Hope. It’s what’s led to the final release and freedom for three Cleveland women held in captivity and sexually abused by a man for ten years. During this time, it’s reported that two of the families held vigils. They never gave up hope that their girls would return home alive.
Hope is powerful. It’s the expectation of achieving good in your life. Hopefulness is a combination of potent mind-qualities. It’s a mixture that includes a dash of self-belief, several drops of faith, a large scoop of courage and more than a splash of determination to accomplish your goal.
Hopefulness, however, is not just about being a positive type of person, but also having the expectation of making improvements to one’s own life. After all, having hopeful expectancy is what has brought new inventions to the surface and consequently benefitted individuals and the world.
Most of these new developments have started with the belief that there was a way, or even a better way, to do something. Every originator has taken his or her inbuilt creative hope that their particular idea would ultimately make a difference, and then carried it along on the wings of expectation and effort. This kind of hope is more than just wishing for good things to happen, or having a positive attitude.
Dr Shane Lopez, author of the book “Making Hope Happen,” says, “Hope is half optimism. The other half is the belief in the power that you can make it so. There is a profound difference between hoping and wishing. Wishing encourages passivity, whereas hope represents an active stance…Wishing is the fantasy that everything is going to turn out OK. Hoping is actually showing up for the hard work.”
I learned the truth of this assertion when a highly respected music teacher told me that I didn’t have a hope in the world of passing a theory exam. I needed to complete three years of learning in only one year. She believed that there was no way I could do that. For several lessons she reiterated her point of view. I was devastated by such crushing negativity. My hope in accomplishing this important work began to diminish in the face of her pessimism. My belief that I could pass this exam started to slip away. Finally I quit her class.
However, I still needed to pass that exam to fulfil my course of study. What was I going to do? There was a choice to be made – give up entirely, or continue on my own. Plucking up my courage, I decided not to accept the teacher’s opinion. Re-kindling my self-belief, I rolled up my work-sleeves and studied hard. The result? Hope triumphed. I completed the work, took the exam and passed with a high distinction.
This lesson on the power of hope has continued to benefit me throughout my life. I’ve even carried it over into the health arena. Like many other individuals, I’ve found that it’s possible to achieve a happy, healthy life by embracing faith, courage, and the expectation of achieving good health.
As Dr. Lopez discovered from the largest study of hopeful people ever conducted, hope for the future is linked to emotional and physical wellbeing. It seems to buffer us from stress, anxiety and the effects of negative life events. It also promotes healthy behaviours that support health and prevent disease.
This is why hope has been described as an essential life tool. It’s not just an emotion. It’s a state of mind – a life-saving, life-changing quality of thought. This way of thinking can be strengthened through spiritual means – prayer, meditation, religious practices, or reading books with a spiritual message.
A woman author and pioneer in the understanding of hopefulness writes, “Knowledge that we can accomplish the good we hope for, stimulates the system in the right direction which Mind points out.” Mary Baker Eddy: Science and Health. p.394. Eddy seems to be revealing that the good health we desire is achievable with the support of a divine intelligence. It’s an encouraging thought. One that can reinforce our belief system and confidence in our ability to be well and stay well.
Certainly, studies of workers over time suggest that hopeful employees experience greater well-being than those who are not. This would seem to indicate that being a hopeful person has benefits. It can lead to a happier, healthier, more productive life. It’s entirely possible then for anyone to be a positive, optimistic – glass half-full kind of individual. Anyone can be confident and expectant of achieving good health and fulfilling their life-goals.
This article also appeared on The Wellness Wire - an Internet daily inspired to help forward lifestyles of health, happiness, and longevity, and a peaceful, just, sustainable world.