Lately, I am having a hard time with the concept of hope. I remember living without any hope a few years ago. Now, I am almost to that point again. You see, hope scares me. I remember right before graduate school – I felt like the world was wide open for me. As I began to struggle, I lost a lot of that hope. Even though I gained pieces of it back, I almost become hesitant to be present in it.
Hope is such a peculiar emotion. It’s there to give you something to look forward to. It gives you something to strive for. It gives you faith that there is more out there for you. But the thought of having those things paralyzes me, because what if nothing happens with it? What if nothing changes? What if nothing comes to be of any of my hopes? What if that’s all I become – just me and my hopes?
I hear a lot about how hope gives people a reason to live. Depression stole my hope and anxiety creates fear of it. Then I end up just thinking about all the negative things that can happen because if it doesn’t happen then I’m pleasantly surprised and if it does then it’s what I was expecting. I understand that may not be the best way to live, being always ready for something bad, by not having hope protects me from disappointment.
Having hope is a risk. It’s risk that I’m not always willing to make. Recently I learned that having hope just leaves you disappointed. The thing is, I know not having hope is scary, but I can’t seem to shake my fear. Getting hurt is one of my biggest fears and hope only exacerbates the chance of that occurring.
I came to realize, that hope helps make life move. I am nervous to get my hopes up about my future, but if I don’t – how do I push myself to work for it? When will I get a chance to get excited again? I want to talk about the future with my boyfriend. I want to strive for future goals. So how do I do that? How do I not let anxiety and depression win?
I’m going to start hoping for small things (thanks to Marie from Hope Catches the Fall for the idea). For a good episode of a television show. For a good night with friends. For a good dinner. Eventually, I will start working on hoping for more meaningful things. Slowly, I will start having hope again. Being vulnerable. Hoping for something. Being okay if I was disappointed, because at least I was able to feel hope, and for a time, I wasn’t able to.
Below are four books that encourage me to have hope.