A large part of my job over the years has been to instill hope in the lives of people who are struggling.
Nothing is more annoying or dismissive than simplistic platitudes like “think positive”, “look on the bright side”, “God made the back for the burden”, “the sun will come out tomorrow” to people who are:
- Grief stricken
- Full of regrets
There's an old Tongolese saying....
Wishing and Hoping are Not the Same Thing
- Hope requires muscle. To weather the challenging times in life we need perseverance, tenacity and resilience. It has always been so. Sometimes we are not sure we can make it.
- It requires patience and a willingness to endure the bleak and confusing times.
- Hope is active. It asks us to make life-enhancing choices even when we are exhausted, depleted, discouraged, disappointed, despairing or angry.
- It asks us to have faith that things change, like the seasons. After a seemingly endless and brutal winter, spring comes. New life returns.
- Hope asks us to choose life. It asks us to accept life on life's terms (the difficult and the glorious) while choosing responses that magnify our core values, even on days we don't feel like it.
- Being hopeful is not the same thing as being a delusional PollyAnna.
- Hope transcends whether we get an external "desired outcome" or not. It is an inner orientation that lives in an internal, invisible plane...one based on values and ultimate meaning. Sometimes you need to endure with an inner hope that is independent of outer circumstances.
Wishing is passive and creates nothing. Hope chooses an action or an inner stance rooted in our highest values and vision. Opinions create nothing. Spouting ideology creates nothing. Actions, in line with your true values, creates integrity.
“If wishes were horses, beggars would ride.”
Hope asks us to honestly evaluate our life circumstances and ask ourselves "What's my best response to this? Who do I want to be in the face of this? What values do I intend to amplify as I live out this scenario? All we can do is simply the next thing in line with those answers. One step at a time, one day at a time. For some, a hopeful vision includes the prayerful possibility of aid from the "invisible realm".
Hope is justified. Hope shared is hope magnified.
I hope you will seek companionship in your efforts to choose hope. It has been my tremendous privilege to share this journey with my clients. To witness these transformations is both humbling and uplifting. Hang in there. Things can get better, especially if you “hope with muscle” and make choices toward your true values in life.
Hope quotes abound. I made this post's image to celebrate one of my favorite old Tongolese sayings. It is part of my Old Sayings, Modern Wisdom series. It also reminds me of one of my favorite poets, Emily Dickinson.
"Hope" is the thing with feathers - (314)
BY EMILY DICKINSON
“Hope” is the thing with feathers -
That perches in the soul -
And sings the tune without the words -
And never stops - at all -
And sweetest - in the Gale - is heard -
And sore must be the storm -
That could abash the little Bird
That kept so many warm -
I’ve heard it in the chillest land -
And on the strangest Sea -
Yet - never - in Extremity,
It asked a crumb - of me.
What is your experience / struggle with Hope?
Have you ever endured a time you thought would never end, yet now find yourself in a very different place?