Hope is my favorite subject ever because it is life-giving. It heals. It is truthful. It is much more than being positive. It is so grounding to me.
I get aggravated when I hear people use the word “hope” as “I am a-hopin’ and a-wishin!” Nope. Hope is so much more solid than that.
In my Emotional Intelligence orbit, hope is directly related to our general well-beingness and happiness. I often test a client’s hope levels by asking some direct questions and that often tells me a lot about the person.
There are many words that seem to conflate in meaning but if you unravel them and search them out, you will find the nuances. Words such as positivity, optimism, and hope are often used interchangeably. But let’s not do that anymore.
A few weeks ago, in my newsletter on optimism, I quoted the godfather of positive psychology, Martin Seligman’s statement: “Positive thinking is the notion that if you think good thoughts, things will work out well. Optimism is the feeling of thinking things will be well and be hopeful.”
Positive thinking addresses the quality of your thoughts: good thoughts.
Optimism is the feeling that accompanies good thoughts: The feeling that all will be well.
Hope is not a feeling or a thought. It is your beingness. It is defined as “to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true; to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfillment, to expect with confidence; trust” Merriam-Webster dictionary.
The Spirit of Hope:
We cannot talk about hope without including the spiritual dimensions of it. What gives us confidence and trust? It is the spiritual aspect, the greater and grander picture. Every religion addresses hope. As a woman of faith, I view hope through my spiritual tradition.
The Hebrew word for “hope” as used in the Old Testament is “Tiqvah” and it means “expectancy, the thing that I long for, a cord, an attachment.” How lovely. It grounds. It holds, right? I love that image of a cord that attaches me to something unseen.
The Greek word for “hope” is “Elpis” in the New Testament and it means “confident expectation – a forward look with assurance, the anticipation of good. God is the author of hope. Not the subject of it. It is a factor in endurance. It is a complete activity.” Wow.
Researching the richness of these words was so delightful as I discovered that “hope,” a word that we commonly use is not just something that we experience in our emotions, but it is considered the entrance way to “the other side.” It is part of this “other side.” It adds the spiritual dimension to positivity and gives us a grounding.
“God is the author of Hope. Not the subject of it.” Wow!
Let that sink it. Those words reverberated in my soul!
It is not a way to get to that longing for connection with All That Is. No. It is All That Is.
The Divine is the author of hope and writes it on our hearts. There is nothing we do to generate hope but when we experience it, we must receive the comfort that goes with it that we are in relationship and connected to the Divine. There is something mystical, miraculous and magical about hope.
I believe that when we move from being positive into that hope, it is because a mysterious portal has opened that reciprocates and rewards our optimism and positivity and gives life to that which we hope for.
Hope places a seal on our positivity and optimism with a Divine blessing.
This is why hope is so sacred. It reaches into the unknown and adds tangibility to something so intangible.
Therefore, hope must be moral. How can we talk about God, Creation, Divinity and the larger picture of what this life is about and not address morality?
Hope animates and enlivens our values. It helps us fall in love with life again, reaching for good that is life giving, not just to us but others too.
When we hope, it has to be for something life-affirming, healing, good, loving, abundant, productive and whole.
And so, we can expect push back against it.
Our own feelings will push against hope and wonder if we are connected to this elaborate Divinity. Others will tell us that our moral compass is based on obsolete spiritual traditions. And our senses may not pick up on evidence to support our convictions.
Yet, we persist with hope.
Well, hope allows us to tell the truth and locate ourselves in the image of the much bigger picture of all of humanity.
Beloved, if you are graced with hope, you have an obligation to infuse it into your human interactions and multiply it to others. You have an obligation to believe that hope yields good fruit and you can work with hope to effect powerful change in the world.
Doing the right thing matters.
But stuff comes against hope and we must be aware of that.
Shame and Hope
Psalm 25:2 in my sacred text, says, “O my God, in you I trust; do not let me be put to shame.”
That word “trust” is another Hebrew word for hope.
- Shame says we are not worthy.
- Shame says we are taking up too much space.
- Shame shrivels us up.
- Shame eats away at our bones, slowly fading us away from life.
- Shame is at the core of why we need hope.
You see, my loves, hope is the antithesis to shame.
- Hope says we are worthy.
- Hope says there is plenty of room for each of us.
- Hope swells our lungs with rich oxygen, giving us fullness of life.
- Hope nourishes and loves us as the beloved of the Divine
- Hope connects the goodness of tomorrow to today.
Many of my female clients struggle with shame: They feel ashamed of bodies, of wanting more money, of wanting to be powerful, of wanting a partner, of being tired – the list is endless.
My male clients that become aware of their shame, it shows up in anger, protectiveness and shame about not having enough money.
Phew! What have we done to these precious souls as a society?
When I ask them: “What is your hope?” or “What is it that you hope for?” after I explain to them what it means, the look of relief on their faces is holy. Usually, they cry. They have not visited their hopes in quite some time.
Beloved, hope heals. Just the presence of it heals. I want you to know that you do not have to work at hope. It is something floating around in the ether and you just have to tune into it. It may show up in the yellow daffodils of Spring. It may show up as a smile on a child’s lips, a balloon that floats past you. It may just spill out of your lips as you say, “I hope….”
You hope, don’t you?
I know my mantra this week is: I hope. Period. Just saying the word dials me into it. My lips curl with a small secretive smile as I say this, and I receive all that the word holds for me. Let’s make this our mantra this week, ok?
My further invitation to you this week is to live into “hope” powerfully and intentionally this week:
- See it connecting you to something sure, something greater than you can even imagine.
- See it adding miraculous layers and mysterious dimensions to what you bring hope to.
- See it in your business as you are not just making a buck but by intentionally designing your product or services as agents of hope.
- See it in your community by seeking opportunities to plant hopeful words and opportunities in your physical space, since you know, through the eyes of hope, that tomorrow will be even better than today.
- See it in your leadership role by making sure your key relationships hear your hope-filled words and that there is a palpable hope in your project, product or services.
Let me know how living into hope works for you this week. I only expect miracles for you.