Earlier this week, I was feeling hopeless. Powerless about an issue I was going through with my young son.
It was a hard place to be. This hopeless place.
I could feel it in how I was carrying my body. Shoulders hunched in, protecting my heart. I could feel it in my stomach. Uneasy. I could feel it in my energy level. Tired and unmotivated.
If you know me, you know that I am a person who thrives on seeing the bright side of things. Who thrives on hope.
So, I needed to figure out how to get my hope back. Not, some candy-coated idealism, but real hope.
How do we find hope when we feel hopeless?
One thing I did was notice that everything is temporary. I have this iris plant in a pot outside. Every year, I think it might totally die. I take care of it, but then it starts to look a bit brown and shriveled. However, there are usually a few green leaves that survive the winter. This year was no different. Just as I thought that it would be it’s last year, I saw a few more green shoots sprout up. Then, last week there was a bud. Then, another. And the other day, the iris bloomed. It was beautiful. The above picture is a close up of this lovely blossom. My iris reminded me that everything is temporary. In nature and in life, things come and go. My beautiful iris blossom will eventually fade, but if I continue to take care of it, it will blossom again.
I thought about how I was feeling hopeless and thought, yes, I’ve felt this way before, but, this too is temporary. If I can survive this, as I have survived so many things before, I will find hope, as I have found it before.
Take a step outside yourself and notice the world around you… Notice nature. Notice how it changes constantly and that everything is temporary.
…if we survive today, tomorrow we’ll be free.
-Edith Eger in The Gift
Think about something hard that you’ve been through and survived. You can do it again.
I also started to take small steps towards making the situation that was making me feel powerless better. I know that as long as I can take a little bit of action everyday, it helps me to feel hopeful.
What (small) steps can you take that make you feel like you are reaching a goal or on your way to solving a problem?
Another thing I did was reach out for help. I knew that my issue was not my area of expertise. I was in a new arena. So, I reached out to someone who had experience dealing with what I was dealing with. It was amazing to get advice from someone who’d been through what I’d been through before. She pointed me to resources that I didn’t know were out there. It made my problem feel much more manageable. I didn’t feel alone in my problem. I had hope now that I had help.
Is there someone you can reach out to for help or advice? Someone who won’t be judgmental? Perhaps someone who has been through what you are going through before?
I also observed that I had been spending too much time dwelling on what was going wrong. Of course I was feeling hopeless. So, I started to dwell on what was going RIGHT instead. So much was going right for my son, outside of the issue we were dealing with. I made a list of what was going right. It was so much longer than the list of what was going wrong. I chose to focus on what was going right and everything seemed brighter. This, along with all of the other steps I had already taken, made me feel hopeful again.
What is going right for you in this moment? Try focusing on what is going right instead of what is going wrong. It makes a big difference.
Sometimes, we have to come back to hope in our own time. You might find that small steps can move you forward faster than huge leaps. Take your time, listen to your heart & body & soul, and go at your own pace. May you have HOPE.
May you have peace within,