No matter what we’ve been through, no matter what kinds of traumas we’ve experienced, no matter what we hear in the news, we can always regain hope. When crappy things happen – and they most certainly will – we have a number of choices in what we do. Positive psychology, the science of happiness and human flourishing, offers us a number of practical, effective strategies that we can employ to keep going, to grow, and to thrive, and to regain our hope.
I begin with a discussion of the relationship between goals and hope, and how goals start in the mind while hope starts in the heart, with emotions. Both are vital, but hope should precede goals. Hope is the igniter for all of your goals. According to Hope Theory (by C. R. Snyder), hope gives us motivation and strategies towards our goals. It’s normal, and healthy, to feel down, to feel hopeless, to drown yourself in Ben and Jerry’s, for a while. But you can’t stay there. You need to move through it. And all you need is the tiniest bit of hope, the realization that things can get better, that the world can be a little brighter. I offer concrete examples from women with whom I’ve worked, women who felt hopeless and in whom I helped cultivate a renewed feeling of hope.
I share a story about Dr. Chris Feudtner, who works with terminally ill children in palliative care at CHOP in Philadelphia, and how he and his staff help the families of these children find something to be hopeful about.
I share the heartbreaking and awe-inspiring story of Karla Jacinto, a victim of human trafficking who survived years of horror and still rebuilt her hope in the world. She now uses her experiences as fuel to fight for others. Hope gives us motivation, agency, and strategies. Drawing from this example, I consider what strategies I can come up with to rebuild my own hope in a troubled world.
I introduce the concepts of pessimistic thinking styles and optimistic thinking styles, how to shift from the former to the latter, and why this is so important. Adopting an optimistic thinking style is crucial to overcoming hopelessness and to developing and implementing strategies to move our lives forward, and I end with a few Purpose Power Tips to help you nurture an optimistic thinking style. Also, I mention my 4-week Living On Purpose course, which you can learn about here.
If you'd like to learn more about pessimistic and optimistic thinking styles, check out Dr. Seligman's book, Learned Optimism, available at Amazon here.
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May you live purposefully, may you love yourself, and may you love life.
Bye for now!