Living Hope

Hope is something we feel we need when we don’t have it. Most of the time, we would not even think about it. But the fact that we feel a desperate need for it when fortune seems to have turned against us, shows that it has a powerful role to play psychologically. And, it is true that hope can increase our psychological and physical resilience and ability to counter a threat and manage a difficult situation.

Hope is different from expectation. When you hope for something, you are saying that you want something to happen, and you see a chance that it will, but you are less certain than if you were expecting it. So, hope let’s us deal with uncertainty in a very positive way. It does not put us under undue pressure in trying to make the impossible work. However, at the same time it can supply us with the motivation, energy and resilience we need to overcome a challenge.

Hope is something very personal that brings together thoughts and emotions to help us in the face of uncertainyu. Anyone who rationally things about the same challenge in a similar way as you do can arrive at the same expectation, but they may still have no hope or a lot of hope, and anything in between. So, hope depends on how we interprete and see a situation. This in turn depends on past experiences, your needs, values, and aspirations, but importantly also on how you feel you connect with yourself and the world. Feeling strength in myself means communicating and connecting with myself, while having faith in the world depends on communicating and connecting with others. Hope has thus a lot to do with your ability to communicate well with yourself and the world. Fortunately, this is a matter of practice and similar to learning a skill.

Is it good to hope for things that may not happen? Well, one could say the opposite is hopelessness and no hope, which does not sound good either. Important is to separate the feeling of hope from the result. If hope makes one feel better, why not have it? If it helps us to accomplish a positive goal, and possibly take other people with us along the way, why not try it? Hope is a support you can utilize, and it actually helps build hope by seeing it this way. Hope is not something to be afraid of in the sense that you are raising your expectations to be disappointed in the end. Instead, it should be viewed as a tool that can help you move things forward.

People are often afraid of hope because they link it with a result. One may say it is better not to hope to avoid being disappointed if what is being hoped for does not materialize. However, this would be forbidding yourself the opportunity to hope. It would also mean that you have to be successful not to be unhappy, and, conversely, that you will be certain to be unhappy if it you are not successful. Would it not be better if you can be happy irrespective of your success? That is the art of working with hope, not to link it with a result.

Hope can support us in times when things are difficult. It can provide motivation and energy to make something work. It only depends on how we use hope. When it makes us feel positive we can accomplish more. If hope makes us feel worse, we may accomplish less. But how hope makes us feel depends on how we use it, that if the result is different we can still feel good about having had the hope. The feeling of hope should thus be independent of the outcome.

To unlink hope from a specific outcome, it can help to link it with something else. Why not link it with something that remains stable over time, such as your values, needs, and aspirations. They change little over time, so that the hope is always ‘justified’. Most of us hope for peaceful and prosperous world, where people can find true happiness. Why do we not feel disappointed and give up on the hope? Because it aligns with how we see ourselves and the world. It is backed by a strong belief of things we value. So, if your hope can be rooted with a fundamental value or belief, it will depend less on a temporary outcome.

It would be good to practice more hope, which often combines well with gratitude. We have studies that show that beliefs, hope, and gratitude all can help physically and psychologically. The important part is not to forbid yourself to be hopeful because things may turn out differently, but take hope for what it is. It can lift us up mentally and provide us with the drive to make thingswork. This is particularly powerful if the hope is shared with other people. What one small person may not accomplish, many people can.


┬ę 2021 Christian Jonathan Haverkampf. All Rights Reserved. For more articles, see www.askdrjonathan.com. To contact me, please see www.jonathanhaverkampf.com or www.jonathanhaverkampf.ie. I am also a guest on www.wordnets.com. These are just my thoughts. I may be wrong.

Christian Jonathan Haverkampf
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