Finding Hope

by Michael Corthell
Hope: a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. A feeling of trust. Want something to happen or be the case. 
To first define what hope is and how to have it, let's start with what hope is not. Let's look at hopelessness. Here is how one person felt during a period of deep depression.
''The future totally vanished. Everything became dark. Nothing awaited me. Everything seemed empty of meaning. I could remember nothing good in the past, only regrets and failure. I could see nothing good in the present and had nothing to hope for in the future. No compass. No center. When it was over and I emerged out of the depression, everything looked different. What I used to hold most important now seemed peripheral, and what I saw as peripheral now seemed most important. Money and work success fell away to the edges, while relationships and God wound up in the center. Almost magically, like it just happened. Only when you lose all your props can you see what’s left is what matters.'' 
It is well known that when animals find themselves in difficult situations they cannot control, they stop trying to escape. They lose hope, they become passive. They stop taking action. We can and sometimes do act the same. What is the antidote to this feeling of hopelessness? ACTion. Let's look...

Finding a way through and having a clear direction. Make sure that you see how the steps you need to take will lead you out of the darkness. If friends, family or a professional are helping you see the way, have them explain to you how the steps you are taking will lead to the results you want.

Find a role model(s) that will show you the way. There are people you know who have overcome tremendous hardships. Seek them out. Ask them. Here is another resource: Messages of Hope.

''Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.''
— Stephen King

Do what you can. When you are hopeless, take things step by step, doing things that you know that you can do. Break the cycle of your routine.

Act and be kind to others. Being kind and loving will have a dramatic effect on your mental state and your total outlook on life. Kindness triggers the release of brain chemicals, that are natural anti-depressants. Acts of kindness reduce stress and pain.

''We must accept finite disappointment,
but never lose infinite hope.''
— Martin Luther King, Jr.

Kindness, in this author's view, is the most important thing we can do to help ourselves out of the darkness of despair and hopelessness. Why is that? Simply stated, it is because the very act, the action you take to help another is the essence of love itself and there is no darkness in love because God is love.

Turning surviving into thriving through HOPE