“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
A study earlier this year found what most of us already suspected – we are an unhappy people. “Our happiness, or what researchers refer to as ‘subjective well-being,’ is down” across the nation, according to a detailed study by the Gallup Organization and the healthcare information service Sharecare. From 2016 to 2017, America saw its largest year-over-year drop in well-being in the 10 years that Gallup has tracked these data. Furthermore, 21 states registered absolute declines in their levels of well-being, and not a single state showed a statistically significant improvement in 2017.”
Now there are a multiplicity of reasons that can be attributed to this sad state of mind but you have to wonder if something didn’t impact many of us following the 2016 election. Though there are those who are happy with the Presidential outcome it’s probably safe to say that many of those are more unhappy with the choice the felt they HAD to make rather than actually being elated about it.
Our political elections can have both deleterious and uplifting affects on our psyche, depending of course on who you voted for. But despite this, the anger quotient is likely to remain unchanged following the choices made in 2016. Not only for those who feel a sense of remorse that a con man has debased the office of the presidency with his puerile utterances and his affinity for authoritarianism, but also for those who must now defend him against that reality.
It’s easy to point out the foibles of a man who in his earlier life had some dubious success as a real estate magnate in NY City but who overtime let this success lead him to believe he was invincible and beyond reproach and in so doing let his ego over rule common sense and traded civility for derision of those who challenged his imagined perfection.
Trump has likely developed what psychologist refer to as a dark triad – “in personality, representing a perfect-storm combination of narcissism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism. People high in the dark triad traits callously use people to their own advantage, seeing them as tools to exploit in order to get what they want.” And here’s where the anger – and by default, unhappiness – comes into play for some of Trump’s supporters. Unless they are experiencing elements of the dark triad themselves they are forced to ignore it in their president simply because they voted for the guy and got caught up in his appeal that massaged their own fears and prejudices about Hillary, immigrants, socialism and white privilege before realizing who Trump really is deep down.
To many he is the fellow traveler they never found in the other GOP candidates back when the GOP had a soul.
Of course there will be those that reject this premise about the Gallup/Shareware study I’ve laid out here. And they may well be right. Yet the fact that the study shows our happiness quotient diminishing in light of Trump’s unfounded claim of America’s prosperity under his reign could well suggest that many are simply deceiving themselves to shield their inner disappointment as they become aware that they elected a carnival wheeler dealer rather than the savior he told him he would be.