Hope can be eternal rather than temporal: 5 things you can do right away to not lose hope
The mood in our society today is that of despair and discouragement. While nobody is carrying placards or posters with "Despair" captioned on them, the political climate is saturated with messages of decaying dreams, fading hope, doubt and disillusion. All these are seeds of sorrow, isolation and individualism.
How do you keep hope alive in this atmosphere? Healthy living, physically and mentally, depends a lot on hope. Without hope, life loses meaning; there is nothing to look up to; nothing to reach for; nothing to live for.
I have listed, below, five simple and practical things you can do right away, to not lose hope or drift into isolationism and individualism. What follows here is my own personal experience from which I learned the five – and more – principles.
I remember my very early childhood years in Tanzania, then known as Tanganyika, a British colony in those years. I also remember the independence movements which swept through Africa then. The mood was about expectation of being our own masters to manage our own affairs – and frankly, for those of us who were still young – some expectations of easy life with no struggles, hardship or sacrifices.
Then we got what we fought for: Independence from the British. We became our own masters and managed our own affairs – and that was definitely priceless. But we also got some new things we were not prepared for, in addition to those some of us who were young did not want to have to deal with: the challenges, the risks, the sacrifices and the enormous responsibility of being our own masters.
One of the major challenges that mushroomed across Africa, and which many countries are still struggling with, was corruption.
The root course of corruption was selfishness. People started to think about themselves and the opportunity to acquire more and more. It did not matter anymore how one got ahead, even if it meant stepping on someone else – which was, actually, the case.
As expected, the (false) hope which was inspired by emotions rather than principles, began to dissipate – all across Africa - not long after independence. A story I related earlier in another post, "Place Importance in Things that Matter" underscores the emphasis here, that hope is grounded in principles, not feelings.
Despite the economic and social challenges of much of Africa, faith – I might even say – the church, is thriving, growing each day. One might ask, why is that? As the story in the post cited above illustrates, faith, the church, spirituality – these provide the basis for hope and where there is hope there life.
In our society today, many people are decrying the media, and for good reason. Take television, for example. First, excessive television watching is unhealthy, physically and mentally – particularly when the programming is not educational. Secondly, when talking about hope, what hope does television give?
Every two minutes or so, there is some commercial advertising; and in this season all one sees is how bad the opponent is, how inadequate everything is. In previous discussions of happiness – and hope has everything to do with happiness – two things, among others, were emphasized:
One, "Enjoy all the little things": Complaints and dissatisfactions stem from failure to appreciate what one has. In reality we have more than we lack, we just fail to appreciate the fact. Appreciation of even the little things, inevitably leads to a positive attitude which in turn spurs hope.
There is a grassroots movement in Cincinnati called CoreChange. The philosophy behind CoreChange is to build a better community focusing on asset appreciation. Instead of lamenting how bad things are – and they may well be – CoreChange emphasizes making effort to appreciate the good things already in place. Quite often those good things are unnoticed.
Hope stems from appreciation of what one has, however little, not in how much one can accumulate.
Two, "Treat others the way you would like to be treated". What is negative begets negative but what is positive begets positive. If we are positive about others we experience what is positive. Hope is, in its essence, positive not negative.
Five things you can do right away to not lose hope:
Stay active physically and mentally.
Avoid negative influences, such as television and whiners.
Surround yourself with people who are positive – a bible study group or something similar.
Take inventory – daily – of what you have and appreciate your blessings.
Get involved in an activity that benefits another person, like volunteering