing our world in very real ways and very rapidly.

      I agree with your hope on the rhetoric.

      Much love back to you. <3

  • Julia November 9, 2016, 10:22 am

    I can’t say enough about how much better this post makes me feel. I worry that both sides are so angry that we will never get past the divide because very few people are willing to approach the issue from a place of love and compassion. Thank you so much for being brave enough to voice your opinions and reminding people that hatred does not and will not create anything positive. While half of the US is incredibly disappointed and dumbfounded we need to recognize that respect and kindness are the best ways to live and move forward. When they go low, we go high!

    • Jen DeCurtins November 9, 2016, 1:31 pm

      Thanks for the comment Julia. As President Obama pointed out in his speech today, there is a winning and losing side in every single election. It’s part of our democracy. I also loved his words that we are not Republicans or Democrats first, but Americans. The only way forward is together.

  • Amanda November 9, 2016, 10:26 am

    Thanks Jen! Totally needed to read these words and get a virtual hug from you! Sending much love to you and everyone around me today.

    • Jen DeCurtins November 9, 2016, 1:28 pm

      You’re so welcome Amanda and big hugs to everyone today. <3

  • Caroline November 9, 2016, 12:40 pm

    Hi Jen! I’ve been a long-time reader, but never-commenter. I just wanted to let you know that this post was so, so needed for me right now. Today has been ROUGH but the main thing that has been keeping me going has been knowing that at least now we can move on from that election cycle and begin the process of rebuilding. Starting with the simple act of being kind to each other. It’s easy, admittedly, to be angry at what happened. But that anger doesn’t do anyone, least of all me, any good.
    I frequently find your posts inspiring but this one takes the cake. Continuing to fight about politics won’t help us. But loving and respecting one another will.

    • Jen DeCurtins November 9, 2016, 1:27 pm

      Thank you so much for taking a moment to comment Caroline. I’m very happy to hear that the post resonated with you. <3

  • Laura November 9, 2016, 1:33 pm

    One of the best things I’ve read today! Thanks! For the vast majority, the people to our left and right will affect our day-to-day lives a whole lot more than who’s sitting in some big house in DC. The government also has a system of checks and balances in place for a reason. If everyone would just breathe a little and share some kindness and strength with the people around them, I’m confident we’ll come out a stronger country regardless of the person nominally in charge.

  • Amelia November 9, 2016, 1:38 pm

    Thanks, Jen. I don’t comment often, but I completely agree with your post. I rarely express my political views on social media, but posted a similar message today on Facebook. I think the most healthy and productive thing we can do right now is focus on the positive changes we can make around us. I am going to make an effort to focus and stress less on negative things, and instead put my energy towards positivity and understanding, practicing small acts of kindness to others, volunteering for local causes important to me, and trying to serve as a positive ambassador for our country. I know that you have a positive influence on many people, and I appreciate you helping to spread this encouraging message. I know our country is better than this.

  • Mila November 9, 2016, 1:45 pm

    Thank you so much for this post. I wrote a post encouraging people to be kind to each other today as well. There is so much uncertainty and fear right now.

  • Julie November 9, 2016, 1:46 pm

    I too am completely shocked & disappointed this morning, but a friend’s post on FB really resonated w/ me. Basically, he pointed out that regardless of who is in the White House, WE get to choose how we treat each other every day. WE still get to take care of each other & treat each other w/ love & kindness. Ultimately it is US who will make America great.

  • Mary November 9, 2016, 3:11 pm

    Thank you for posting, Jen 🙂

  • chrissie November 9, 2016, 3:46 pm

    love. thanks for posting.

  • Patty November 9, 2016, 4:31 pm

    Thank you for this reminder for peace, kindness, compassion for others. I appreciate your taking this space to do so. Sending positive thoughts.

  • Erica Marchelle November 9, 2016, 4:45 pm

    This is perfect. I love the statement from Tanner. He makes such a great point (and what a wordsmith he is)! I agree that we can’t control what’s going on in Washington but we can control what goes on in our own hearts and minds. If everyone shared the same sentiment we’d be in a much better place. People are allowed their opinions and even if we don’t agree with them we can still be kind. I truly believe that it’s lost upon people at how far a little kindness can go.

  • Julia November 9, 2016, 6:09 pm

    Wonderfully and beautifully written post. I appreciate Tanner’s quote.

    – Julia

  • alan November 9, 2016, 11:15 pm

    Interesting series of comments. I am very disheartened by the outcome if only because it shows that people are willing to overlook serious issues of respect in order to vote out the candidate they hate (way more than I believe the majority voted for the candidate they liked…I seriously believe that there is a whole lot of HRC hate out there which influenced this campaign).

    Your blog post today is very thoughtful and I hope that we as a nation can somehow find respect for each other despite differences of opinion politically, orientation, or personal choices. As I have seen things play out, I fear the worst and hope we are not about to engage in a roll back of 60 years of progress. Ok, enough politics from me.

  • Clara November 10, 2016, 7:38 am

    So well said girl. I love you.

  • Carly November 10, 2016, 11:43 am

    I was right there with you! Checking my phone all night.

    Sending love, respect and hope.

  • Estelle November 10, 2016, 10:09 pm

    I’ve read your blog for about a year now and never felt the need to comment until now. I can’t imagine how difficult it might have been for you to decide to post this in a space that is, amongst many things, your neutral space of business. But I have to say, I admire you so much for being this brave and courageous. I think, now more than ever, we need voices of unity and reconciliation, but also fearless, audacious people who are passionate about the direction this country needs to head in for all of our collective betterment. I applaud you and am proud to support you.

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