“Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.”
– Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist
As someone once observed, hope floats.
More to the point, hope allows us to rise above the moment and remain positive and optimistic in the presence of adversity and opposition.
Hope focuses our attention upon a brighter tomorrow and influences how we feel in the moment.
Similar to optimism, hope creates a positive expectation of good things to come.
Hope is a form of future-pacing, meaning it places us mentally in a future time and place where our goals can be realized and happiness is possible.
When we are filled with hope, we have little room for despair — we are lifted out of depression and our outlook improves.
Hope is more than positive thinking.
Most positive states-of-mind arise when we’re feeling safe and satisfied. Hope is the exception to the rule.
Hope comes into play when our circumstances appear dire — when life is not unfolding as we expected or desire — when uncertainty is the only foreseeable outcome.
Hope arises during those moments when overwhelming fear, hopelessness and despair might easily appear.
Hope is just as likely to arise when you’re starting a new job, beginning a relationship or making a major life shift as when we or a loved one is suffering from a serious illness or when faced with unemployment, heartbreak or death.
Hope can help us traverse life’s often difficult terrain.
Research suggests that people who remain hopeful have better problem-solving skills and the ability to mentally explore a variety of possible alternatives.
Hope focuses on positive results rather than negatives outcomes. Some might even say that hope is the sustaining force in setting and pursuing goals.
Sometimes we cling to false hope where the potential for a desired outcome is all but impossible.
The question then is whether false hope is a form of self-delusion — a means by which to avoid facing reality.
Hope that is grounded in reality and supported by self-awareness does enable us to move through difficult situations with less fear.
I have observed that the hopeful person deals with adversity in a manner different from those without it.
Though the present moment may be painful, the belief in a positive outcome reduces stress and anxiety.
When we lose hope, our world becomes smaller and possibilities diminish.
Our self-talk becomes pessimistic, our outlook bleak and self-esteem plummets. If left to dwell in a state of hopelessness, we begin to wither and die.
Even when deep in the throes of depression and fear, hope provides a glimmer of light — the tiny but undeniable possibility of better days to come.
The fascinating thing about hope is that it can change as the situation changes. I remember spending time with a friend who was in palliative care.
For a time my hope was that he would make a full recovery.
As time passed, I began hoping for a partial recovering. When it became evident that recovery was not possible, my hope was for a peaceful, pain-free death for my friend.
When that too seemed unlikely, I hoped for peace for those of us left behind.
The renowned American psychologist Richard Lazarus described the dichotomy of hope as “fearing the worse yet yearning for the better.”
Hope allows us to open our eyes and see the possible within the apparently impossible.
Hope unleashed our creativity and presents us with the possibility of change: no matter how uncertain the moment, things could turn out better.
Hope introduces possibility and it is that belief in a better tomorrow that sustains us.
Are there times when it’s prudent to give up hope?
Yes, when directing our efforts elsewhere is necessary to reach a desired outcome.
Continuing to pursue a particular course of action when there is limited likelihood of success can blind us to other avenues that may lead to success.
And whether in relationships, business or any worthy venture, blind hope can actually stand in the way of achieving our goals and objectives.
While there is some glory in the notion that we must doggedly persist and remain relentlessly hopeful, there is often greater chance of success when we recognize that hope must be relinquished at times in order to reach a place of acceptance and healing.
Acknowledging our hopelessness in one area can actually point us in a new and more viable direction where hope may be rekindled and success achieved.
“The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for,” wrote American novelist, essayist and poet Barbara Kingsolver.
“And the most you can do is live inside that hope.
“Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof.”
I remember reading once that hope is putting faith to work when doubting would be easier.
Sometimes, facing up to difficult truths enables hope to emerge and new possibilities for joy and happiness to appear.
Dreams and wishes are important but can frustrate and discourage us.
Hope is tangible and provides us with solace and serenity leaving little room for despair.
Murray M. Fuhrer – The Self-Esteem Guy