Hope is a belief in a positive outcome of events and circumstances in your life. Hope is the feeling that what you want can be had, or that the events of your life will turn out for the best.
In Greek mythology, Pandora was endowed by the Gods, and graced with beauty, talent and eloquent speech. As a gift she was given a box, which contained all the evils of the world and was ordered not to open it. However, her curiosity got the best of her and she lifted the lid. Suddenly, the contents of the entire box spilled out into the world…or so Pandora thought. It turned out, the box was not totally empty like she thought. When she looked closely through the darkness into the bottom of the box, she found hope. Apparently, without hope to accompany all their troubles, humanity was filled with despair. It was a great relief when Pandora looked again and let out hope as well. Those Greeks…they had the most interesting way to illustrate their beliefs didn’t they?
Hope is a bit different from optimism in that hope is an emotional state, whereas optimism is a conclusion reached through a deliberate thought pattern that leads to a positive attitude. Hope is a feeling.
Dr. Ted tells a story in some of his presentations about a time when he stopped to talk with a homeless woman, who at the end of their conversation said, “Goodbye. Stay hopeful!” He was so moved by her powerful message. And, he used that message to speak to hundreds about the power of that emotion – that feeling.
If, during a difficulty when things seem dire and difficult we can see the faint glimmer of something better, that hope opens us up and turns us toward that light.
Hope isn’t delusional. It isn’t denial. It doesn’t ignore the real challenges, details of the diagnosis or dwindling money in the checking account. It is not woo-woo thinking. It is acknowledging the truth of the situation and working to find the best way to cope. It’s showing up and working through the hard stuff, believing that something better is coming.