What is hope? Webster defines hope as “wanting or wishing for something with confident expectation.” I have a slightly different definition. To me, hope is about living with the anticipation of what can be.
When life is going smoothly and we’re getting our needs met, it’s easy to feel hopeful and be optimistic. Hope, love, faith, optimism are all “easy” when life is “easy.” The key is to find and sustain hope when life is presenting us with challenges, difficulties and obstacles.
Where within yourself do you find and access hope when life is dishing out lemons? Well, here’s something you should know: somewhere within each of us lies the belief that whatever it is you wish for or want can become a reality. No matter how much of a “realist” – or even a cynic – you are, it’s there, trust me!
If you have trouble finding that place inside you, that’s a signal that it’s time to ask for help from someone who can teach you how. In fact, the more convinced you are that you don’t have it, the more urgent it is that you learn to access it, since that resource inside you determines in large part the quality of your life. In a world where so much seems beyond our control, everyone needs to be able to access that inner dedicated source of hopefulness that no one can take away from you. Finding and calling upon that gold mine of personal happiness and success, that belongs to you alone, is absolutely a skill that can be learned.
To have hope is to have TRUST:
▪ Trust in yourself that you are able to do what is necessary to “manifest” your hope
▪ Trust that the world will function according to your expectations and needs, and
▪ Trust that what you hope for and want can, and will most likely in fact, come to be
So, what happens when life circumstances seem to conspire against our hope?
How do we cope with life when times are difficult? What keeps us going when we don’t feel hopeful at all? These are the questions people ask me when they’ve lost their sense of optimism and want to get it back. One of my specialties is helping them do just that, so let me give you an insight into why hope can be hard to find at times.
Here’s the reason maintaining hope can be such a challenge for most people:
Difficult times accentuate how much of life is out of our control. Realizing we are powerless to control certain aspects of a situation can trigger powerful negative feelings within us, including fear and even anger. Human beings like to be in control, and we like the feelings that come with the belief that we are. The stark reality is, very little of life is really within our control. As my clients have learned, the key is, it’s not about controlling life, but controlling how we respond to life.
When we are confronted with real-life issues that are overwhelming, scary and even life-changing, it’s easy to quickly lose sight of hope and optimism. It requires no effort for just a few thoughts to send you into a downward spiral into fear, uncertainty and sometimes even despair. What do you do when you find yourself in this kind of situation? STOP! BREATHE! FOCUS! Slow yourself down. Allow yourself time to process what is happening, and to consider what response will be for your greater good.
In the next article I’ll go into a little more detail about the typical timing and sequence of our thoughts during a crisis. Knowing that can help you stay present and more in charge the next time you’re facing difficulties.
In the meantime, if you are currently struggling with a circumstance in your own life that is draining your energy and ability to feel hopeful – or if you recently went through one and can’t seem to bounce back – I encourage you to email or call me for a complimentary 30-minute consultation. My contact information is below. Don’t hesitate or worry that your issue “isn’t that big a deal.” If it’s on your mind, it’s sapping your positive energy and taking you off your game! Don’t let that happen to you. Take me up on my offer – consider it my holiday gift to you – you’d be surprised what a difference half an hour can make in your life!