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Have you ever been in a situation where hope kept you afloat? I know I have. Where true hope, not only lifted me up, but lifted others too.
It was years and years ago when my husband was diagnosed with cancer. They never actually said in so many words how serious it was, but I knew. Nevertheless, I was so full of hope that the hospital staff asked me to sit in on their cancer group.
They thought my positive attitude might be of help to others. So hope and I joined them.
And one day, whilst visiting my husband, a woman sought me out. Her husband had the same type of cancer as mine and she told me that hearing my perspective on hope had such an influence on him that this was the day he was being discharged.
She never thought she’d see this day arrive, since he had been sinking lower and lower into depression, and fading away before her very eyes.
I have no idea to this day what words I actually spoke, but I knew that I had immersed myself in hope, because the alternative was too awful to contemplate. And I was happy that somehow I had radiated that hope into another human being who took it up and ran with it towards his healthier future.
What is hope
A dictionary definition would be ‘a feeling of expectation and a desire for certain things to happen’.
For me it’s a feeling of positivity where I see the potential for a good future.
I see it as part of being human. Where we find the motivation to keep on keeping on. To keep on smiling, loving and living, despite the fear or pain of loss and sense of despair that we all probably endure on our life journey.
Even when our present comes littered with negative experiences that doesn’t mean the future will continue to be as difficult or scary.
It’s the feelings of hope that helped me resume living after more than one devastating loss in life. And it can help you to create a mind-set that helps you face your current challenges and allows you to emotionally and physically move on.
Why is it important
Having hope doesn’t mean everything that hurts or is scary instantly disappears. It means being open to feeling your fear or any other painful emotion. It means admitting that you have no idea what the next step will be like, but you are going to stop assuming the worst. Because living with a life without hope is a surefire path to getting physically ill, while the pain festers within.
Feeling hopeful guards against falling into the trap that present problems equal problems in your future.
It keeps us going even on those days when it seems as though we’ll never bounce back.
I found hope to be my life jacket, keeping me afloat when it felt as though I would drown in fear. Even in those moments when my best coping mechanism seemed to be the desire to run away.
Hope matters because it’s more than surviving the current storm, it’s doing something to get out of it. It’s an energy motivating us to move towards the better times that hopefully lie ahead.
It matters because without it we can’t spread our wings, and without spreading our wings we can’t fly.
How hopeful feelings impact the quality of your life
In seeking to be more hopeful in life, it’s important to pay attention to how you view the world, your experiences in it and your feelings about it.
The very quality of your life depends upon the quality of the thoughts and feelings you revisit in your days, weeks and years. My experience in the hospital where my husband was ill depended on those very things.
How many times in life have you searched in your mind for solutions to challenges, upsets or obstacles, going over and over the same information time and again, in a fruitless attempt to find something that you must have missed?
Most likely you never found new answers to those old problems because by using the same old, worn-out thoughts you were limiting your ability to discover fresh possibilities. Re-hashing the same old thoughts and feelings can only bring the same old results. Especially thoughts and feelings that feel…well hopeless.
Why limit yourself in this way when within is a treasure trove full of hope and life and spirit.
So allow the life giving energy of hope to uplift your spirits and shine a light to guide you through life’s ups and downs.
When times of hopelessness feel overwhelming
I wrote about experiencing loss in my book Using the Power of Consciousness and of one of the powerful lessons I learned.
That was the final lesson from my loss. No one was coming to save me. No one could save me. I had to save myself. There was no helper, but neither was there an opponent to stop me, except for myself and my ongoing relationship with misery and hopelessness.
More often than not, we humans have a desire and a tendency to control. Yes, it would be great if we could control everything in life, but that’s not how life is. And that’s when in times of darkness it’s the hope of a better future that keeps us going.
If we are to experience a better more beautiful tomorrow we need to have a positive, hopeful attitude. Hope helps build our future and without it many of us would never have been able to carry on.
Desmond Tutu said this about hope:
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.
Hope is incredibly powerful. It allowed me to rise up from the darkest of dark feelings. And it can do the same for you.
With hope, however tiny the glimmer of hope might be, you can help yourself from sinking deeper into emotions that you won’t want to live with for ever.
For those times when hope is hard to find, here’s 25 Quotes on Hope and why It’s Important to remind you what hopefulness can be for you.
My hope is that they will help get you through those dark and difficult days.
25 Quotes on Hope And Why It’s Important
Here’s a Tedtalk on dreams that have died and how hope lives on. I think you’ll love it – it got a standing ovation.
Encourage one another.
These are wonderful quotes, Elle. The Ted Talk is great as well. People need a sense of hope right now, more than ever, but these quotes are timeless. I will definitely be back to read these again.
So true Cathy, we all need a sense of hope more than ever.
“It’s a feeling of positivity where I see the potential for a good future.” What a great way to describe what hope is!
I enjoyed the story about how you have radiated hope and made a difference! Inspiring!
Hi Evelyn, glad you enjoyed the article. Isn’t it a wonderful thing that we can all radiate hope out to others and even to our world.
I like the J.K. Rowling quote about rock bottom is a solid foundation upon which to build. That sure was my experience.
Thank you for sharing your experience of sharing your hope with the other woman who’s husband also had cancer. Emotions – both positive and negative – are contagious. so, if we are going to spread something, why not spread hope? 🙂
Wow Debbie – how awesome that you built your life again from rock bottom. That takes a lot of courage dear one. I totally agree that since we’re always radiating something, why not let it be hope. Heaven knows we certainly need it these days.
Love this collection of quotes Elle! Saving for future reference. xoxo
What an amazing piece, Elle. I love your definition of hope. You have made me a believer. The quotes are wonderful, of course. But your personal explanation of hope is dynamite.