It occurred to me recently during a conversation with a good friend of mine that perhaps I have taken for granted my understanding of hope….and that others may have a completely different idea of what hope is. Here’s a bit of the conversation that got me thinking…
Basically, you could title the conversation, ‘When is hope a setup for failure?’ I don’t want to open this subject if you think it will drag people down. But the reality is that our hopeful expectations can be a setup for failure and we all need to keep a practical reign on our hope. This is something that happened to me and has been weighing heavily on my mind lately.
So, the real question is not about hope…but about expectation. I usually refer to it along with judgment…and THAT is a very worthy topic. I do think it is important to distinguish between Hope and Expectation…they are two very different things……and even reevaluating what Hope is….I’m trying personally to get to where every day……hope is just living…being present….and grounded…no matter what….Lyme, work, stupid people, TV…nothing can knock me off my feet…that’s my goal anyway….
I take a more literal definition of hope. And I think that is where my problem lies. I found this on the internet and this describes exactly how I see hope.
‘A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.’
Notice the word expectation. I think I take hope too far sometimes and let it become a reality rather than just a longing or something I strive towards or something that keeps me moving forward in one direction.
Whenever something is weighing on you, consuming you, not working, etc….especially if you feel a sort of resistance to it…..look behind it. And then look behind that….and then behind that…like layers of an onion….
Usually…..once you get to the last layer…it becomes very simple….and it usually has something to do with one of the following things:
(often passed down from a family member or held onto from a past experience)
Does that make any sense?
Like what I call my ‘A-ha moments in life’…..one of my biggest ones was the day I realized that I did not have to identify myself with my past……each moment is a new moment….that was like, ‘What? Really? Seriously? Get out!’
As simple and dumb as it sounds, it was life changing.
I need to change my understanding of hope then. In my world, hope without some level of expectation or actively working to achieve what we hope for is just a ‘dream world’. Going to have to put a lot of thought into this. Because I get bit over and over by it.
I do define myself by who I remember I was in the past. I define my hope in reaching who I was. Who’s to say I’m not who I am meant to be? That would be a hard reality to accept.
Maybe we stop defining ourselves by the past and define ourselves by who we’d really like to be. Then our present must take steps to become that.
When you are chronically ill, it is so easy to define normal as who you were before you got sick. For me that was when I was 24, I’m 43 now. How can I expect to ever be who I was at 24? Wow!
Exactly….part of the natural process is grieving over our “old” selves and accepting that perhaps things are just as they are supposed to be…..and trust that no matter what…you are doing exactly what you should be doing…feeling exactly as you should be feeling…..
Or….taking steps to change what no longer serves you as your needs and purpose changes…
Thank you for this conversation. This is something I’ve been struggling with really bad lately. I have a lot of soul searching to do.
I have been thinking about this for a while now….it has been brewing and simmering in my mind. It was like a light bulb went off inside my head. THIS is why so many people in the world are so miserable! It is not just limited to those who have Lyme disease. This is a worldwide epidemic!
I forgot that over the past 25 years of my life I have spent a significant amount of time redefining who I am, how I think, what my values are…..and shedding all of the preconceived notions, beliefs, and ideas that were planted in me at a very young age by the surrounding world and influences.
I have been reminded of the suffering that plagues so many who are still stuck in their old patterns, ideals, and beliefs. I grew up believing that I had no choice or control over who I am and how I live. I believed that I was not worthy enough to be happy, or loved, or comfortable. I believed that my life was predetermined….I had no choice….and I had no worth.
Yet, at the same time…I had certain expectations….followed by bitter disappointments. I had a certain naïve ability to trust…..followed by unexpected deception. I allowed myself to love fully…..followed by abandonment and diminished self-esteem. I took chances….and I failed…over and over again.
When it changed for me…was when I began to stop judging myself and others. When I stopped believing that my past mattered today….or that my future was more important than right now. When I looked at myself closely…and accepted myself as I am….good, bad, and indifferent. When I challenged myself to take every conflict and experience and take from it whatever knowledge I could to change those aspects of myself that I no longer wanted to identify with. Actively creating change in myself and my life.
I started to shed the toxins in my life….people, places, and things…….and I began to open myself to the possibility that I could actually have what I wanted in life (within reason of course)……and that no matter what, who, or when…………no matter how “bad” things could get…..the one thing that I could control is how I think and how I feel…..
I am still learning and practicing this….I do it every day….I still have persistent aspects of myself that I struggle to change….but I continue to learn and grow…and create my life….good, bad, indifferent.
So in defining hope………..
For me it is not about expectation, quite the opposite. Rather, acceptance…..of whatever it is that happens…..yet with a persistence and determination….to do everything possible to heal yourself…inside and out. It is feeling love and warmth….and knowing that it radiates out from you…..
Hope, to me, is the honest belief that I am okay…I will be okay….and things can and will get better. And no matter what “better” ends up being…I will be grateful for it…and I will accept it, rather than resist it. Sometimes “better” is nothing like what we expected….and it is often a precious gift if we are willing to see it.
No matter what….no person, thing, or circumstance can take away my smile, or my love….unless I let them.
As the Winde blows….I will come again!