How Hope Works For You…And Against You

“Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all the darkness.”

Desmond Tutu

There was a time when hope was all I had. Everything around me was in tatters and in its destruction, all that I had believed and loved for years was called into question. I clung to hope like a drowning man clutches a life raft. I had to believe that the darkness and despair were not absolute and that there was a way out of the ruination that surrounded me.

That hope became a beacon, a guiding light. It allowed me to wake with purpose and whispered me to sleep with comforting thoughts. Hope became a reason to keep going, a motivator and an influencer. Hope shone its light on the underside of the pain, helping to illuminate the gifts hidden within.

 

“We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.”

Martin Luther King, Jr.

Hope says that the now is not always. Hope tells us that tomorrow can always be better and that we can overcome the obstacles in our path. Hope gives us a reason to try harder and a provides a purpose to the pain. Hope tells us it’s not over and assures us that we can rise above our challenges.

Hope takes the long view, projects the big picture. Hope takes us out of ourselves and into the greater connected world. Without hope, individuals would not survive unsurvivable odds. Without hope, humanity would not tackle insurmountable odds. And without hope, there would be no reason to try again.

Continued hope in the face of the seemingly impossible is perhaps one of mankind’s greatest traits. For without hope, no great achievement can ever be reached.

 

“Hope is a good breakfast but a bad supper.”

Sir Francis Bacon

Perhaps the best repercussion of the way my first marriage ended is that any sort of reconciliation was completely and utterly hopeless. I had no choice but to accept that the marriage was over and that my husband was (and would remain) a virtual stranger.

Most do not have this luxury. I speak with so many people who are grasping onto hope that their partner will change. They see the potential in the person and they stay and continue to exert effort in the hope that the potential will be reached. And even when reality is saying otherwise, they are listening to their hope.

In this case, hope becomes more of a shackle than a beacon when it is applied to controlling the uncontrollable. It can be the reason people stay in abusive relationships, order invasive and fruitless medical interventions or even just believe that somehow their financial problems will resolve. 

 

“Hope is a beautiful thing. It gives us peace and strength, and keeps us going when all seems lost. Accepting what you cannot change doesn’t mean you have given up on hope. It just means you have to focus your hope on more humanly tangible and attainable goals.”

Julie Donner Andersen

Hope on its own is based on the fiction of dreams. It works best when it is anchored in the acceptance of reality. Yet, irrational hope is at the root of so many miracles, from the irreversible brain damage that heals to the shipwreck survivor that endures weeks afloat at sea. If those people limited themselves to the facts, they would not have made it trough. 

Sometimes the impossible happens because somebody dared to believe that it could. 

Yet one thing is certain , no matter where your hope is focused and how reality-based it is, it only works if you do. Hope without action is just a wish. 

 

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