How to Find HOPE When You Need it Most
February 2, 2020
Hope Is Important
CDC created this HOPE dove to remind you not to give up. Hope is of paramount importance in life. Hope keeps us going and reminds us how important our attitude is in our daily lives, especially when faced with difficult situations. You may not be able to control your circumstances, but you certainly can control your response to those circumstances.
What does hope mean to you? We usually see the HOPE acronym represented as Having Only Positive Expectations. I don’t agree with that. We’re human and while that sounds nice and sunny, it isn’t very realistic. I also don’t believe that is a good definition of hope. There is always going to be a certain amount of negativity in life and while we shouldn’t look for it or dwell on it, negativity will continue to be there. To expect that only positive things will happen to you every day is naive at best and foolish at worst. Yes, there will be negativity, but you can handle it when it comes your way. You can find strength in adversity.
HOPE Happiness Optimism Positivity Enjoyment
I propose HOPE represents Happiness, Optimism, Positivity and Enjoyment. If you focus on the positivity and optimism, you’ll end up with the happiness and enjoyment. Once you completely lose hope in life, you’re on a slippery downward slope that is difficult to recover from. Recovery may be difficult, but not impossible. As long as you are breathing, there is always hope. You can find something to be happy about each and every minute of each and every day.
How can you feel hopeful when your situation seems utterly hopeless? How can you be happy when your life is spiraling out of control? The only way to do that is to change something. You cannot continue on the same path and expect radical change. Perhaps you can’t change your entire situation but you can change your perception and acceptance of the situation. Begin with knowing that your circumstances are temporary and not permanent. Everything can be changed.
Change Your Perspective
No matter how dire or bleak your circumstances, there are just as many positives in your life as negatives if only you will change your perspective. Sometimes people just need help identifying those positive aspects. While you may have lost your objectivity because you are too close to your situation, an outsider may see your situation as enviable. Sometimes, it is simply a matter of perspective.
Count Your Blessings
If you can walk, do you give thanks for every step or do you take it for granted? To the person in a wheelchair, you are blessed. If you can see, to the blind, you are blessed. If you can hear, to the deaf you are blessed. If you have shelter, to the homeless you are blessed. If you have food, to the starving you are blessed. If you have a significant other, to the lonely you are blessed. If you have two arms and two legs, to the amputee you are blessed. If you have health, to the dying you are truly blessed. If you have money, to the poor you are blessed. If you have a child, to the mother who lost hers, you are blessed. If you have a parent, to the orphan you are blessed. What is involved is simply a matter of perspective. What is your perspective on your life? You probably have so many things to be thankful for that you take for granted each day. No one has everything that they want. You can choose to be thankful for what you do have instead of having acrimony for what you don’t have by changing your perspective. If you need hope, there are ways to find it.
My Wake-up Call
My wake-up call came when I had an accident. That accident left me in a wheelchair for six years. I had a lot of surgeries and the doctors didn’t give me much hope. As the years went by the doctors told me I was being unrealistic and I needed to accept my situation. They said I was not going to get out of the wheelchair and it would be better if I learned to accept it. I refused, and if a doctor told me they couldn’t help me, I simply fired them and never went back. I did that with over a dozen doctors. At no time did I believe them or let their negativity affect me. I knew that I would walk, run and dance again. Gradually, over the years, I began to lose hope, too. As soon as I let their negative words resonate in my mind, I began to give up. I stopped eating, stopped fighting, and prepared for my death. I wasted away to barely more than a skeleton. Then, one day everything changed. I was in a store trying to maneuver between the cramped aisles with my wheelchair. I was angry and feeling sorry for myself. I was so weak and frail I could barely turn the wheels. I had to back my wheelchair up because there wasn’t room to turn it around. As I did, I backed into a man in a wheelchair. Once I turned around to apologize, I saw that he was a double amputee. It humbled me. My legs were still attached and even though they weren’t working properly, I still had them. In that moment, I gave thanks for them. They were in pain, but I was thankful they were still there to hurt me. That revelation gave me the strength to keep fighting to get well. I took control of my own recovery. Within six months I was walking again. From that day, I never looked at anything the same way again. Now, with each step I take, no matter how much it hurts, I’m thankful for the ability to take that step.
Happiness Can Be Learned
Perhaps you have been negative and hopeless for so long that you need to start small. Perspective is a very personal thing. Finding happiness and developing optimism can be learned. To one person, a butterfly is a beautiful, miraculous creation. To another person, the butterfly is a bug and the beauty is lost on them. If you see a rainbow do you revel in the beauty or complain about the rain? To change your perspective, think about what makes you happy, what you appreciate or find beautiful. Ask yourself, how many times you stop and notice the gifts that are lost on you. If you consciously begin to look for something, anything, to be happy about or grateful for, you’ll start to find it. It will take conscious effort, but good habits can be formed, just like bad habits. Keep at it and eventually, it will become second nature and you won’t have to work at it.
You Deserve to Be Happy
You need to decide right now that this moment is precious and you deserve to be happy. Find something, no matter how minute, to be optimistic about. Make a conscious decision to have a positive attitude. Reclaim your enjoyment for life. I can hear you saying, that it sounds good, but how do you do that? If you’re at the bottom of a well, all you see is darkness.
What Do You Like About Yourself?
Walk over to a mirror. Look at it long and hard. Give yourself a compliment. What do you like about yourself: your smile, your eyes or your hair? Perhaps it isn’t something physical. Are you kind or have a great sense of humor? If you don’t like anything about yourself then ask a friend or family member what they like about you. Now do the same thing with your surroundings. Right where you’re sitting, find something nice, pretty or comfortable and notice it. Is the chair comfortable or is there a nice view out of the window? Is there something, no matter how small, that you can appreciate? If the answer is no, then decide right now to change it. If you don’t like your surroundings, what do you have to change? Would flowers, paint, new furniture or de-cluttering help? The point is that you can’t change your entire life today, but you can change something, no matter how small. It all starts with a decision.
Are You Lonely?
If you’re feeling hopeless because you’re alone, then ask if you’re the kind of person someone would want to be with. If you don’t like being with yourself, how can you expect that someone else will want to? People like to be with people who make them feel good about themselves. You don’t have to look like a movie star or have a lot of money to be attractive. A good personality and positive attitude are priceless. Develop your skills and your gifts and someone out there will appreciate you.
Live Your Best Life
Here at CDC, we want to offer you the tools to live your best life. You deserve to be hopeful, happy and fulfilled. There is no one else like you anywhere in the world. We need you to help others. We are trying to grow a worldwide community of people who truly care about one another. Join us. Develop an abundance of hope so that you have extra to share with someone less fortunate.
Focus on Where You Want to Go
Don’t give up. Hang in there. You may be down, but you are not defeated. Whatever struggles you may be facing don’t have to be permanent. Everything in life is temporary if you think about it. Don’t focus on where you are, but focus on where you want to go. You deserve all of the happiness the world has to offer.
Happiness, Optimism, Positivity, Enjoyment and HOPE to all,
Celebration Discovery Church