There are many misconceptions about hope that are in serious need of clarification — if not illumination. So let’s get to it.
1.) As the title of this post states: hope is not for the faint of heart. Remaining hopeful takes tenacity. Hell… it takes guts. Remaining hopeful after all that life has thrown at us is a valiant choice. Own it.
2.) There is an overwrought (and misguided) idea in our culture that the quality of hope belongs to the young, the naive, or worse, the delusional. This negative hope P.R. usually comes from pessimists or self-proclaimed realists who feel they have a better grasp of “reality” than someone who is optimistic or hopeful.
This is an impossibility because reality is relative to the individual. Our realties are unique to us. We all filter our personal realities through the lenses of our life experience. We can change our lenses anytime in order to see the world in a more positive and hopeful light. It may take some work. In fact, we might need to dig deeply to make this shift, but the work is so worth it, because…
3.) Life is so much better with hope than without it. This is a simple truth. I’ve sampled life from both buffets and “The All You Can Eat Hope” is so much better. No Contest. It’s downright delicious compared to the “The Empty, Void, Eat What You Want, But Why Are We Really Bothering?” which is at best bland — at worst bleak.
4.) Being hopeful, or having hope, doesn’t mean you’re weak — it means you’re courageous. Every enlightened leader the world has ever known has been hopeful and espoused some form of hope.
5.) Facing difficult challenges is part of life. Remaining hopeful in the wake of them is one of the gifts these challenges give us (wisdom is the other). We can’t give up on hope or worse — backlash against it — as if hope owes us something. It doesn’t. It’s not a stock we buy and then when the market takes a turn, we sell it to show how smart we are: “Look, I saw this coming… that’s why I got out.” Hope is a long-term investment.
6.) Hope is not a gimmick. It’s a force. Not unlike the most famous force of all: Star Wars’. In the original movie, Princess Leia implores, “Obi-Wan Kenobi, you’re my only hope.” The Force is the whole Jedi Master power source, but they need hope in their Light Saber holsters to access it.
7.) Hope goes hand-in-hand with peace. If we want peace in our lives, or in our world, we must remain steadfastly hopeful.
8.) Hope is creative. In order to bring something new into the world — whether it’s a scientific discovery or a work of art — hope fuels the creative process. It propels us to keep moving forward each day … sometimes for years… in order to realize our visions. No great leap of humanity was ever made without hope. Fire? Hope. Vaccines? Hope. A man on the moon? Hope.
9.) Hope is the flip side of fear. This an archetypal dichotomy. When studying the Tarot, you learn that there is a card that represents our “Hope and Fears,” because they are entwined. If we’re not feeling hopeful, it’s because on some level we’re feeling fearful. Yes, it might very be artfully suppressing these fears, but we’re suppressing them nonetheless. Hope expunges fear.
Upset? Take hope out for a spin and think about something that excites you — even if it’s a fantasy of a new job or a new home. This exercise will drop-kick fear out of sight. Repeat until hope becomes second nature, but don’t expect this to happen overnight. This is where the tenacity comes into play. Stick with hope. It will eventually take you where you want to go.
10) Don’t be afraid to hope. Hope allows us to take risks in order to have what we want in life. This is why hope is not for the faint of heart. Be brave. Claim it. Hope is waiting for us.