As I look around my friends and acquaintances in this party and others, I see a number of politicos are driven.

Driven to change and make things better and/or driven to look good and receive validation from others. As is often said (mostly by my mother!), a psychologist would have a field day with both of those motivations. But it kind of works, for the objectives of the party anyway – working hard for communities, campaigning and winning elections.

Putting aside the physical cost of an election, which again a few people brought up when I mentioned it, I’d like to consider the emotional or psychological cost of:

  

Losing (or even winning) elections Overt rejection and dismissal on the doorstep Fractious relations between party members

The initial clash I see is that the drivers for getting elected seem to be either to make things better or receive validation in terms of votes. This appears to be a huge contradiction against the quite huge possibility of rejection and people shouting at you on doorsteps, in the street or occasionally in your social life (this does depend on your friends really, but I’ve known it happen).

But I’ve never been to a training course about how you may like to preserve your mental health, or really received any advice other than “move on to the next doorstep”. I was thinking about this earlier this week. It’s quite a puzzle. I also hear things such as politics apparently :

“….. attracts weirdos” “… full of little Hitlers” “….can bend you out of shape” “…can take over your life”

I’ve started to wonder if this is really the case, or more likely, it’s a combination of politics attracting egotists and “fixers” but also the process bending more than one out of shape. We voluntarily stand on doorsteps and do get shouted at. We do it for a number of different reasons, but I think it might be worthwhile working out what we do with any negativity or negative energy we receive.

With this in mind, I asked my twitter followers involved in politics (to my account @Bubbalou) how they dealt with negativity. I didn’t make it clear whether I was talking about voters or fellow activists, which wasn’t intentional but also brought some interesting observations.

We can. What’s fascinating about my replies what just how much differentiation . shrug it off. and I think especially the British can. The other thing that’s brought on this analysis is I recently volunteered for the Samaritans and even at their first session they stressed the value of emotional health and both feeling and dealing with negative emotions. the negativity we receive (and the positivity!) or support each other within this. but that aside. When we feel something.internalising. as a party. And from my own perspective – I used to internalise but now will rant to some of my good friends that I can trust. I suspect some male readers will recoil at the idea crying might be a good release mechanism. Very true.venting. The media can be extremely cruel on election night looking for defeated politicians about to shed a tear. as “it happens”. rise above. it may be the one of the most emotionally healthy responses. Use it as a learning curve. and strangers. online and “real life”. or vent by turning into a blog or journal entry. run away from our emotions and attempt to intellectualise them.shout / rant/ blog. could gain from learning about Emotional Intelligence. It’s not really about suppressing or running away from our feelings as that will tend to come out in other ways which can have a detrimental effect on a person. hold our opinion lightly and engage with the other person to achieve communication. realise it's their issue Crying. OR internalise / calmly argue with voters rise above / get smug / counter mis information (online). I fully appreciate everyone that’s replied to me and I am certainly not going to judge them. It seems there are as many different reactions as there are people and also there is a lot of differentiation between differing groups of people and context – those close to us. activists and voters. find evidence against / come up with witty retort (love it!) (online stuff) vent/rant he advised I should include crying. but in psychological terms it’s miles healthier than suppressing or minimising emotional responses. it depends on the person – negavity from those close to him he would seek to find out why and try and change their mind – strangers he would be more likely to be polite and disengage political things . use it to get better. Real life stuff . but I wonder what we. it’s important to feel it. voters = positivity. It is certainly very important. and learning to feel our emotions.

allowing or providing opportunities for activists to vent and rant and move on from any negativity received. please share… . It may be that some people are already doing this within their groups/local parties. might want to be more emotionally supportive of each other. and how we need to support each other.there is between people. but I do think it’s worth reflecting on how we. as activists. What I think is relevant to politicians and activists is just how much of a difficult experience working in politics is. if so. I don’t think we should all start crying on doorsteps.

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