“The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveller than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.” — Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Fall of Atlantis Life is full...
“The road that is built in hope is more pleasant to the traveller than the road built in despair, even though they both lead to the same destination.” — Marion Zimmer Bradley, The Fall of Atlantis
Life is full of twists and turns, it’s easy to become despondent.
Obstacles and adversities show up unexpectedly and we find ourselves out of our comfort zone.
People say life is unfair?
I presume they’re referring to life being unfavourable when things don’t go as planned.
Surely, we’re intelligent enough to know, we don’t always get what we want. Sorry to rain on your parade.
Regardless, one thing that’s helped me remain optimistic, is that not everything will go as planned and that’s okay. In fact, not getting what I want is often a good thing, since there’s often something greater on the horizon to fill its place.
We must accept life will be full of: obstacles, road blocks, negative emotions and circumstances that will derail our best laid plans. Knowing this should remove the burden, life is not pure sailing, but an adventure full of valleys and victories.
If you fear, “what could go wrong next,” you place an unnecessary burden on your shoulders while dreading the worst.
If you adopt a hopeful and optimistic heart, you can breathe easier and expect a more pleasant future.
Hope Has What It Takes
Hope is more valuable than we give it credit for. It’s a soft burning flame, unable to be extinguished and capable of enduring any conditions.
Hope has what it takes to get you through anything.
“People usually consider hope among the most wondrous of gifts: it keeps us going when we want to quit and makes possible victories that seem unattainable,” affirms author Dr. Alex Lickerman in The Undefeated Mind: On the Science of Constructing an Indestructible Self.
Hope is the belief things will work, especially when it seems otherwise. It helps you stay calm and peaceful when something less than desirable emerges.
Hope believes you will get through it.
Hope remembers the times you made it through.
Hope teams with faith and believes in the impossible.
When times are tough, our emotions are intensified and not symbolic of who we are.
When the boss tells you the company is downsizing and your position is terminated, when your son gets expelled from school, your partner decides they don’t know if they want to spend the rest of their life with you, the doctor gives you an adverse health report or your dog’s gone missing, then your emotions are in for a roller-coaster ride.
But with hope, your thoughts gravitate toward optimism.
We cannot expect life to be smooth sailing. Unexpected conditions arise, not to overwhelm us but to test our inner resolve and awaken us to our true power.
Our emotional response in such times, is not indicative of our true self. That’s because we respond to our external environment instead of staying composed.
“Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today.” — Thich Nhat Hanh
Lessons To Be Learned
Sometimes when a situation is bleak, you’re invited to master a lesson greater than you expect. This is when hope will get you through. If you lose your job, there might be a series of experiences during your transition of looking for another job.
You may realise you loathed your previous job and are now more determined to find a career path that makes you happy. Maybe you realise, you want to start your own business instead of working for someone. Consider this something to learn from instead of dwelling on the unfortunate setbacks.
Assuredly, there’s a lesson and inner growth contained within your circumstances, even if you can’t see it yet.
I appreciate the advice from author Jan Frazier in The Freedom of Being: At Ease with What Is, “The reality is that in the interval between the start of hope and when the outcome occurs, you don't know what's going to happen. The ego-mind dislikes not knowing. Feeling hope is a way of avoiding the discomfort of uncertainty.”
Visualise A Positive Future
During hard times, do your best to envision a positive future. In fact, what you dwell upon is what you likely will get. Call it positive thinking, though what you hold in your mind is what you will receive.
We’re the product of our emotions, given that we feel our way through life. If your emotions are fixed on negative aspects, you’re likely to attract those situations because of your predominant reactions.
The universe reflects what you put out into the ether.
As an example, if I entertain negative thoughts related to not having enough money to pay my bills, I’ll see evidence of this echoed in reality. I might notice a TV commercial discussing debt prevention or perhaps someone mentions their financial difficulties. If I’m aware, I recognise the warning signs that my thoughts are out of alignment. If I persist with these thoughts, it’s likely to materialise because I’ve willed it into existence, whether I like it or not.
“Scientists have repeatedly demonstrated that changing our perspective and focusing on aspects of the situation that are in our control can have a hugely beneficial impact on our hope, motivation, and self-esteem,” states author Guy Winch in Emotional First Aid: Practical Strategies for Treating Failure, Rejection, Guilt, and Other Everyday Psychological Injuries.
How do you see your future developing?
Close your eyes for a moment and visualise an optimistic path.
It requires work and discipline to create an intentional future and it can’t be achieved overnight. This is because you’re likely to slip into your old ways if you’re not mindful of your thoughts.
Unattached To Outcomes
The world is full of people who have overcome incredible hurdles and failures to become successful and happy. They’re unattached to outcomes because they appreciate that not everything goes as planned. When one door closes, another opens at the right time, as long as their thoughts are in alignment.
Allow life to weave her mysterious ways by being detaching from outcomes. What appears detrimental at first may simply be laying the groundwork for something greater later on.
Commit to a life of optimism, irrespective of the circumstances and raise the beacon of hope when times are tough. You can become confident through your willingness to see life from a different viewpoint.
The next time something doesn’t go as planned, draw on hope and declare, “It’ll be alright, I trust for the best in this situation” and chances are it will turn out as you intend.
Hope will get you through anything, but first you must create the circumstances for it to flourish, before it sets your world alight.