We all have times in our lives when we get down in the dumps. Sometimes we feel defeated and at times it is hard to even feel like continuing on. However there is a way to change the pain and hurt into hope. Hope can lift us to a new dimension and help to heal the hurt.
Robert Schuller does a great job of helping with this issue.
One of our greatest gifts is HOPE, for with it, all things are possible. Without it, nothing is possible. The survival of Nelson Mandela and victory of Mahatma Gandhi are dramatic examples of the power of hope. Despite their ordeals, both nurtured hope in their hearts, and in return hope sustained them.
Before continuing, let me define hope. It is the feeling that we will eventually get what we want or need.Or that in the long run everything will turn out for the best, even if the final outcome is not what we want at this time. Hope requires faith and trust in life, oneself, and others, and is the opposite of fear, anxiety, and despair. It also leads to positive expectations.
What do you believe the future holds in store for you? Do you expect it to be bright or gloomy? Regardless of your expectation, you may be right or you may be wrong. Since you cannot predict the future, you can only take a guess. Although we cannot know the future, we can predict the outcome of your guess. For if you believe your future will be gloomy, you will become anxious, unhappy, and less motivated. On the other hand, if you expect a bright future, you will be confident, enthusiastic, and happy.
As we cannot predict the future, we can only guess at the outcome. And that guess is a choice we make. Choosing to be hopeful is practical because it will free us of unnecessary suffering. And even if our guess turns out to be wrong and disaster strikes, we will be much better prepared to deal with it. For those who expect a tragedy grow so weary that by the time it comes they are completely drained of energy and incapable of taking constructive action.
To deliberately choose despair over hope is foolhardy. Moreover, hope not only makes our journey much more pleasant, but may even guarantee our success. Especially when it is combined with action. That is, besides expecting a successful outcome, do everything in your power to make it happen and look for evidence that you are approaching your goal. At the same time, stop doing whatever is counterproductive. When you combine the power of hope with that of action, you will have good reason to H.ave O.nly P.ositive E.xpectations (H.O.P.E.).
Are dark clouds looming over your life? If so, it doesn’t necessarily follow that a storm is approaching. However, even if today were to be your darkest day, the tempest will pass if you wait it out. That’s why you must keep the flame of hope burning in your heart. Storms may rage, but don’t let them extinguish hope.
While in his fifties, Tom had a heart attack. He looked death in the face for the first time and found the experience depressing. He grew lethargic and life came to a halt. It was almost as if he were already dead. But with a little encouragement, he rekindled the flame of hope, hope for a better life, for a return to normal. So, re-energized, he stopped smoking, changed his eating habits, and exercised regularly. Today, Tom is once again enjoying life.
Doesn’t this simple example prove that hope is always a better choice than despair? Charles Sawyer thinks so, for he wrote, “Of all the forces that make for a better world, none is so indispensable, none so powerful, as hope. Without hope men are only half alive. With hope they dream and think and work.” John Johnson also makes a powerful comment: “Men and women are limited not by the place of their birth, not by the color of their skin, but by the size of their hope.” Also, Charles Kingsley adds, “The men whom I have seen succeed best in life always have been cheerful and hopeful men; who went about their business with a smile on their faces; and took the changes and chances of this mortal life like men; facing rough and smooth alike as it came.”
Another Example: John F. Kennedy
In August 1943, torpedo boat PT-109 was rammed and cut in half by a Japanese destroyer during a night attack in the Solomon Islands. The commander of the boat, John F. Kennedy, was thrown to the deck. His back, previously injured in a university football game, was re-injured. Despite this, he gathered the ten surviving members of his crew. After placing a badly injured crew member into a life jacket, Kennedy held on to one of the straps with his teeth and towed the wounded man as they all swam for shore. Five hours later, they reached land and were able to rest, but could find no help. It was only after swimming to two other islands that they found natives with access to the U.S. base. They were rescued after a native delivered a message written by Kennedy on a coconut. The situation seemed hopeless, but because Kennedy clung onto hope he found the strength to lead his crew members to safety.
The Many Benefits of Hope
1. The difference between living with hope and living in fear is like the difference between the life of a hero and the life of a coward. Those who live in fear, refuse to take risks, and wind up settling for a life of mediocrity. But those who live with hope, boldly go where their dreams take them, and experience a life of adventure. Is there any question which is the superior choice? I think you will agree that Marion Zimmer Bradley makes a lot of sense when she writes, “It has never been, and never will be, easy work! But the road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveler than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.”
2. Life is synonymous with change. So, any pain or fear that I am experiencing will end, which is a cause to be hopeful. President John F. Kennedy put it this way, “Every area of trouble gives out a ray of hope, and the one unchangeable certainty is that nothing is certain or unchangeable.” Jean Kerr shares the same thought in simpler terms, “Hope is the feeling you have that the feeling you have isn’t permanent.”
3. To live with hope is to be awake or, in the words of Aristotle, “Hope is the dream of a waking man.” On the other hand, “To live without hope is to cease to live.” (Fyodor Dostoevsky, And, according to the Old Testament, “Anyone who is among the living has hope — even a live dog is better off than a dead lion!”
One cannot, in my opinion, be awake or aware and not be hopeful and joyful, for as Osho (Rajneesh) said, “… ignorance means the capacity to ignore. You must be ignoring the birds, the trees, the flowers, the people. Otherwise, life is tremendously beautiful, so absurdly beautiful, that if you can see it as it is you will never stop laughing. You will go on giggling — at least inside.”
Image credit: Pixabay
Change it today, Personal Development