My letter to you this week is about HOPE, that illusive, shapeless quality we need but can’t see. It’s so abstract, we use analogies to talk about it:
Hope floats in mid air.
It’s the pilot-light of your spirit.
Hope is the cork that refuses to sink.
Our recent discussions have been about the triad supporting your confidence (Self-Worth, Family/Like Family and a Spiritual Anchor). These three elements are the foundation we stand upon, and yet other factors are at play when we look at the total picture of TRU Confidence. Let’s talk about HOPE’s role in your life.
To catch the essence of hope, think about the wedding “feeling” of hope. Okay, exceptions exist, but normally, the romantic in us tosses reality to the wind. When vows are exchanged, we feel hope. Why does hope attend weddings? I’m not sure if it’s the flowers, the music, or the dress, but hope stirs in our hearts. In spite of the odds, right in that moment, we join the couple in imagining the wonderful life they’ll enjoy.
We are also filled with hope when a young person demonstrates kindness, expresses care, or performs brilliantly. Hope for the future of our world is revived, and in turn, mentors appear to lend a hand, share advice, and give this dynamic person encouragement. Hope says, “Keep going, the world needs you.”
At an Easter celebration a couple of weeks ago, I noticed Pepper, the family dog, hanging around the food table. Her tail wagged and her big brown eyes looked longingly at me. I smiled, wondering if this was another example of hope. But in reality, with each tail wag, Pepper was expressing faith.
Faith is confidence or trust in a thing now, and Hope is an optimistic attitude of an expectation for the future. Since dogs only want food now, Pepper had faith that someone would be careless enough or compassionate enough (had I been targeted?) to give her food. Again, Faith is for now, and Hope believes in the future.
Hope needs to be somewhat realistic. In the movie Dumb and Dumber, Jim Carey’s character is told by a beautiful woman that the chances of them getting together are “….more like one in a million.” Instead of being discouraged, he says, “So you’re telling me, there’s a chance.”
We need to stay away from the one in a million odds, yet hope is a vital component in our every day lives. In a subtle, quiet way, hope is the pilot-light that burns within us to keep us going. It assures us that there is a path to our purpose, that we make a difference, and we have value.
Everyone experiences challenges, disappointments, problems, worries and pain—something I’m more aware of as an adult than when I was young. We need to keep hope alive—it’s the wind beneath our wings and the force that lifts us to our highest potential.
Just yesterday, I could feel my hope in a project (and myself, if I’m honest) sink. I won’t go into the details, but it was a case of overwhelm. While questioning goals and motivations is healthy, it’s important to maintain optimism. Here are seven ways I’ve found helpful to enhance hope’s influence during times of doubt:
- Spend time alone meditating.
- Count your blessings. Make a gratitude list.
- Write and speak affirmations (My Trust Journal is a great resource).
- Spend more time with optimistic people.
- Divide a big task into sections.
- Take a small action toward your goal. Baby steps.
- Discuss your feelings with a coach or knowledgable friend.
Knowing that there is a path that leads to our purpose keeps us moving forward. It’s our guiding star. Hope tells us that we may not get there today, but eventually the goal will be reached.
To confirm this thought, today’s advice from the Dalai Lama’s daily calendar tells us: “I believe that the basic goal or end of life is happiness, satisfaction. I believe our existence is very much based on hope.” Thank you, your Holiness!
So whether you view hope as something that floats in mid air, is the pilot-light of your spirit or the cork that refuses to sink; cherish and protect your sense of hope.
May you experience the joy of hope this week,