When was the last time you thought or said out loud, “This is hopeless”? Was it on a morning when your car wouldn’t start? Did you say it to summarize a conversation about world peace or climate change or resolutions to problems related to health care, jobs, or education?
Do you truly believe there’s no hope?
If you truly feel there is no hope, how can you get out of bed in the morning? Even the most cynical of us holds out for a positive patch somewhere.
Personally, hope is what keeps me trying — trying to write better, improve my friendships, lose weight (oh puh-leezz!), save money, and do for others. Hope motivates others to keep checking in with that dating site, no matter how old they are.
I have high hopes for our planet, for the leaders who are ideally guiding us and showing us their strength by doing the right thing. To be honest, sometimes I let go of my outer-directed hope and focus on that which I have control over: my feelings, my thoughts, and my actions.
How do we hold on to hope when, years in, things still aren’t quite right?
When this happens to me, I go deep to see what my hopes are about. Are they realistic and important? Are they under my control? Am I having fun trying or is the angst and stress too much? What is it costing me to keep on hoping and trying?
Without hope, we can easily get discouraged and drop the ball even before we put the full weight of our efforts into any goal or issue. Maintaining balance between hope and failure or success can be tricky. Without hope, we’re guaranteed to come up empty handed. Only you can decide when to give up. I sometimes give up momentarily and then circle back in a day or a week to try again. That’s the balance of my hope.
Hope keeps us trying. Hope keeps us going through the rejections or failures. Reality reminds us that, as my mother annoyingly said, this too shall pass. Over the years I’ve softened up about not having my hopes realized. It’s not that I give up; it’s about facing the reality that failure – multiple failures – can be a significant part of continuing to try. And it’s hope that keeps me propelled forward: “I can do this,” “Keep going,” “Don’t get discouraged.”
What gives me hope?
I’ve felt hopeless more in the last ten months than in the last ten years combined!
I have been swamped with discouragement of things ever looking better for future generations. Looking outward at what does give me hope – more positively at the future of our world – is the beginning of turning my attitude around.
School gives Anne Lamott hope. In her article “Show Up with Hope,” Anne also shines her light on plans to aid an earth rife with conflict, climate change, and pollution, among other ills. She provides a list of deserving charities and causes to contribute to either with funds or time and energy. She reminds me that hope can be found in the simplest, most organic things in life, like perennials, babies, and New Year’s Day, or returning favorite TV shows like Masterpiece Theater, where the value of outstanding story telling comforts me like a cashmere blanket. The delight of unread books provide me with hope and an increased sense of excitement.
Another thing that gives me hope is starting my day with a delicious cup of coffee. Even if the rest of my day goes sideways, I’ll have had that great beverage that I thoroughly enjoy … and it’ll be there again for me tomorrow.
Hope is a small word that packs a powerful punch! As a rock plunked in a pond, hope ripples out from us spreading to others. What will it take for you to believe?
Instead of white-knuckling through days of angst and upset, let hope carry you above the fray.
Hi A! VERY nice column; so well written. Living as I do on the border with Tijuana, hope is springing eternal. How can I, who have so much, not believe in hope, when thousands on the other side of the border, with nothing, are arriving daily looking for a better life. All they have is hope. That hope drives their determination. I HOPE new faces in the government can bring some resolution to the border problem. I HOPE some of the migrants with so much hope and determination can see their dreams fulfilled.
As for me, when I see my grandson drive a double play, or another break his personal record on a long-distance run, I have hope!
Your reply is pure poetry, Christine. Thank you for sharing some of your hopes. Love to you, dear friend.
Wow- thank you for such a thought provoking and honest piece. I just saw Bryan Stevenson speak and while the context was different- HOPE was a big theme, a key ingredient for changing the world and shifting perspective for those who are struggling the most.
Bryan Stevenson epitomizes hope. His messages infused with hope propel us forward. I feel fortunate to live in his time. Thank you for being a part of the dialogue, Jen, and for reading.