“To be hopeless is to lose all motivation to do what we need to live. It is to be in a deep, dark well without a rope. And even if it were there, we wouldn’t have the energy to climb it.”
– Dr. Winfried Sedhoff
Having hope matters. It matters a lot. Anyone who’s lost their sense of hope can tell you that.
But hope is something that can fade out of our life when awful things have happened …
Or when we’ve hoped for far too long, and nothing seems to change.
Hope can start to drain away.
If this is your experience, then what steps can you take to start to recapture that lost sense of hope? Here are some suggestions:
1. First, take proper care of your physical needs. You need to have an adequate amount of nutritious food, sleep, rest, gentle exercise – everything associated with TLC – to be in a place to even contemplate pursuing hope.
2. Although you need some respite from responsibilities, and you probably don’t want to spend a lot of time with people, we actually need to be around other people. However, you need to be wise in who you spend time with. These should be people who unconditionally love you. People who love as you are, right now. You don’t need people who are critical, demanding, judgmental or lacking in empathy.
3. Work on changing your narrative. What do I mean by that? When bad things happen and we want to give up, our self-talk is often very negative. We find ourselves saying things like:
“Nothing good will ever happen to me.”
“I’m just not as good/ talented/ loveable as other people. I’m worthless, a failure, or inadequate.”
“It’s my fault that X or Y happened. I deserved it. All of it.”
Although these beliefs might feel right at the time, they are usually biased, highly skewed and extreme. It’s important to challenge and change these kinds of thoughts – so your thinking is more balanced, and reflects reality. What can really help is having a good friend (or counsellor) who can work through this with you, in an objective way.
4. Try to identify small things you can do to bring a sense of meaning back into your life. It can be anything at all … Doing fun things with your children. Going on a hike in a beautiful location. Walking on the beach on a bright sunny day.
It just needs to be something small that works for you.
“Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up, and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come … Don’t give up.” – Anne Lamott