How We Create and Keep Hope

We all  go through down times.  These down times are, many times, caused by everyday things that hover over us like a dark cloud spewing thunder, lightning and rain.  Sometimes they are caused by huge, life changing events, and we are constantly reminded of how our lives have changed by the turmoil we find ourselves in.

For these reasons, maintaining a healthy and positive outlook on life is extremely difficult.

What are we to do when we are stuck in depression and negativity, unable to do the things, or perform the tasks we had been accustomed to?

However hard it is to have a good attitude or to hope, we must always realize that the alternative, being grumpy and hope-less, is not where we want to be.  If we don’t have hope, it is easy to sink into depression and despair. Having hope is a way of being that makes our daily lives easier and gives us a reason for living.

Knowing that, however, doesn’t make it any easier to hope. Generating hope is difficult, and the harsh reality is that hope is not going to magically drop into our laps.

For some ideas on how to find hope we can look to a man who was imprisoned in Siberia, to see how he was able to deal with harsh conditions and hopelessness.

In his book, “House of the Dead”, Fyodor Dostoevsky details his time in Siberia. He felt that the drudgery and the pointlessness of the inmates’ lives took away the most human emotion, hope. Without hope, the prisoners were reduced to shells of themselves, as they went through the motions, simply existing from day to day.

Dostoevsky writes how some prisoners, the happier ones, or the ones with a good attitude, found it easier to endure their sentence, as opposed to the ones who sulked all day, miserable.

We all react so differently to our situations. Why do some of us thrive and fight, while others see every setback or hardship as a calamity, and stay stuck in that place with no hope? Maybe if we knew the answer, we could find a way to approach our situation differently.

There is something in each of us that causes us to look at the cup as half-full rather than half-empty. This “something” also causes us to either just go through the motions of our lives, or to thrive in the face of adversity. When the adversity we face has a very negative effect on our attitude, it also affects our ability to function and live a fulfilled life. Having no hope makes it impossible to see a positive outcome.

Winter, Spring and Hope

But how do we have hope when the adversity is great and everything looks so bleak, or we have constant pain, or we just can’t function the way we used to?

Having hope can be difficult, and the reality is that hope is not going to find us. We have to go out and find it, and we have to find it at the absolute worst time, just when everything looks absolutely hope-less. What if it is just too difficult to find hope?

Well, if we cannot find that glimmer of hope we are then going to have to manufacture it. We are going to have to manufacture hope by looking for something to drive us forward and to hold out there as a goal. That thing that drives us, day in and day out, is purpose.

Your purpose might be your kids, or your job, your work for the community, or living a fulfilled life. Our purpose is what drives us. We thrive on purpose.  Our purpose takes precedence over all other wants.

With a purpose we have a battle to fight, and having something to fight for, a future we can dream about, by definition, gives us hope.

Find that glimmer of hope that drives you and makes your life worthwhile by first finding your purpose.  Like a gold miner, dig and scrape until you find the shiny nugget that represents hope.  When you find it, honor it and honor your life by going after it, by not giving up, and by fighting the hard battles we have to fight every day.  Thrive on the promise that living your life holds, and thrive on the dream of finding more nuggets.










A Conversation with My TBI

Dear TBI,

I know you’re  not a person, you’re my stupid brain injury, but it’s about time we had a talk.  You have no idea what it’s like to live with you, and to always get messed up by you.

The first thing I’m doing, is I’m giving you a name. I’m going to call you “The Joker” from now on.  You know like Batman and “The Joker”?  You’re evil and diabolical, and you’ve always got this stupid grin on your face.

That name gives youKeep Reading