Hope is something we all cling to and rightfully so, because as the saying goes, “hope springs eternal.” Hope is an awesome and very potent life force that inspires, empowers and enables us to face life’s challenges. After all, without hope, what would man’s future look like?
Could any of us make it in this world without having hope? It’s doubtful. Hope is vital to our lives because it helps to keep us going — hope diminishes any feelings of helplessness and reduces our stress level, as well as boosts our happiness. In truth, hope improves our quality of life.
Having hope and being consistently hopeful, is an active emotion that enables us to look at the future with positivity — its the thing that lets us see opportunity in challenges, rather than challenges in our opportunities — it’s the power that lets us see the potential good in our future, even when we can’t always control how that future will turn out.
Hope is Light
There are some among us who sadly suffer from a mental illness, such as depression and for these brave souls, no matter how hard they try, hope is often something they just can’t muster. That’s why for the rest of us, when we abandon hope, we’re giving in — and if we let hope slip away, we can easily be overcome with a sense of melancholia. Hope and positive thinking are very much tied together and holding onto hope shows us the light at the end of the tunnel — and no matter how long that tunnel may seem, the light is there all the same and it’s hope that lets us find that light.
I recently read the Bible parable of “the mustard seed” and it dawned on me that hope is just like the story of the mustard seed. Here are two of the parables to demonstrate:
He replied, “Because you have so little faith. Truly I tell you, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” — Matthew 17:20
This is very true and makes perfect sense. Plant that small seed and nourish it, encouraging it to grow and believing in it, and before you know, it will bloom strong and mighty. Hope often starts out just like the tiny mustard seed, because all we need is a glimmer of hope to get us going — that feeling deep down that somehow, things will get better and if we nurture that, the power of hope and optimism will grow stronger and brighter every day.
In Matthew 13:31–32, the parable of the mustard seed is used again: “The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and planted in his field. Though it is the smallest of all your seeds, yet when it grows, it is the largest of garden plants and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and perch in its branches.”
Hope often starts out small…maybe even “weak,” but if we cherish it and let it grow and flow, it will be the most lush, strong “plant” in our garden.
We all know that life can be hard and while having hope isn’t a cure-all, because we do of course do need to be realistic in life, can one imagine how sad life would be without hope? Hope is very much like the mustard seed: that little seed takes root and with nurturing, it will grow, flourish and spread out like a healing light.
Hope propels us forward with a sense of good, optimism and determination, so please, never lose hope and never take hope away from anyone. If we do just one good deed a day, let that deed be to inspire hope in another person — help to plant the mustard seed of hope in their heart.
“Stay positive and happy. Work hard and don’t give up hope. Be open to criticism and keep learning. Surround yourself with happy, warm and genuine people.” — Tena Desae
What are some ways we can foster hope?
- Assess your situation: What’s happening? How is it making you feel? Why is it making you feel that way? Can you control the situation or at least improve it? The first step is very often looking at things objectively and taking control, rather than letting it control you. While not always easy, it helps to confront the thing(s) that are making us stressed or anxious and getting a feel for their effect on our mood and outlook.
- Think positive: Always look for and concentrate on the positive. Hope and positivity are tied together, so try and find any and all positives in your life.
- Look at the big picture: Try to put things into perspective by looking at the overall big picture of your life. Say you’re feeling down and hopeless because you’re very unhappy in your job – is your job your whole life? Probably not. Try seeing the big picture and put things into proper perspective.
- Look for inspiration: Find things that make you happy, challenge you and focus you. Inspiration is unique to each of us, so find things that make you happy and feel more complete and use them to foster inspiration – inspiration, hope and positivity often go hand-in-hand.
- Talk it out: Sometimes when we’re feeling hopeless, talking to a trusted friend, family member or even a professional really helps. Let someone know how you’re feeling and talk it over with those you trust – sometimes, they can offer a new perspective on things and that in itself can help that mustard seed of hope take root.
- Look at your wins: A little pat on the back can really help get us back on track with hope. Look at things you’ve accomplished and let your past wins motivate you to future ones too.
- Be patient: We all have days when we’re feeling down and that is to be expected. Hope however, is the one thing that can keep us moving forward and that feeling of hope can take time to re-surface, so be patient.
As always, when something is beyond helpful tips, talking to a qualified professional is always the right course.
“Know that wisdom is such to your soul; if you find it, there will be a future, and your hope will not be cut off.” – Proverbs 24:14