What is hope?

What is hope?

It’s a core tenet of not letting oneself fall into that pit of despair. It’s what we hold on to when we feel all things around us are falling apart. It’s what helps us to believe that something better is available to us.

I like believing in hope. It keeps me free. It helps me to see what could be. The possibilities. The promise. The love. The life. The dream.

Have you watched Martin Luther King Jr. deliver his ‘I have a dream speech’? It’s truly inspiring and full of hope amongst it’s core message of freedom and a better tomorrow. Hit play and watch, I’ll wait.

Welcome back. That’s the first and best TED video that could have existed.

Hope is important for the human condition. It helps us to maintain a sense of balance or flow or life depending on your persuasion. I’m going to go with balance, cos that’s my gig. We need hope more than we realise. It’s hardwired into our being.

You have your first day at work tomorrow, how do you know it won’t go horribly awry? You have a birthday party to organise, how do you know you haven’t forgotten something important? You have an interview and are really keen on the job, how do you know you’ll have performed well?

It’s hard to pin it down. Just what is it? How do you just believe that things will be better? Or that the outcome is what you’re after? Or that the promise is greater than the reality? That there is a God? Is it really enough to just pin it on some self-determined belief?

Hope helps us to dream. We feel something in our bodies that tells us that what we’re experiencing right now isn’t as it should be. You might call this your intuition, your gut feeling, anxiety, or the butterflies. Whatever you call it, it’s your being informing you that there is something more available to you.

I guess that’s important, isn’t it. We wouldn’t think that we could hope for something if we couldn’t achieve it. I can achieve. I may have the talent, I may have the belief, and it comes from a place of hope. A place of dreams. A place of tomorrow.

We have to base a lot of these thoughts in reality. What are the things we’re living with now. Am I comfortable with these things? Do I know what it might mean to hope for a better tomorrow? Do I appreciate what this hope could mean for others and not just me? Do I have a way to keep going if I don’t achieve my dreams?

It’s seductive. And that’s dangerous. We can get suckered into thinking that our hope is enough to make our dreams come true. That all we need is to hope. It’s a fools place if we live there. We need to be grounded in the here and now with a firm grasp on what could happen tomorrow. That helps us to understand if our hope is misplaced or if it’s achievable.

Ah yes, that belief, and it being achievable – within our means. Or with the support of others. I could do that. You could do that. With the right people with us on our journey we can achieve anything – because of the hope that lives in our hearts. It’s a powerful force.

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Published by

Sukh Pabial

I'm an occupational psychologist by profession and am passionate about all things learning and development, creating holistic learning solutions and using positive psychology in the workforce.

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