It is hard to find hope when faced with immense loss and hardship. It is not where our mind goes. We experience emotions that bring us to dark places: anger, hate, confusion. We don’t want to hear about hope in these times. It can seem like an insult if someone has the nerve to remind us that it will get better. We suppose that we would not be in this situation if life were fair. We struggle to make sense of things that can’t be rationalized.
The negative emotions all have their place, and we owe it to ourselves to feel them and honour them. How do we turn this into hope when we are ready? The first hurdle is understanding that living in these negative emotions does not mean that we will somehow be angry enough to heal ourselves magically. We can’t bring someone back who is gone; we can’t ignore the hardships we face.
On this blog, you will hear me quote a wise therapist that I have had in my corner for the last few years. I am at a place where I can share these thoughts with you, thanks to her help and guidance. One gift that she has given me is realizing that hindsight can be helpful. When we find ourselves in a difficult situation, it is often easy to develop a fatalistic mindset. “I will never feel good again.” “My life is ruined.” My therapist encouraged me to reflect on other very challenging times in my life. She reminded me that I got through those times. I have what it takes to overcome challenges. I have skills and tools.
In moments of deep grief, we convince ourselves that we will never feel better. We will be stuck in this state forever. I have found it helpful to journal in these moments. I write down all those feelings. I curse the universe for bringing me to this place; I curse those by whom I’ve felt wronged; I curse the unfairness of it all. It is sometimes helpful, but the real benefits come in moments when I feel better.
On good days, I write about the grass turning green, the birds singing, cat cuddles, the power of nature, and the love I feel. I write about sunsets and people who inspire me. I write about music and marvel at the gifts that surround me.
On difficult days, I read about the bad days and the good days. I remind myself that I have faced challenges before, but my track record is good. I have gotten through every single difficult day I have met so far. Even the days when I was convinced I could not go on. I am here, fighting the battle just like you, every day.
For me, hope lies in the realm of human connection. It lies in the knowledge that I will never stop learning. It lies in each spark I see in others who want to do good and be better. These very ideas have become a way of being for me. They remind me of why we are all here and that we can go on after facing significant loss.
We have what it takes; our track record is good. It gives me hope that you are on this journey along with me. I feel less alone. It gives me hope to know that we want better for everyone and are willing to do the work to get there.