It’s too easy to feel hopeless right now.
Between the ongoing insanity in the handling of the pandemic; a contentious and ugly presidential election; a resurgence of racism, sexism, and matters we thought had been overcome a couple of decades ago; and a major lack of kindness and empathy from our leadership (and people in general, frankly) — hope is taking a real beating.
Despite the pictures of awfulness, terrible people, and ongoing negativity being broadcast — hope is not lost. We can still change the direction we are going and alter the messages for the better.
Because we live in a fear-based society, too many of those “in power” abuse the underlying fear, weaponizing it for their enlargement. They create a major “us versus them” narrative, projecting all the ills of our culture on “them.” The truth, all too often, is that those projecting are the true culprits.
The opposite of fear is not love. Neither is it courage. The opposite of fear is reason.
Reason is how science explains the importance of wearing a face mask and social distancing. It is reason that explains how humankind has dangerously accelerated climate change and needs to fix it. Reason lets you see what FDR famously meant when he said,
“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”
Reason ties directly into hope.
Desperation and hope
Some people love when those they consider “beneath” them become desperate. Why? Because desperate people are imminently malleable.
Do you really think Trump would have any power whatsoever if he didn’t appeal to a desperate population? People who think their way of life is under attack? Because look at his whole message — your way of life is being taken from you and I am the only one who can save you.
A little applied reason shows that nothing could be farther from the truth. Trump and the GOP have been the cause of the suffering they claim to be capable of alleviating.
Unfortunately, their actions are causing desperation among reasonable people. How do we stop these people from destroying the country? They’re doing everything they can to cheat to win up-to and including forcing someone onto the Supreme Court who will unquestionably side with the President and his party.
Before I turn this into a political rant — let me pull it back on topic. Desperation can feel very much like the opposite of hope. But it can also stir new hope.
What you do when you feel desperate is a choice. Overall, you have three options:
1. Give up. Why bother when you cannot win? This can be either literal or figurative death.
2. Accept it. You can’t win so you might as well just accept what is.
3. Resist it. Find a new avenue to create and hold onto hope.
In a desperate hour, hope can be found. That’s because no matter what the situation is there’s always an option.
Sometimes the greatest hope is borne from desperation.
Hope for a better world
The pandemic has changed the world. Like it or not, how life was before COVID-19 is not how it will be again.
A lot of people have lost their jobs, their businesses, and their way of life in this situation. Others have experienced difficult and crazy changes — work from home, kids either schooling remotely or in less-than-perfect hybrid programs — with no end in sight.
The uncertainty of it all has caused the collective consciousness to appear more and more hopeless.
But that’s not the only story.
Some people used this time to reevaluate their lives. Maybe they found a much better work/life balance. Some people took the unexpected time off to learn something new. Other people started new businesses or pursued a passion they couldn’t before COVID-19.
I have exponentially increased my writing practices during this time. The increased productivity I’m experiencing is driving me to find new inspiration and new hope for the present as well as the future.
One of the hardest things to accept that the pandemic exposed was a way of life that’s unsustainable. For instance, how many 9–5 jobs REALLY require 8 hours of work time? How many office jobs can be performed remotely? The way things have been for the past 50 years or so are illogical. They aren’t how they MUST be.
While many people hope to return to life as it was pre-COVID, others see that change is necessary. This pandemic sucks on a lot of levels — but from its ashes, a phoenix can arise.
You are empowered
It is far too easy to believe that other people control this, that, or the other thing. But who else is inside your head but you?
You are the only one inside your head. That means that you’re the only one thinking, feeling, and acting for you. Thus, you are empowered.
Empowerment means you have the power. It’s not in the hands of anyone else — unless you ceded it to them. And even then, it’s still yours because you have chosen to follow along without question or accept what you would rather not.
Change is the only constant in the entire universe. That’s it. Change is going to happen. Sometimes it’s monstrous and impacts everything. More often, though, it’s microscopic and the impact may not be felt for some time.
Understanding and acknowledging this opens you to the power of altering and controlling it. How? By being aware that it will happen — like it or not — and being prepared to work with it in some way when it does.
Being empowered means that you are in control. Control is an elusive concept people tend to think is out of their reach. But it’s not.
Since you alone are inside your head — you alone can control what is happening in there. Being mindful of your thoughts, feelings, actions, and intentions opens access to the deeper recesses of your mindset/headspace/psyche. From there, you can address your beliefs and habits — and change them as necessary.
This is an inherently hopeful practice.
A light in the dark
Despite messages to the contrary bombarding you constantly — you are capable of amazing things.
A great deal of the negativity and uncertainty gets weaponized to disempower people. Disempowered people turn to demagogues, religion, cults, and others to find hope.
But hope lies within you and me.
You are capable of getting through anything you encounter. Don’t believe me? If you are reading these words, then you’ve overcome any awful thing that happened to you. You are still here. There is still opportunity and potential to act.
No two days are alike. Every day may present you with hopelessness — but it also presents you with potential and possibility. Therein lies hope.
Hope is not blind optimism. Hope is belief in the ability to change the bad to good, the dark to light, the negativity to positivity.
Even the smallest sliver of hope can change matters of any size.
The collective consciousness currently feels like a dark room. But hope is a beacon of light. When you hold onto your hope you add to the light of the collective. The more light we have the brighter it gets. From there we have the power to push past the darkness to the other side.
Finally — you are worthy and deserving of hope. It is not a matter of entitlement — hope belongs to everyone. Hold onto your hope because you are worth it. Your life is worthy of it.
We are all in this life together. Everyone shares the world. With few exceptions, nobody wants to harm anyone — we all desire to have good for ourselves — and everyone else, too. Hold onto your hope and share it to light the way for you and everyone.
Thank you for reading. I am MJ Blehart. I write about mindfulness, conscious reality creation, positivity, and similar life lessons.
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