Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hope and Hope Deferred

In the corner behind me lies the pile of things I hoped for that didn't materialize.  In front of me lies the possibility of that next new hope. Most days I can choose the hope in front of me and keep on moving. Some days the pile overwhelms me and I decide that hope is not only useless, but hurtful.  Those are the days I believe, "Hope is what you do to set yourself up."  The internal reprimand resounds: "Why did you go and get your hopes up again?"
And the pile grows bigger.
Hope is a function of the heart.  It is a combination of two other feelings:  expectation and desire. An expectation is waiting for something; looking for somehting.  You just know that the object of your hope is just around the corner.  Desire is a longing for something you want.  Between the expectation and desire is a thought, or hope, that says it just might be possible.  
When things don't come about the way we hoped, we are disappointed and perhaps deeper than that, we are disillusioned.  Those are difficult emotions to master, so we often ignore the emotion and through hope into the pile in the corner, telling ourselves we were foolish to hope, or that it really didn't matter. 

This disappointment left unprocessed becomes hope deferred.  And deferred hope makes the heart sick.  It causes physical problems such as stomach and headache issues.  Hope deferred can result in depression, cynicism, or the development of a guarded heart.  It can leave us immobolized, unable to set goals or go after what we want or need.  Deferred hope is toxic.
Having hope is so important to restoring you and getting the life you want.  Here are some thoughts about how to manage hope:
1. Examine what are you hoping in? Is it realistic?  Are you hoping in another person, in a situation or outcome, or in the inner strengths and capacity of who you are? 
2.  Combine hope with action.  If you are hoping in a new job, you'll have to do something to find that job, send the resume, interview, etc.  If you're hoping to be restored to all you were capable of being, you'll have do the hard work of making exchanges in your thinking.
3. Process the disappointments.  Acknowledge that you are disappointed without making excuses or beating yourself up.
4.  Learn from it - was your expectation unrealistic?  Did you need to take more action?  What can you do differently.
5.  Choose to try again!

Hope keeps you moving.  Hope deferred keeps you stuck.  Choose Hope!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Change your mind

I remember saying it to her - "Make a different choice."  She looked at me kind of shocked, almost offended looking (don't worry, it wasn't one of my ladies at Connections!)  I realized several things in that moment.  First, she didn't understand she could make a different choice.  And secondly, she didn't know what her options were.

It made me stop and reflect about how we make our choices.  What information do we use?  Often I think we make a choice based on our experiences and what we've interpreted them to be.
  • If your experiences have been the trauma of sex abuse, and you've interpreted that to mean that you are shame, your choices will be made from that perspective.  But is that really true?
  • If you've had trouble in school, and you've interpreted that to mean that you are not smart, your choices will be made from that perspective.  But is that really true?
One of our exercises in our Advance! Workbook requires the reader to explore this concept.  What is the distinction between reality and truth?  Here's what happens:  You have an event or experience  (realty), you interpret the event and assign a meaning to it that you live out of, (your truth); except your assigned truth may not be the truth at all!

An example:  Reality/event: I was molested.  Assigned truth:  I'm disgusting.  Truth:  Something disgusting happened, I'm not disgusting. 

An example:  Reality: a little girl is at her dance recital watching for her parents.  They don't show up.  Assigned truth:  "I don't matter."  Truth:  Her parents were delayed by a traffic accident.

When you separate it out and recognize your assigned truth vs. the truth of the situation, you can then use your power of agreement and align with the truth, not the destructive assigned truth that is impacting your life. I'm often asked, how do I know it's truth? Our definition of truth: truth is defined as the concepts and thoughts that move you closer to a sense of freedom, hope, purpose and destiny. Truth is about knowing the accuracy in spite of what the reality of events may tell you. 

You absolutely can change your mind!  You have a choice! Choosing the truth will lead to new freedom to make different choices! That's power!  That's truth!