Change is Hope
So many of us lack hope. This can be something that affects us for large periods of our lives; or it might be something that we only occasionally feel. Experiencing a lack of hope can be deeply debilitating; and conversely, hope can be a powerful inducement to keep going when times are hard. So how can we create a little hope at times when there seems so little reason to have it?
We see hope in small positive changes
We are used to depending on observing small positive changes to get a sense of hope. If we have had a run of bad luck and then we have a splash of good luck, we can feel hopeful. When we are treated well after long periods of being treated poorly, we can experience hope. And when the tide seems like it might turn we can start to feel more hopeful that things might finally go our way. These observations of small positive changes can give us lots of hope.
However, how can we have hope when we don't see any positive signs?
Seeing hope in all circumstances
Here's a way of thinking about things that might allow you to see hope in any circumstances.
Firstly, one thing we can be sure about is that things are very complex. The circumstances we find ourselves in are a highly complicated pattern of the interactions of other people, organisations, economics, politics, the weather and seemingly random events. Secondly, with things being so complicated, it is impossible to know for sure exactly which factors are contributing to things being so bad, and which ones might on balance be more positive. Thirdly, we can also be sure that things are constantly changing, if only in small ways.
All change can bring hope for good change
With this in mind, one way of thinking about hope in this context might to consider the idea that ‘change is hope'. Note that I'm not saying that ‘positive change is hope', but rather that hope can be embedded in all sorts of change. There's a certain logic to this; when we feel terrible, we can feel like circumstances trap us. If even small things change, then our circumstances might stay the same, they might get worse – or they might get better. Change is hope.
Just a caution – I'm not saying ‘look on the bright side'. When things are bad they truly are bad, and it doesn't help us to deny the truth of what's happening – rather, it can help to be honest with ourselves and acknowledge the difficulty of our circumstances. What I am saying is that if things change then the effect might be positive, or it might not.
Getting help – and hope – from another
One way that we can deal with an absence of hope is to get some help from another person; someone like a counsellor or psychotherapist is well positioned for this. When we explain our circumstances to another person, laying it all out on the table, we can both see what a difficult set of circumstances it is. However, through explaining it in depth to someone who isn't trying to put a positive spin on things, there is the possibility that we might see some eventual potential for change, and thus hope.