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Dealing with disappointment after the elections

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The elections are finally going to happen. The debates, town hall meetings and campaign buses are winding down their rhetoric as Election Day draws near. One thing is for sure. Someone is going to be disappointed. No matter whose candidate wins, there will be many who feel the defeat, and worry about the direction we are going as a country. Dealing with disappointment is never easy. Parents have difficulty helping their kids deal with it so much, that many times they are ineffective at teaching their children healthy ways to manage disappointment.

Disappointment is a normal part of life. It can be seen across the board in all of our lives. Disappointment with the way our children turned out, with an interview we didn't do well, or with a decision someone we love makes. Sometimes it's easier to let go and go on, but with presidential disappointment it affects us for the next four years. It's okay to have a bumper sticker on our car that says, "I didn't vote for him." However, with so many important issues on the ballot this year it can be a bit frightening as well as disappointing.

So how do we let go and go on even if our candidate is not selected to be the next president? I have a few ideas that may help you avoid depression and intense sadness. However, not feeling any disappointment is impossible. It's impossible, because the fact that you care is what fuels disappointment. It's important that we all care. After all, it is our country and we are the people who make up the country.

1. Be open and honest about your feelings of being disappointed. Talking about it can help, as can writing about it. Rather than venting, get active with preparing your family for possible changes in your own lifestyle with the new leadership. Since the economy is challenging right now, making sure your family has a savings account and talking to your kids about the importance of saving is vital. If Obama wins, you already have an idea of what to expect. If Romney wins, you can expect some of what he based his campaign on to happen, but not all. Congress has a huge effect on what happens with the follow through of what the president attempts.

2. Remember, when you first hear the results of the election, your disappointment can affect your mood and thoughts. You are mentoring for your children with your ability to manage your disappointment. Telling your kids one thing, but moping or venting unfairness when you are disappointed shows them another. It is a good time to read spiritual quotes or grab a history book. Some of the presidents who turned out to be the most effective did not start out that way.

3. What can you do that will be a way for you to take action and make the situation better? If you are concerned about health care, and health insurance or some other special interest group, what can you do now to ensure concerns will be addressed? For example, some people live an unhealthy lifestyle expecting the government to pay for their medications when they become ill. If you take care of your body by living a healthy lifestyle, you will have less of a chance of becoming sick and also will be less likely to become depressed. Exercise is another great way to manage disappointment.

4. Understand we all have ideas that we think are most important. Part of your disappointment is not getting what you wanted. However, choosing president demands you think of the needs of the whole country, not just yours and your family. Perhaps the president chosen is strong in an area the country needs that you don't value as much. Understanding this can resolve parts of your disappointment.

No matter who becomes our forty-fifth president, we are all Americans and are in this country together. Working together and tolerating others' cultures, customs and families is part of America. Protecting our rights, freedom, and equality are also foundations this country was built on. Mentoring for your children by honoring your right to vote and taking it seriously is an important part of being a good citizen. We need to be reminded that we are the mentors for the next generation (the kids today are being mentored from their parents at home and society at large), and part of this mentoring is teaching them how to deal with disappointment, and how to use their talents to improve society instead of deteriorating it further.

– Mary Jo Rapini

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