It’s Always Darkest Before the Dawn
“Hope knows no fear. Hope dares to blossom even inside the abysmal abyss. Hope secretly feeds and strengthens.” -Sri Chinmoy.
According to the National Coalition for Cancer Suvivorship, hope “is essential for managing and adjusting to an illness.” This illness can be mental or physical, long or short term, or life-altering. So what is hope?
Hope is a way of thinking, feeling, and acting. It is a protective mechanism that everybody obtains differently.
Hope comes from two sources: internal and external.
Internal sources include: self-knowledge and your belief system.
-Self-knowledge- self-knowledge is knowing who you are. It is knowing your strengths and weaknesses and not focusing on one or the other. It is looking at yourself as a whole person. You are not defined by your weaknesses, illnesses, or struggles. You need to recognize your strength and use this strength to get you through your struggles.
-Belief-system- Whether you believe in an all powerful God, that there is an answer to every problem, that people are basically good, or that all things happen for a reason, we all have a belief system. When things get difficult, you need to remember these positive beliefs and hold onto them.
External sources of hope include: Those around you, mentor and role models, and aesthetic experiences.
-Those around you-There is always someone who has it worse than you. Don’t believe me? Turn on the news. People are being forced from their homes, family members are being killed, young adults and children are being sold as sex slaves. As you look to people who have overcome these experiences, you may realize you too have the power to overcome your own circumstances. People in your similar position have come out on top. Look to them for guidance. If they can do it, so can you.
-Mentors and role models- Again, look to someone you admire. Think of how you would make this person feel pride when they think of you. Are they going to be proud you gave up and had a pity party? Or are they going to be proud that despite all the odds against you, you were able to push through and not let it define you?
-Aesthetic experience and nature- Sometimes you need to get away from the world surrounding you and find hope elsewhere. Read a good. Watch an uplifting show. Go for a walk in nature. Look at art. Do something that uplifts you and gives you hope for the future. Life is hard, but hope can be found all around you, if you just look.
“Hope is like the sun, which as we journey toward it, casts the shadow of our burden behind it.”-Samuel Smiles
“To live without hope is to cease to live.”-Fiodor Mihailovici Dostoevski