The Need For Hope
I wanted to focus on hope this holiday season. Hope is something that alludes many people. Many people grasp for hope but are unsure of where to find it. Others feel hope comes and goes based on their circumstances. What is the importance of hope? It causes people to endure mental, psychological, and physical pain, it helps people to heal, it propels people to move forward in the face of resistance or opposition, and it gives people a reason; a reason to achieve, a reason to sacrifice, a reason to persevere through struggles, and even a reason to live.
Hope is defined in the dictionary as when you “want something to happen or be the case.” There is no actual guarantee with hope, but the possibility of a longing being fulfilled can produce life, joy, peace and determination in people. At the same time lack of hope and unfulfilled desires cause sadness, disappoinment, grief, lack of joy and peace, and despair.
Although sometimes it’s extremely hard to find a reason to move forward there is always something to be hopeful for. Is there a person or people you love, a desire you want to come to pass, a goal you are working on, or a future plan you’re looking forward to? Is there a resilient voice inside of you that does not want to give up? Do you believe life can get better? Sometimes just that belief alone can get you through. How will it get better? What would life look like, feel like and sound like when it gets better? What would your thoughts be when it’s better?
Mental health or physical health issues, grief, trauma and addiction can lead to many dark days and it’s often hard to see the good in each day. Focusing on what you’re hopeful for instead of the difficulties of each day can help. Visualize those positive, hopeful moments again and again when you start feeling hopeless, discouraged or overwhelmed by life. Think of people who love and care for you, or that you feel connected to. Imagine what they would say to you to encourage you. Find supports or connections in the community that have common experiences with you, or volunteer opportunities. The more people you are around, the more of an opportunity there is to build hope. There’s a lot of darkness in this world but there is also a lot of love and beauty. Seeing positive changes in yourself or others and positive moments around you is very healing and a reminder that there is still so much good in the world, if you seek it.
How I Found Hope
When I first decided to stop substance abuse I had no idea how to be sober or what life would look like. I was hopeful that becoming sober would change my future and had the ability to persevere but didn’t really have the specifics worked out. Going to 12 step groups, spending time with others with a long history of sobriety, and learning from church and Bible studies gave me hope of what a future could look like, and a hope in Jesus that gave me the will to keep going even on the hardest days. Knowing that his death brought me new life and that eventually I would live eternally with him, free of pain and sorrow and in his presence was enough to give me hope. I went back to college and sometimes was very overwhelmed but I would picture being done with all my classes and getting my diploma and this encouraged me to move forward. I help client’s to envision their future too. We focus on picturing the client’s idea of a perfect life- what it looks like, sounds like and feels like. Then we focus on goals to make that a reality. This builds so much hope! Especially when progress is made on each goal. Life will never actually be perfect but the more you’re aware of what you want the more you are able to take active steps towards the life you desire, which builds hope.
This holiday season if you are struggling to find hope, peace, love or joy, consider focusing on Jesus, who is what Christmas is about. He came to this earth to live a perfect life that you were unable to live and died a death he didn’t deserve so you could be forgiven by God and connected to God. When people used to explain this to me I minimized it, blew it off, thought God didn’t care about me and judged God based on people I saw around me that were imperfect and hurt me. When I read the Bible for myself I realized that God’s love is true and although I couldn’t explain why God allows suffering, I knew He loved me and that in the midst of all the suffering there is hope. I always had a desire to heal and the hope I had through God gave me the strength to move forward in my process.
My favorite quote is to “Be the light you wish to see in the world”. Look for opportunities to get involved, serve or join others so you don’t feel alone. Be honest with others about how you are feeling. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and you will find that so many others are suffering too. You may actually find that your experience helps others who are hurting and discouraged, and by sharing your story it can build hope for you too.
Please contact me with thoughts or questions on this blog at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to hear from you!
#PTSD #trauma #secondarytrauma #panic #relivingmypast #letgoofmypast #emotionalhealing