I have a REALLY hard time with the word HOPE- which seems strange because I've worked hard at learning to find gratitude, joy, and peace in my life- So you would think that I would be a Hope-lover. But I'm not. I'm not writing this in a negative sort of way- I'm writing it because I try and stay honest with myself- because I think that honesty is beautiful and if we want to change something we first have to acknowledge what is happening. So here it is: NOT A FAN OF HOPE.
When I was in the throes of depression it used to really bother me when people would say "All you have to do is have hope that things will get better" or "Hold on to hope". It just never made sense. It almost seemed insulting- like I wasn't hoping "enough". That if I was better at "hoping", things would all of a sudden sparkle and shine and everything would turn around. When people talked to me about Hope it seemed like it was a quick remedy. If I "Hoped", everything I was feeling would all be over and I'd be brand new. What I have realized now is that (for me) if I want something to last, there is a slow process behind that change. Good things take time. Nothing happens overnight. There is no quick fix- especially for depression and anxiety.
Another reason why I struggle with "Hope": When I was younger I used to hope for things so bad. Like I'd lie in bed at night and hope with all my heart (for a number of things I won't get into here). But I will tell you that I grew up real fast- so when I was lying in bed at night Hoping, I was dealing with large-scale trauma already. I was faced with things no child should ever have to face. So my Hopes were really, really big. And across time I was disappointed over and over again. So I think I was classically conditioned to learn that Hoping for something results in deep disappointment.
(*Again- this blog is not meant to offend anyone- I am speaking from my own experience. If you are a grand Hoper, I will support you and applaud you in that 100 percent!!)
I am at this point in my life where old thought patterns are mixing into new ones and it's hard to separate the two. I really have a hard time with Hope some days. As much as I feel conflicted by it, it also seems very natural to gravitate towards it. Moving through life just shutting off and not Hoping for anything can be really tricky. I find myself numbing out sometimes.
Anybody else with me?
It feels like when I Hope for something I'm putting that Hope in the hands of something else. I'm trusting something that I can't see. I'm a control freak and I'm working on this but in the meantime this is what I have learned to do: I Hope in myself.
I put Hope in myself. I shift the focus. For example, I recently listened to this podcast with Elizabeth Smart- she talked about how she never gave up Hope when she was kidnapped (google this story if you don't remember it, it's wild) because she believed in the Love her family had for her- she believed they would never stop looking for her.
I think that Hope and Belief at times can go hand in hand. I love this example and I think it is beautiful. However- what if you have learned to Hope in people that treated you poorly because that is how you were raised or all you knew at the time? What if that was just the way things went?
When I say I put Hope in myself it means that, while we can't control how other people treat us or how things in life are unfolding around us we can always chose to believe in, support, and love ourselves. I could Hope for things to change or get better; or I can place that Hope in my own abilities and I can tangibly use that Hope to begin to grow stronger. It's kind of like taking Hope and internalizing it instead of keeping it external.
Am I talking like I'm bananas? Does anyone feel the same way as me? How do you view Hope?
I would love to hear your thoughts on this!