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Hope is How We Cope

Hope is How We Cope

Are you an optimist?

I know I am. I’ve always been the glass-half-full kind of person.

If I had to guess, it’s probably because I consider myself to be pretty lucky. This luck doesn’t just appear out of thin air—I constantly look for new opportunities to put myself out there.

While doing this, there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t tell myself, “Everything is going to be OK.”

After hearing this, you might assume I’m an anxious mess.

Quite the contrary. I’ve never had issues with anxiety or depression, but like any other human, I do experience self-doubt. Repeating this daily reminder is just one of the small things that helps me get through the day.

For others, it’s not as easy. There are plenty of people out there who feel as if everything is hopeless, that hope is just a lie we tell ourselves.

You know what? I can’t help but agree.

If you ask me, there’s nothing wrong with a productive lie. Much like Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, giving ourselves a little hope can help us cope with the uncertainty and chaos that life tends to throw at us.

Remaining optimistic is a fundamental part of being human. Otherwise, what would be the point of living?

I promise, this isn’t going to get any darker. I’ve just always been fascinated by the part that hope plays in our day-to-day lives.

Another thing I observe is that most people seem to believe hope is binary: you either have it or you don’t. That’s it. End of story.

I don’t buy it.

Much like the debate between good and evil, I believe there’s a little optimism and a little pessimism in everyone. You can try to deny it, but let’s be honest with ourselves: not every thought that has crossed your mind has been about sunshine and daisies.

Sometimes, life seems futile and we have no idea how to cope. During these times, people may say they feel “hopeless.”

Let me peel back the curtain and share my personal experience with hope.

I’ve been freelancing since before I graduated and I’ve gotten used to the weekly existential crisis that comes with working for yourself. During these quasi-breakdowns, I can’t help but think that everything I’ve done over the past decade has been pointless and that I have no hope of creating a better future for myself or others…self-doubt at its finest.

Admittedly, I’m nowhere near where I want to be.

But after a few minutes of pity and self-loathing, I come back down to Earth and realize that I’m doing all of this for a very specific reason. I’m laying my own groundwork for a much more stable future. I can’t help but have hope that my struggle now will eventually pay off.

You don’t have to work for yourself in order to feel the same way. I’m sure we all have things that we hope for. A better life, more money, the chance to travel, close friends, you name it. All of these things give us something to look forward to.

Some might say hope is the only thing that moves our lives forward.

Without it, we would give in, pack up, and call it quits.

Since these moments of hopelessness inevitably hit us like a ton of bricks, how exactly are we supposed to make it through?

Whenever I feel hopeless, I make sure to do two things:

  1. Find a close friend who will listen to my craziness.
  2. Revisit my long-term goals and the short-term actions I can take to move toward them.

Usually, this is enough to course-correct and put me back on the straight and narrow.

By talking with a friend, I’m able to get everything out of my head, which helps me to avoid becoming my own worst enemy. It’s not easy to open up and be this vulnerable, but isn’t that what friends are for?

Once I calm down, I’m able to look ahead towards my goals. More often than not, something I’m doing, or not doing, isn’t adding up to where I want to be in the future.

If you haven’t made time to set any goals, this could be what’s causing a sense of hopelessness in the first place.

Whatever you’re going through, it won’t last forever. Every valley has a peak, every cloud has a silver lining, and every night is followed by a new day.

Clichés aside, when things get bad, take a few minutes to identify what brings you hope.

You might be surprised at what you find.

How do you cope when you feel like there isn’t any hope?

This post reflects the views of the author, and is intended to start a conversation. Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Or, if you’d like to hear some overall thoughts on hope from Christians at THRED, you can find those over here.

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William is a freelance designer, writer, and founder of Collide, a company that is creating a better, deeper way to connect with others over shared ideas and skills. He is passionate about turning ideas into action and helping others do the same. When not working, William leads a double life as a beatboxer in One Too Many, St. Louis' premiere all-male a cappella group.

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