We, largely, perceive hope as what is left when everything positive fades away, a candle flickering in the midst of darkness. In this sense alone, hope is the sliver of light that shines at the end of a tunnel. It keeps a person committed to achieve an end, even when the means may be thought over again, or changed.
So, you may think that hope sustains life - or, does it? Can hope really sustain life when you're feeling down and out, when corruption threatens to put paid to your dreams, or when a loved one is dying of a terminal disease? Or, are these three precious, life-saving words, "hope sustains life," a mere balm to soothe someone else's pain?
As an encouraging force that stands in the face of negativity, hope is what remains when life is reduced to its positive core, the genesis of the conscious human mind — the driving force within. Contrary to widespread understanding, hope is the result of both desire and expectation. Hope is not mere desire. So, if hope is to work, your expectation must match your desire.
What is the difference?
Desire is but a dormant wish. Expectation, however, brings power into an equation, and this is what actually translates hope into a happening. If you feel you're not as hopeful as you should be, you have a think about, "What powers your hope?"
Christians perceive hope as God's promise for a brighter and better tomorrow. For these devout folks, hope is powered by faith in a Supreme Force. A more secular connotation of hope is in understanding that 'like calls to like'. So, while negativity breeds negativity, positive vibes have the power to herald a new dawn, and make all our dreams come true. Thus, as long as the mind carries a firm belief in the occurrence of an event, all the Powers-that-Be contrive to make it happen.
How? Since we live in an interconnected Universe, every thought that enters our mind has a bearing on the environment we live in. So, when we think positively about something that furthers the "cause of life" per se, we stand to draw a lot of energy to fuel our hopes.
"Hope" to win a lottery?
Having said that, it does not and should not mean that hope is used for selfish personal gain. Hope for frivolous and personal objectives normally does not work. For example, you may be powering your hope sufficiently, but what are you actually hoping for? If you're hoping to win a lottery, and tour the world, it is unlikely that the Universe will conspire to enable your passage, as it would hardly seem a purpose worthy of fulfilment.
Hope and health
Does hope influence health? Undoubtedly, yes. The connection lies in the essence of hope. It is a positive force, which - as we all know, and have hopefully [pun intended] experienced - is what keeps a mind interested and strong, and the body in good health.
Oncologist and Harvard Medical School Professor Jerome Groopman has written an interesting book that looks at hope - what it is, and what it signifies for cancer patients. His The Anatomy of Hope actually presents hope as [an] organ of the body that needs attention and sustenance.
Hope is no less than a vital organ. As Groopman explains, "[Hope is] the elevating feeling we experience when we see - in the mind's eye - a path to a better future. Hope acknowledges the significant obstacles and deep pitfalls along that path. True hope has no room for delusion."
As much as true hope is not based on an illusion, it exists independently of its nemesis - despair, or a state of no expectation.
It may apparently seem hard to keep up your spirit when the going gets tough, but understanding what hope is all about will help you ride over the waves, and reach your destination.
[For a different perspective, read Prefer, don't Demand.]
Read more about Dr Groopman's work.
Hope is Belief
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope
— Martin Luther King, Jr
Hope is a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. Hope implies a certain amount of perseverance - i.e., believing that a positive outcome is possible even when there is some evidence to the contrary. Beyond the basic definition, usage of the term hope follows some basic patterns which distinguish its usage from related terms:
Hopefulness is somewhat different from optimism in that hope is an emotional state, whereas optimism is a conclusion reached through a deliberate thought pattern that leads to a positive attitude. But hope and optimism both can be based in unrealistic belief, or fantasy.
Hope is often the result of faith in that while hope is an emotion, faith carries a divinely inspired and informed form of positive belief. Hope is typically contrasted with despair, but despair may also refer to a crisis of faith. Hence, when used in a religious context, hope carries a connotation being aware of spiritual truth. Hope is passive in the sense of a wish or a prayer or active as a plan or idea, often against popular belief, with persistent, personal action to execute the plan or prove the idea. Consider a prisoner of war who never gives up hope for escape and, against the odds, plans and accomplishes this. By contrast, consider another prisoner who simply wishes or prays for freedom, or another who gives up all hope of freedom.
Spot an error in this article? A typo maybe? Or an incorrect source? Let us know!