DON’T LOSE HOPE
I asked a question in the first blog about hope. Is it a double edged sword? The answer to that is subjective and varies, depending on what part of life’s road we are on. A sword can help us or hurt us. Our thoughts can help us or hurt us. What choice do we have? What choice will we make? How strong is our desire to make hope the default-setting in our lives, to fight the battle of optimism versus negativism? We need hope in our lives as much as we do water. We need it to keep us focused on whatever task we’re working on. We need it to keep alive. We need it to grieve – because without Hope we would not know how to move past whatever boulder is in our way. We would not have the strength to push it, or even care.
Life has so many situations when we need the fire of hope burning inside us. Perceive it as a weapon of clarity allowing you to search and find the answers you need, to find the tools you need to move forward in life.
Hope is the rope that pulls us to shore.
Imagine if Hope was an actual place and not just a state of mind. A place we could visit when our negative thoughts drowned the optimistic thoughts, and led us to believe that there was no way forward, that our low expectations of life far outweighed the true reality. Imagine if we could visit Hope every day. What would the journey be like? How would it make us feel? Would it change our way of thinking or would we do things differently? There’s only one way to find out. Come with me on this journey.
Right now you feel hopeless. You can’t see any way out of this space – a space filled with negative thoughts, fear, and a sense of worthlessness. You know you won’t succeed. Really?
You don’t you can’t change the way you think because nothing around you is positive. Really?
Take your negative thoughts out of your head and write them down. They are merely a jumble of letters without any power. You are giving them power, so it’s time for you to switch off the power supply.
What’s your greatest fear? Failing your exams? Disappointing your parents? Letting yourself down? Not being passionate about what you’re studying? Not understanding anything?
When we colour our thoughts with pessimism every word we have written down seems true to us. After all, we have the proof. We are failing every subject. So why are you still here if you feel so hopeless? What’s stopping you from leaving and doing something else? Dig deep. Be honest with yourself. Don’t overthink it. You’ve emptied your mind of the negative thoughts that convince you that you’re a failure. They are right in front of you in black and white. Now perceive your mind as a new and blank canvas and write the opposite.
What words could you write down to replace the ones you’ve discarded? ‘I won’t fail my exams. I won’t disappoint my parents, but most of all I won’t disappoint myself or let myself down. I can get help. The resources are there and plenty of willing people to help. One simple phone call will get me back to that place called Hope. I have the ability to study and absorb information. This is just a temporary glitch at one moment in time and I can and will overcome it. Why? Because I know deep down I can do it and I truly want to.’
HOPE AS A TOOL
Sean Abrahams (third row from front, second right) has been working to support students in residence through the recently launched Study Buddy pilot programme. He was photographed with former and current residence leaders and staff of the Residence Life Division.
Hope on its own won’t save us from whatever situation we are battling with. Yes, it’s a light shining in the darkness, but it needs a power supply. This is where we need to dig deep using Hope to shine into every corner, to see both obstructions and furtherance. We can easily fool ourselves into a false state of optimism, a false state of hope. Sure that’s a great feeling, but how do we use it to physically project us forward?
As a student you may be overwhelmed with other emotional issues besides the struggle with coursework, or understanding of particular subjects, issues that are clouding your judgement, creating doubts about your abilities.
Initially, a glimmer of hope may shift you into a different mindset and you pat yourself on the back.
‘Just get on with it.’
‘I can do this.’
‘No-one said it would be easy.’
A brief surge of energy propels you forward and then Oof! Because you haven’t addressed any latent problems or issues, the balloon bursts. What’s the solution? How do you get back on the road to A Place Called Hope?
The answer is simple. Seek help – be it an on-campus counsellor, mentor, study-coach, or a life-coach. Find someone to clarify the map. Acknowledge any weaknesses and ascertain strengths. Strengthen hope by charging up the power supply with all other necessary elements, ones relevant to your situation.
Quote from Sean Abrahams, University of Capetown.
“To move beyond hope you’ve got to be Willing to anticipate an obstacle in advance and plan not for the wish or hope, but plan how to overcome the obstacle. You want secret sauce …sure!
WOOP (wish, outcome, obstacle, plan).
Try woop square! As in woop – your woop meaning once you come up with a plan to overcome an obstacle, ask yourself what is the obstacle to that plan and then plan to overcome that too. Then your hope becomes grounded in solution focused action…where the real magic happens.”
The originator of Woop is Gabriele Oettingen – rethinking positive thinking. (Link to articles in Cape Argus, March and April 2022 – by Helen Swingler and Matthew Petersen).
GROWTH AND DEVELOPMENT
Everything has a beginning, middle, and end. The steps you took in the past have led you to this particular point in your life. However, patterns evolve and you may need to change the tempo of your stride, and adapt to new situations.
As a child you learned to walk, initially using any supports around you. Soon you walked on your own and you picked yourself up when you fell. Then you ran – often for the sheer joy of it. You adapted to your environment. You learned how to ask for help. You developed and continually learned new skills. Continue with those steps in your life. Remember to run just for the sheer joy of it!
Read my blog – A place called hope!
I have written two novels available on Amazon