A young man squandered all his inherited wealth. As generally happens in such cases, the moment he was penniless he found he was friendless too. At his wit’s end he sought the Master out and asked: “What is to become of me? I have no money and no friends.” “Don’t worry, son, mark my words: all will be well with you again.” Hope shone in the young man’s eyes. “Will I be rich again?” “No. You will get used to being penniless and lonely.” Whilst Anthony de Mello’s tale depicts a bitter future for the young man, there is wisdom contained within the short tale. Life has its twists and turns, though this is no reason to ever give up hope. There you are bounding along when suddenly, an obstacle or adversity shows up unannounced. I’m sure you can relate, as this is the way our journey goes sometimes. Life can change at the drop of a hat. One thing to help you remain hopeful and optimistic is to accept, not everything will go the way you want it to, and that’s alright.
The acceptance that you will face some obstacles, negative emotions and people, should ease your stress. If you walk around in fear of “what’s next?” you bear unnecessary weight on your shoulders which is not how life should be lived. If you adopt an enthusiastic outlook, you are able to breathe easier while anticipating a more pleasant future. “Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come. You wait and watch and work: you don’t give up,” writes the American novelist Anne Lamott.
Hope is more valuable than we give it credit. It is a soft burning flame that cannot be extinguished, and impervious to external elements. In other words, hope has what it takes to get you through anything. Hope is optimism’s better self, for it endures far more than it concedes. To believe things will work out in the future, helps you settle into the present moment without yielding to misfortune when something less than desirable comes your way.
Hope believes that you will get through it.
Hope remembers all the times in the past that you made it through.
Hope teams up with faith and believes the impossible.
I will admit that when tough times arrive, emotions can come alive in full vigor. When the boss tells you that the company is downsizing and your position will be terminated, when your son gets expelled from school, your partner decides they don’t know if they want to spend the rest of their life with you, the doctor gives you a bad report and your dog has gone missing, emotions are ready for a roller-coaster ride. This is quite understandable, but if you have hope deep within you, your thoughts will gravitate toward the positive and your emotions will be more positive. For example, if Jack tells Amy that after three years of a serious relationship he just does not feel like she is the “forever” girl for him, Amy has several options. If she has not already decided to have an optimistic and hopeful outlook, her thoughts will swing to the negative. She will be thinking: “Oh my god! What am I going to do? I gave him everything and he does this? My life is over! I will never trust anyone again!” Such thoughts could easily cause a nervous breakdown, cause serious depression and perhaps cause her to reach for something to kill the pain.
On the other hand, if Amy has made a habit out of carrying hope in her pocket and wearing optimism as her cloak, her thoughts may be more like: “Wow! Well, this is certainly a painful thing to hear and my heart is sad, but I guess Jack is not the man I’m supposed to spend the rest of my life with. I’m sure that things will work out regardless and when the time is right, I will meet my life partner.” Though Amy may still have some emotions like sadness rise, she may not go into a meltdown because she has learned to live with hope and optimism as her dear friends.
Sometimes when things look bleak, you are invited to master a lesson greater than you expected. This is when you can rely on hope to get you through. For example, if you lose your job, perhaps you are to learn some lessons during your transition of looking for another job. Perhaps you will realize you actually hated your job and will find a career path that makes you feel happy. Or maybe you’ll realize that you want to start your own business. Be willing to look at your circumstances and look for something you can learn.
During tough times do your best to envision a positive future. In fact, many times what you mentally see is what you are going to get. Call it positive thinking or the law of attraction – either way, what you mentally think about and visualize 9 times out of 10 is what you are going to have served on your plate. What do you want your present and future to look like? Close your eyes and visualize it and be optimistic that you will get exactly what you see.
The world is full of those who have overcome incredible obstacles, failures to become successful and happy. Perhaps they know a bit about staying unattached to outcomes because they understand that not everything will go as planned. They understand that when one door is closed, they will look for another door. They understand a little bit about hope and optimism. Allow life to weave her magic and become a bit of a magician. Commit to a life of optimism no matter what the circumstances. Optimistic people have made a decision to raise the beacon of hope when times get tough. You can become more optimistic as well. The next time something does not go as planned, simply take some hope out of your pocket and declare that “It’s going to be alright. I believe the best in this situation” and chances are it will.