Nurturing Hope


By Veronica Vidal

As we begin our journey into the year 2021, reflect on nurturing hope.

Hope is not something we are born with. Hope is something that we learn to cultivate over a lifetime of experience and hardship.

One person, for instance, grows hopeful when facing massive adversity, while another person feels hopeless and helpless. Over time these feelings become habitual emotions that are difficult to shake and, consequently, locking each person into a predictable cycle of behavior that seals their fate.

Further, for some people, in difficult times, it is common to indulge in pessimistic thoughts to find comfort in that, at the very least, they will predict what will happen next.

The good news is that no matter how you have conditioned yourself in the past, there is still hope for you.

For starters, it is essential to realize that unless hope becomes a part of your lifestyle, it would be challenging to access it, when you are at your lowest point. When nurturing hope we cannot allow ourselves to get caught up in a pessimistic cycle. Further, hope goes well beyond a single optimistic thought of better days ahead. Hope is not a passive act. Hope is action. and it triggers proactive action that gets us moving in the direction of what we are hoping for to improve the situation.

Nurturing hope means that it must evolve from just being a “feeling” hopeful, to more of a lifestyle that is reflected in everything you do, and in everything you are.

Below are some things you can do, starting now, to nurture more hope in your life. 

1) Have trust and faith in yourself that you can get through any challenge that life throws your way. Trust in yourself and your ability to get through any and every situation you face.

I believe in myself…
I will get through this…
I trust the process of my life …

2) Proactively discipline yourself to avoid hopeless thoughts. Making hope a part of your life isn’t easy. In fact, it involves hard work and a commitment on your part to effectively manage your thoughts so that they don’t get the best of you. After all, it’s not what happens to you but rather how you interpret what happens, and then subsequently what you do about it that makes all the difference.

3) Be cautious and attentive when you engage in worry and regret, because they often lead to a cycle of hopeless thoughts. On the other hand, gratitude and appreciation will always help you nurture more hope in your life.

4) List your successes, strengths skills and abilities, and resources (the ones you have on hand). Your past successes will prove to you that you have already overcome incredible odds to get to where you are today. Your strengths, skills, and abilities will remind you that you are more capable than you give yourself credit for. And your list of resources will show you that no matter what, you have options and tools that you can utilize to help you overcome your problems.

5) Giving Some Hope: We really do help ourselves by helping others. We really do get hope by giving hope. Psychologist Dacher Keltner explains that because of how our brains are wired when we give hope to others, we derive pleasure that’s as strong as when we receive hope. So go and offer hope to someone — for their sake and yours.

6) Focus on Things That Empower You: Focus on solutions. Yes, see the problem for what it is, but don’t indulge in mulling endlessly over how bad the problem is. Instead, spend your time focusing on solutions to the problem at hand. focus on what you can control and on what you can do to help move forward.

8) Avoid Focusing on What’s Not Working: Whenever you focus on what’s not working in your life, you will always tend to feel somewhat hopeless and helpless. This includes focusing on things you can’t control. What you can’t control is simply out of your hands. Instead, choose to make the most of what you can control and then progressively move forward one small step at a time from there.

9) Make Peace with Things That Are Not Working Out Many things will probably not work out as you had expected. Life is uncertain and things happen that we wish hadn’t happened. But since they “happened” we need to deal with them in the best way possible.

A lot of good can come out of a seemingly bad situation. In fact, if you think back to various moments of your life you will probably find many instances where this has been proven to be true. A hopeless situation might yet turn out into a blessing in disguise.

When you have hope, you experience setbacks differently.  This doesn’t mean you’re not bummed when they happen, but it does mean that you know how to emotionally regulate and cope.

Nurturing hope reduces uncertainty, and as such, it helps alleviate self-doubt, anxiety, fear, and stress.  Hope raises your levels of self-confidence and self-belief that things will possibly work out in your favor, and despite the adversity and turmoil, you face. you will enjoy a greater sense of contentment, peaceful acceptance, and inner peace.

Stay hopeful my friend; no matter what happens remain hopeful that in the end things will turn out in your favor.

by Veronica Vidal