Hope is our emotional engine, the basis for engaging with life. It is our perception of possibilities. It is not the same as happiness or optimism. It is what we feel when we think that life is worth living. Happiness and optimism cannot exist without hope, but hope can exist without happiness or optimism. This is because we can fake optimism and pretend to be happy, but we know deep, down inside whether or not we have hope.
Believe it or not, doctors and therapists have actually said to me, my husband and children: Why do you stay together? The answer to that is because we all have hope—hope that things will improve, and life, health, and relationships will improve. And because life is ever-changing, and we have continually had hope, our lives have improved. The key is never to give up that hope and to remember if one door closes you can always hope another will open. You don’t have to keep the same hopes. Shift your hope to something new.
When I first got diagnosed with an auto-immune illness, I hoped to find a cure. That was thirty years ago. Through the years, my hopes have changed, but I have never given up hope. My current hope is to live a quality life and give others hope.
When I think of hope, I am reminded of a M*A*S*H episode with Coronel Potter. A wounded soldier, Saunders, wants to kill himself and Potter pleads and prevents Saunders multiple times from taking the easy way out. Finally, Potter gives him a dose of reverse psychology by holding the gas mask over his face. Saunders fights back. His desire to live is greater than his desire to die. That’s hope.
However, when we lose hope it can be hard to find motivation again. Therefore, we should continually keep it in mind each day by:
- Conducting a hope audit by thinking of all the positive things in your life.
- Reducing stress with meditation, breathing exercises, physical exercise, or relaxation techniques.
- Creating hopeful relationships with people who have a positive, hopeful attitude.
- Helping others see the best in themselves.
The most important impact we have on each other is through how we affect each other’s hopes. When hope exists we give more of ourselves to what we do and so does everyone else around us. Hope is not phony and is grounded in reality with real problems such as quality of life, the development of human potential, and the wellbeing of our environment and all human living systems. Living a hopeful life is to recognize that everything and everyone matters.
Hope is energy – your positive energy, your talents, value and your soul. It is the lifeblood of the human race and needs to be treasured. Start the new year with hope and everything else will fall into place!
Cindy A. Christiansen
Sweet Romance, Humor, Suspense...and Dogs!
Fly into a good book at: http://www.dragonflyromance.com
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Excerpts about hope taken from an article at: http://www.lifehack.org/articles/lifestyle/how-to-create-a-more-hopeful-life.html