Here we are over a year later and still find ourselves gripped by the hands of a pandemic. By now, most of us have experienced losses and adapted to a new normal that has stretched beyond all expectation. Leaving behind the beating hearts of many wondering, when will this ever end?
The world events that have stretched throughout these many seasons have somewhat forced us to acknowledge where we stand in terms of our emotional and mental health—and for some the truth feels shaky.
Keeping a felt sense of hope robust and alive is one strategy in moving forward when unavoidable hurdles still remain out on the horizon. Hope itself is a powerful force that helps us move through hardships with a feeling that we can actually do something to make them better, opening the way for optimism to shine – where there is optimism, there is potential.
The adversity many of us face today is palpable and real, and in no way are we advocating for blind hope as a solution for the world’s problems. Rather we ask you to see the value in cultivating a grounded sense of hopefulness as a catalyst in creating other behaviors that make things a little bit easier. Consider hope to be a freely available coping mechanism that seeds great companions like resilience, trust, and motivation.
If hope feels fragile or exhausted today, let it be an opportunity to redirect action and belief in the ability to face anything that comes our way. Keeping in sight that the attitudes and perspectives we feed will determine the potential outcome of all our experiences. By aligning ourselves with hopefulness we set the inner stage for resilience to blossom and then guide us into moving through circumstances that lie outside of our control with better grace.
Bottom Line: Building Hope is an Inside Job.
It begins and grows from within you, your body, and your mind. Hope is not anything that someone or something can give to you in earnest. Rather, it’s a felt experience that one must care for, and feed.
3 STAGES IN REMEMBERING HOPE
Focus on What You Want
Many of us make the mistake of placing our attention on the things that don’t make us feel great. This might be an addiction to doom-like news updates or the habit of complaining to anyone who will listen. We must manage the behaviors that perpetuate and further the existence of that which we do not desire.
As the saying goes, ‘where attention goes, energy flows’. So make it a practice to focus on what you want more of, and see what grows from it.
Have Something to Be Excited about Everyday
Life can feel a bit lackluster when hopefulness is down. By creating moments throughout the day that we genuinely look forward to, we can revive a bit of this spark. Sources of excitement can be obvious and simple, such as preparing a morning coffee to enjoy outside, cozying up on the couch to watch a new episode of your favorite show, or following through on a hike you’ve been meaning to try. Let these be small moments to look forward to, and savor every second.
Create Stronger Boundaries
If hope is feeling scarce, we need to take a moment to acknowledge what some of the sources keeping us feeling this way.
Is it possible for you to limit the intake of heavy hitting news? Is there anyone you can talk to who is naturally uplifting and supports you to feel good? Can you identify where you allow your thoughts to tunnel vision into negative spaces?
Allowing these kinds of reflections to inform us of the kind of boundaries that need to be set up helps make the shift from feeding hopelessness to remembering hopefulness. When we exercise our boundaries of what’s passable in our lives we also begin to exert some influence (control) over the world around us. That feels refreshingly enlivening.
Lastly, hope is a beautifully contagious characteristic. Choosing a perspective and belief system built on hopefulness is an asset not only yourself, but to all those around you. May the service of hope bring you light in the darkest of times.
By Melissa Aparicio, contributing author
We invite you to discover inspiring and effective ways to care for yourself and to serve others. Now more than ever, caring is what we all need most. Caring for our self. Caring for others around us. Life now demands caring, resilience and compassion like never before. So, become a Custodian of the Caring Movement and help create the world we need right now, the world we want for our future generations.