Whether you’re contemplating a future where you achieve all your goals, solid A’s on your report card, a big raise at work or an affirmative answer to the request for a date, the common thread is hope. Animals don’t hope, people do. So this is a distinctly human emotion that nonetheless is somewhat ambiguous. These 10 thoughts may shed some light.
- Sunshine on a cloudy day.
When everything looks dismal and the solutions to problems nonexistent, hope has the ability to snake through the darkness and cast a warm, healing light. The fact that it can arrive so unexpectedly makes it all the sweeter. Once you experience hope, there’s no mistaking the profoundness of the emotion. Unlike sunshine, however, hope can stick around. Hope will still be there even when the going gets tough.
- Restorative to the soul.
Failure and disappointment can crush prospects like a train wreck. One setback after another tends to eat away at the soul, sometimes seeming to reach the point of no return. Hope, on the other hand, helps rebuild the weary soul, restoring it to a vigorous, healthy state. If the soul is fueled by love, hope fans the flames.
- The driver of motivation.
Ever face a project that seems impossible in nature, takes too long and has an uncertain outcome? Many of us have been there. What gets us going, despite the odds, is hope — the powerful driver of motivation. We have to believe we will be successful. It’s this hope of accomplishment that pushes us forward and keeps us going.
- The source of inspiration.
Where do you find inspiration? When you want to be lifted up, does going to an art gallery or trekking through nature get the job done? What is it about inspiration that makes it so elusive? If there’s one word that illustrates where inspiration comes from, it’s hope. Seeing something other than life’s mundane sameness requires hope. Transforming that sameness into something better is hope extending inspiration.
- Necessary for creativity.
Without hope, nothing new would ever be created. That means no new art, poetry, writing, music, grand artistic buildings, elaborate bridges and infrastructure, no never-before-attempted recipes, nothing that wasn’t already there before. In order to create, you need to have hope. The outcome may not be clear, but it doesn’t need to be for the artist, inventor, designer, musician or everyday person to pursue their vision. All that’s necessary is hope that you can bring forth your creativity.
- The foundation of love.
No one rushes into love with the certainty of it being reciprocal. For many, it’s this very intangibility and doubt that makes love so deliciously painful and desirable. Yet one thing is absolutely certain: the foundation of love is hope. If you didn’t have an inkling that this relationship could blossom into something more profound — and profoundly moving — there’d be no basis for love. That inkling is hope, without which there’d be no love.
- The companion to generosity.
Even the tightwad Ebenezer Scrooge eventually fell under the influence of hope and cast aside his stinginess to willingly give to others. One doesn’t become generous because they think it will benefit them. They do it because of an inner desire to do good for others.
Why is hope a companion to generosity? The answer is that the giver is able to envision a better outcome as a result of their gift, freely given and without any expectation of reciprocity.
- The basis for seeing possibilities.
Life often seems contradictory. Instead of a clear path forward, the way may be blocked with seemingly insurmountable obstacles. It takes courage and hope to be able to imagine possibilities in the midst of such distraction and chaos. Indeed, when you are sustained by hope, nothing is permanently impossible. It may take longer than you’d like or require more work and assistance than you currently have, but with hope you can discover new approaches to take that will ultimately help you steer past current difficulties.
- The cement that binds friendship.
Think about your best friend, the one you’ve been pals with since kindergarten. You’ve been through good times and bad and somehow are always there for each other. What is the reason you’ve stuck together so long? Could it be that you always see the best in your friend, value the goodness of your partnership?
Hope is the cement that holds friendships together. In fact, hope can keep the bond secure even through the most trying times.
- Mysteriously able to heal.
In every family, sooner or later someone gets sick, undergoes surgery, suffers an emotional or physical collapse, gets involved in an accident or experiences an injury. Doctors of all kinds work their professional skills, dispense medications and fix, sew, patch or otherwise mend the damage. But to truly heal? That requires more than just medications, operations and prosthetics, more, even than visits to a psychiatrist or other mental health professional.
People who lack hope don’t heal as fast as those who do have hope. But hope is also mysteriously able to heal even when the prognosis for recovery is nil. “Against all odds” is the expression. Others may say it just wasn’t his or her time. But the truth is that the underlying reason for recovery — or at least a powerful contributing factor — is hope.
Sun through the clouds photo available from Shutterstock