Encouraging Hope ~ Coaching 4 Health & Wellness

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Encouraging Hope

What is hope? It is not just positive thinking, a good mindset, or optimism.

Webster's Online dictionary defines hope as "to desire with expectation of obtainment" and "to expect with confidence". It is the feeling that what is desired can be obtained. We can get what we want and that events will turn out for the best.

Other examples or descriptions of hope:

  • An adventure, a going forward, a confident search

  • A multidimensional dynamic force, characterized by a confident yet uncertain expectation of achieving a future goal. Which, to the hoping person, is realistically possible and personally significant.

  • The elevating feeling we experience when we see, in our thoughts and dreams, a path to a better life, a brighter future...with the understanding that significant barriers may exist along the way.

  • A non-linear path with many twists and turn of doubt and fear that can negatively affect the view of it

  • The feeling of knowing how to get what you want out of life and the desire to make it happen.

  • A faith in the unseen

  • A spiritual certainty

Without hope there is despair. Studies show that when there is no hope then there often people contemplating death and suicide. When people choose to stop living in their current realm of pain, fear and negative circumstances and seek help (counseling, a friend, a pastor) they are seeking a more hopeful life. We have two paths when dealing with people in despair. We can focus on their mistakes (those twists and turns along the non-linear path), what is wrong with them or we can focus on strengths, their potential for right, so that they may regain hope. Research shows that depressive symptoms decrease as hope is increased.

It is important that we all maintain an attitude of hope. Our attitude and behavior is what helps elicit hope and positive behavior in others. It is important that we express our faith in others and their ability to succeed. We must encourage and empower those we come in contact with to see beyond the discouraging circumstances. We must give them another picture to view, one of possibilities and potential. Hope is contagious, forward-thinking and goal oriented.

Still more essential is that we help others restore their faith in themselves. Once they believe in their own ability to change, then they can see that the circumstances are only temporary and they can get back on the road to hope.

When we encourage exploration of alternatives to the discouraging situation, we are instilling hope. We can do this by validating their feelings of despair, but not giving credence to the lie of despair. We can give them power over the situation by exploring options and alternatives and providing a sounding board for problem-solving. When they learn to develop hope from the inside out, even in one small aspect of their life, they can take that seed of hope and water it into a whole garden of hope. They can take that sliver and generalize it to a whole host of other life situations. They will begin to see possibilities that were once invisible to them.

When people restore hope they can explore where they were and derive meaning from it. They can learn from the past and move forward. They have the ability to set and achieve realistic goals. When the feeling of hope is restored people often feel more capable; they can do what is needed, see beyond today, and visualize their future.

Additional resources:









No comments:

Post a Comment

eXTReMe Tracker