10 REASONS TO HAVE HOPE (note—I changed this from ‘you should have’ because I hate ‘should,’ ‘must,’ etc. I find those words preachy)
I’ve talked about hope a lot. About how I used to think it was too expensive to hold, and doing so set me up for disappointment. But also how as life progressed, I came to see that differently. That hope isn’t about wishing something would happen, but in trusting that I would be okay with what did occur.
But why does having hope matter at all? Here are my top ten reasons:
- Hope keeps us from disasterizing. And man, can I ever do that. You know how that is? Something negative arises and the reptilian brain goes immediately to worst-case scenario. But holding hope stops that in its tracks. And stopping the negative insanity is my first step to turning things around.
- Which then helps us to see setbacks as opportunities for growth rather than devastation. If we’re in the game, we’re all going to fail. Probably often and/or a lot. As Winston Churchill said, “Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.” Having Hope keeps you learning from those falls.
- Hope counteracts Fear. A Course in Miracles says there are only two emotions in this world, Love and Fear. You can’t feel those two emotions at the same time! And while of course fear is a normal reaction, Hope turns that fear around and plunges you back into the game.
- Hope keeps you learning in order to reach your goals. This relates to the above, but takes it a step further. Hope is a dynamic motivator. We know that emotions follow thoughts, rather than the other way around. According to Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D., “People with learning goals are actively engaged in their learning, constantly planning strategies to meet their goals, and monitoring their progress . . . A bulk of research shows that learning goals are positively related to success across a wide swatch of human life—from academic achievements to sports to arts to science to business.” Psychology Today
- Hope fosters the belief that you can succeed. We know our beliefs rule our worlds. The reason that the above—emotions follow thoughts—holds true is that what we feel from the subconscious via our thoughts is what we act upon. And if you believe you can succeed, you’ll stay in the game.
- Hope brings Success. It is related to academic achievement over IQ, and to athletic achievement beyond training
How cool is that? I mean if we know this, we might as well use it!
- Without Hope, we shut down. Hopelessness drains energy. And when that occurs, people quit trying. And you just can’t succeed if you’re not in the game.
- Hope is Powerful Therapy. So many studies have been done on this. Some have discounted it as well, but the works of medical journalist Dr. W. Gifford-Jones have borne it out.
“Hope is powerful therapy,” asserts medical journalist Dr. W. Gifford-Jones. He reviewed various studies carried out to determine the value of emotional support given to terminally ill patients.
- Hope keeps your sense of humor intact. Which is just the best medicine for anything! If we can laugh at our predicaments, the situation diffuses, at least for a bit. Laughter relaxes the whole body, relieving the effects of physical stress. It boosts the immune system by decreasing stress hormones and increasing immune cells. And a good laugh triggers the release of endorphins.
- Hope keeps you reaching out to others. It promotes bonding with others and positive relationships. And isn’t that just funny? Because that very bonding fills me with hope! Love when that happens.
Of course we could go on and on about the benefits of hope. But in essence we have this hope as an anchor to our world. To the people and things that matter to us. To the dreams we are pursuing.
Or as Emily Dickenson said,
“Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul
And sings the tune without the words
And never stops at all.”
What has hope done for you?