We have all heard many times that hope dies last. And we often associate hope with a bit of optimism, with an emotion that gives us a little more strength when we struggle with tasks and problems. But hope is not an emotion, nor a waste of time, but a combination of setting our goal, persevering to pursue that goal, and believing that we have the power, ability, and endowment to get where we set out.
Common understanding of the concept of hope
Ever since childhood, we have all heard of hope. Man has always hoped for something: rectifying a situation, a better political regime, more money, health, or why not a true and definitive transformation of less brilliant character traits. Usually when we go through hardship someone comes and says, "it will be ok" and after hearing so many "it will be oks" as we all have heard, we have come to minimize the role and impact of hope on us. For an "it will be ok" said from the tip of the tongue has nothing to do with true, deep and transformative hope.
The true face of hope
Psychologist Charles Snyder has devoted much of his research to the study of hope, forgiveness, and the human need for uniqueness. He demonstrates that hope is not an emotion, a sense of confidence in the favorable resolution of an action - as defined in the dictionary, always associated with optimism, but a way of thinking. Emotion, of course, supports the cognitive process, but hope is the trilogy: goals, paths, and faith, as Snyder calls it.
- I set a goal that is realistic, so it is noticeably clear to me where I want to go
- I have the ability to conceive ways to achieve that goal, but I’m leaving room for mystery with great flexibility, because there may be an alternative path or a solution that did not even cross my mind. You know that people say that the Lord works in mysterious ways! In other words:
- I make a plan about how to reach the goal,
- I consider the appropriate means at my disposal to achieve my goal,
- I am persevering,
- I do my best,
- I do not allow myself to be destabilized by failures,
- I start over if necessary and
- I leave the gate wide open for the unknown and mystery.
- I believe in myself, that is, I trust that I can do this, that I have the capacity, strength, intelligence, tenacity, endurance, and endowment necessary to achieve the realistic goal I set for myself.
So, we have this unique mix of purpose - perseverance - faith.
Do we still have a dark side of hope?
With these ingredients, we remove any so-called disadvantage of hope that we sometimes hear about. For the "dark side" of hope is always where you are “hungry” for something you do not have to chew; that "it will be ok" without doing anything targeted and with tenacity and determination to resolve the situation you face.
The perception of hope in the digital era
Somehow today where everything happens so fast and the transformations generated by new technologies and the digital society has disruptive characteristics, we have learned to imprint an extremely fast pace to our lives; we want everything right now and without too much effort.
However, when we face a serious situation, for example, "we wake up suddenly" with a diagnosis for life, or maybe cancer that has a low survival rate, death after which we think we are no longer recovering, divorce that is affecting the children terribly, a violent parent, who is ruining the family or maybe it is simply a state of tension that lasts for too long and gives us a state of anxiety or nervousness - like a new and endless wave of COVID or endless wave of media - these cannot be solved instantly, on the spot, without effort and perseverance and thus arouse a destructive despair in those who run at high speed. Here the results do not come immediately, and the greatest help is provided by cultivating genuine hope based on a proactive attitude in accordance with the steps detailed above.
Learning and cultivating hope
Hope can therefore be learned and cultivated by practicing these steps in a targeted and determined way. This positive attitude of trust and hope, regardless of the severity and magnitude of the situation we face, is not a coincidence, or a genetic endowment of some or a gift ever received, but a conscious, volitional, and necessary choice for a balanced and harmonious life.
Lack of hope and rejection of systematic and brave action leads to helplessness and depression. And this is also a choice.
The choice is always ours; let us go for the most constructive choices!
If you need help and guidance in the life situations you face, in clarifying the choices you make, contact me for a coaching session!
I wish you good luck and I am looking forward to meeting you!