I think we can all agree that our world is full of negativity. All we have to do is turn on the television, tap on our social media apps on our phones, or even look on the internet, and the negativity glares up at us with a poisonous gaze. With the world going through crisis after crisis, it makes it difficult to be positive or even hopeful. But I would like to pose a question to each and every one of us. What if a hopeful spirit begins within each and every one of us and in our homes? I will admit that a hopeful mindset does not make the problems in our world go away. But what it can do is help us rise above the conflict and gives us something to look forward to. How to we cultivate this hopeful spirit within each of us?
First we have to make a decision to look for the good in a situation. Allow me to make a full confession. This is not an easy thing to do at all! Our first instinct is to focus on the negative in each and every situation. However, focusing on the negative only serves to drive us to the point of despair. It also puts us in a perpetual cycle of helplessness. Focusing on the good and ways to move forward helps us focus on what we are responsible for in the situation rather then on trying to fix a problem that is not our responsibility to fix.
Second, we have to surround ourselves with people that support and care about us. We can’t cultivate a hopeful spirit if we have several people around us that are negative or toxic. This may mean that we have to set some firm boundaries with these individuals or even cut off some our relationships with them. Setting boundaries is difficult when we first do it, but it gets easier with practice. Having safe and healthy relationships can help us cultivate a strong sense of hope especially when we can’t see it ourselves.
Third, we have to be willing to focus on what we can control versus what we can’t. I know this is a statement that many of us has heard, and it probably drives some of us crazy. But there is a lot of truth to this statement. We often tend to focus on the things in our lives that we can’t do anything about and that tends make us feel afraid or even cause us to panic. When we choose to focus on the things that we can do something about and have a choice over, it gives us a sense of freedom.
Fourth, we limit how much we focus on the news, social media, or anything negative. I think that many of us can concur that being on social and the news for long periods of time can bring down our overall mood. The internet or even social media is not meant to be focused on for long periods of time, especially with our tendency to hyper focus on the negative. When we decide to limit negative stimuli in our lives, we safe guard our minds and generate a mindset of hope.
Finally, we focus on moving forward no matter how hard the situation is. I see this happen in my line of work a lot. People come to me feeling stuck in some rut emotionally or mentally and they don’t know of a way to get back out. In situations like this, we have to decide what it is that we need in order to move forward. This could involve ending a toxic relationship, starting a healthier diet, etc. This may mean that we have to make some pretty hard decisions, but it is worth it if we get out of the rut.
Building up hope is always a hard thing for us to do and it’s hard to hold onto it once we have it. However, it is necessary for each and every one to create and hold onto when things are uncertain, hard, or in trouble. Think of it this way. Hope is the fuel that keeps us going no matter what terrain we are navigating through and gets us to a better destination overall even if we don’t always see it.