Growing Hope

Sometimes, when I am going through a hard time, one of the last things I want to hear is someone cheering me on telling me it’s going to be okay.  Sometimes, in the middle of our darkest times, when we feel depressed, anxious, empty, full of grief, powerless, or hopeless, we just want to feel those feelings without hearing “It’ll be fine…You’re going to be okay…Look at the bright side.” When someone tries to bring hope you might be thinking “No, it’s not fine! I don’t feel okay! Nothing around me is okay.” Then you roll your eyes and think to yourself; “Nope, I’m not going to hang out with that cheerfully annoying person right now”.

Is that you? When you hear someone saying something positive about what we’re going through do you get upset and frustrated? I’d like you to think about why.  Have you lost your hope? If you have, I’d like to give you hope. Please be open to receive. If you aren’t ready for it, don’t read this. I promise I won’t be offended. There is no shame to not being ready to receive hope – people process differently and that’s okay.  Some people need space, some need time, some people need space and time before they can find the hope in their situation.  And some people just need the hope. Hope is defined as “grounds for believing that something good may happen”.  

During this time there is a lot that is unknown. There is a lot that is changing. It’s hard to believe that something good may happen. I see it. When we focus and live with this unknown for hours a day and days on end, that despair or depression creeps in and starts to put down roots. The seed is planted, it starts growing, and all of a sudden, it’s a big dark tree of depression, anxiety, etc. Yikes!! Did I plant that? How did I not see it growing and taking hold of me?  We have allowed the negativity and fear to grow. We have this power. It’s within our power to let it in and let it grow.

 

 

It’s also within our power to chop that big dark tree down and dig up the roots.  The thing I’ve seen with clients (and me!) is that hope can be hard to hear when I don’t feel heard. We need to be heard that we are sad. We need to be heard that we are tired, hurt, angry, afraid. When we honestly and genuinely feel heard, we can be open to hope. When I slow down and really see people and love them where they are, hope is a natural result.

So how can you find hope when it’s not around you? When you don’t want to hear it? How can you find hope when you don’t “see” or “feel” it?

  1. Allow yourself to be heard and acknowledge the pain. I am here to say “I see you”, “I hear you”. I see the sadness, the hurt, the fear, the anxiety, depression, anger, frustration, exhaustion, hopelessness. I am giving you a big hug and telling you “you are doing a remarkable job juggling a lot”, “I am so proud of you”, “I am inspired by you”. Take a good moment and allow yourself to receive this love. Give yourself permission to stay in it. Don’t judge how much you need here. Some people process things differently and that’s okay. Breathe.
  2. Say YES to hope. Decide you want it. There has to be that little seed inside you that wants hope instead of despair. Christopher Reeve is quoted saying “Once you choose hope anything is possible”. Say out loud: “I am hopeful about ________ (fill in the blank).” When you say this, you don’t have to feel that it is true right now,  but that’s how a seed starts. You put a tiny little seed into the ground, do you see a plant yet? No. You see dirt. Just like negativity, we have the power to plant and allow the positive seed to grow. We have to have faith to take the step of hope when you don’t see the plant. I know you can do this! I believe in you!
  3. Reject the negativity. Start to acknowledge the negativity and reject it. Notice it and say out loud “I am not letting that into my life”. I am not saying to ignore reality. However, if it’s not bringing in fruit to your life, it’s not something you should be bringing in. Try taking a break from the news. Or if you do, only do it for a short period of time. Notice how you feel after you watch or listen.
  4. Fill yourself with intentional hopeful things. This may sound a little basic, but drink water. Seriously, there is science behind how this impacts our brain. Eat healthily, take vitamins, get fresh air, exercise. Spend time with a friend who makes you laugh. Do something silly. Create a vision board. Write down goals with deadlines. Tell someone about your dreams. Have you been wanting to start a business? Write down the plans.
  5. Seek outside support. This could be counseling. This could be talking to a supportive friend. It could be listening to an encouraging podcast or reading a really good book. Find someone outside of yourself who brings hope. Invest in yourself by being open and vulnerable to an outside source and receive some love and hope!! They will remind you of the hopeful decisions you have made in the past and encourage you to see that what you have done is amazing.

I believe in you!! Give yourself permission to think and act beyond what you once were and what’s around you. You have the power to shift the atmosphere around you and bring hope. To get there, we have to see the big dark tree and begin chopping away. I allowed some seeds of despair and anger to grow around me these past few months because of current events. I am writing this blog for myself as well. I am taking these steps. I don’t want those trees to grow, so I acknowledge them. I pay attention. I recognize and see the light beyond the darkness quicker than I did before. When I do this, I believe in myself more and more.

So I write this to encourage you and hope it brings you hope. Yes, we don’t have all the answers. But we have the power to bring a seed of hope in our own lives and others.

There is a beautiful tree of hope ready to sprout out of you! It’s big, bold, and amazing and it has your face on it!!

 

“Everything that is done in this world is done by hope.” ~Martin Luther

 

Heidi Waldoch, MA, LMFT, CDWF - Rogers & Lino Lakes
Heidi is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, MN Board, AAMFT Approved Supervisor LPCC Board Approved Supervisor, Certified Daring Way Facilitator, speaker and the owner of Bridging Hope Counseling.