Hope. Am I right? It can get annoying, all of that hopefulness. It’s probably something that people talk to you about frequently if you suffer from depression or chronic pain. I know that hope is a frequent conversation topic in my household. There are some things you may believe about hope that make you tense at the very sound of the word. However, hope is more attainable and useful than you think. Here are some common myths about hope that might keep you from experimenting with this powerful feeling:
1. Hope can be absent from your life.
You wouldn’t be reading this if you didn’t have even just a little hope. Hopeful people look for ways to find hope, even when they think they are broken and all hope is gone. Truly hopeless people give up, and you’re not going to give up. Hope is in the little things in life. It doesn’t have to be a huge feeling that makes you walk around like Mary Poppins. Hope is always inside you, you just have to listen.
2. Hope is only about the future.
Hoping for things to be better may feel like a waiting game and pointless, but what you’re really doing when you’re allowing yourself to hope is accepting the present. You’re looking at how things are and permitting yourself to change how you see the world. Your situation might be bad, but hope let’s you see the pieces that will get you to that brighter future. Try imagining what you want that future to look like, and you can then develop a plan to make that future happen with the tools you have right now.
3. Hope doesn’t accomplish anything.
What good is hope? Does hope change your sadness? Does hope pay your bills? Does hope keep you warm at night? Maybe not. But what hope does do is give you the drive to get things done. Hopelessness causes stagnation and festering. A little dash of hope can kick start your journey towards self-improvement. Hope has helped me continue trying different medical treatments, and sure, I’m a bit defeated when they don’t work… but I hope that the next one will. Hope keeps you moving forward. Hope is literally the fuel of motivation.
4. Hope is a waste of time.
It often feels more natural to doubt and be skeptical about our world, especially if life isn’t being handed to us on a literal or figurative silver platter. But think about a time when you were hopeful. You might have felt confident, positive, even better about yourself. During that time your psychological state was probably improving your physical state as well. It doesn’t take time to change how you view the world, it merely takes a personal choice to do so. I’d rather look back on my life and see all of the things I hope I felt rather than a lift full of doubt and waiting for the next tragedy.
5. Hope has no medical benefit.
This one should be obvious. Patients who want to recover and have hope, recover faster. Patients who are negative and feel hopeless typically suffer longer, or worse. Mind really does have power over matter… the matter of your body. Stress and worry take a toll on the body. Hope is a necessity for anyone trying to care for themselves emotionally or physically. Even if you’re chronically ill, there are things for which you can hope. It might be something as small as a better day or that a friend will visit you. Keeping hope alive in your heart and mind will keep you alive and healthy, or so they say.
6. Hope is hard to feel.
Think about something or someone you care about. Do you want the best for that thing or that person? Think about a time when you’ve wished you felt better. Did you imagine what feeling better actually felt like? Think about the future you want for yourself, the good one, with all of the awesome stuff that might seem unattainable, but anything is possible in your imagination. Could you visualize it? All of those feelings stem from hope. You just felt it. Just now. Just like that. It totally happened.
Hope is within you now, and always. It may not be on the surface, and it won’t always be, but it is there. Here are some great articles about finding your hope:
- How to Recover Hope in Your Life | Essence.com.
- Where Does Your Hope Come From? | Psychology Today.
- How to Find Hope When You are Really Depressed.