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How to Instill Hope in Others

Updated on December 24, 2016
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Benny is both a professional tutor and writer. He likes writing on subjects that touch on human heart.

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Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines hope as “to want something to happen and think it is possible.” Also, it is defined as “a belief that something you want will happen.”

Hope is different from wishful-thinking. Hope is when you believe without a doubt something is going to or will happen. You visualize the completion of something which acts as a reinforcement it’s going to come into maturity. Hope is when a person desires for something with an expectation he will receive it. For example, when a person believes he will become a software engineer. This person will see himself doing the job of a software engineer. Thereby, he will do whatever it takes to realize the desire of his heart.

In contrast, wishful-thinking is whereby your desiring for something is limited by condition. Saying, I wish to be a software engineer. The fact is you are not and you don’t think you will. It’s something you desire but deep in your heart you know it’s not possible. Another example: “I wish one day I will become a billionaire.” This signifies it is mere thinking. The person is not sure if it is or will be possible to become a billionaire. There is no real expectation. It is like day-dreaming something you know is never going to happen. It depends on probability that it might happen.


When someone hopes for something he will do all he can to realize the expectation of what he wants. There is action that is involved because hope goes hand-in-hand with faith. Faith is when you put into action what you desire to happen. You need to have hope in order to have faith. In the case of wishful thinking there is no expectation because it is not fully founded and nothing is done to realize what is desired. If you desire or want to be the next president and do nothing to realize your desire, only thinking, then it is purely wishful-thinking.

Hope in itself has enabled many people to defeat the odds to become successful in life. A good example is of the late president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela. During the period he was jailed for 27 years, Mandela never gave up the hope there would come a day when equality between the whites and blacks would exist. He didn’t just sit and think of it. He visualized it, thought how he was going to act on the hope, and acted on it. Thus, he was instrumental in ending apartheid and being elected the first black president of South Africa.

People go through different problems or challenges. It is never easy to stay afloat on raging waters. Sometimes you will find yourself carried by the waves or you might end up drowned. The waves, when you know how to conquer them will help you get ashore and not end dead in the middle of the ocean. Each and every person is faced by a particular difficulty which to some might not be big. Each person reacts differently to the problem(s) he/she faces. It is not wise to judge people what they are going through is not big therefore they should grow up and stop behaving like cowards.

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Steps In Instilling Hope In Others

There are three steps a person can use to instill hope in another person. When hope is reignited it leads to the person becoming motivated, opens up his/her mind to assessing the situation, uplifts his spirit to stand and face the difficulty, and fills the person with energy it is possible to overcome the challenges and turn out victorious. Also, hope produces patience. What you expect to happen will not come into fulfillment automatically – within seconds, hours or a few days. It takes patience until the expectation comes into accomplishment. Thereby, the person will have a clear perspective as his ‘inner eyes’ will no longer be narrowed to the problem at hand but also how to overcome it and to see the end of it.

Step One – Listen

In the world of today majority of us have a hard time taking some time to listen to somebody’s problem. Not that we are busy, we find it time consuming or we lack the patience to listen. Some of us are born with the ability to listen while others learn it.

The first step in instilling hope is by lending an ear – listening. Before uttering words of encouragement, first listen. Before judging and criticizing, first of all, listen. Even if you have undergone what the person is going through don’t start uttering words without listening. Just because you conquered your fears or challenges doesn’t mean others can do so easily (if it is really that easy). People are different.

Do you know the first sign exhibited by a person contemplating suicide? The person needs someone to listen to him/her. You will never know the importance of listening until you take time to listen. Some of the situations don’t require you to offer your opinion or help in whatever means. Listening in itself encourages the person it is possible. There is hope things will turn out better. There is hope I will do better.

Listening is the greatest tool you can use to offer hope to somebody who is undergoing a crisis.

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landscape see nature tree trees natural | Source

Step Two – Understand

Don’t criticize, pass unfair judgment or rebuke someone if you have not taken time to listen. It is as a result of listening you will understand what the person is going through. You will be in a position to put yourself in the shoes of the person and get to know how it feels. There is a difference between knowing and understanding. Don’t say you understand what the person is going through when in reality you mean knowing.

You have to take the time to understand the person at that instance and the problem he is going through. You have to sympathize and empathize.

A lot of people who are depressed and/or are contemplating suicide, before they do the act they want someone to listen to them with an intent they will be understood and helped. Unfortunately, many do not take time to listen in order to understand. What happens next? The person commits suicide because nobody took the time to try to understand him/her.

It is not fair because you conquered your fears or challenges you expect other people to conquer the same way. We are different with different personalities. Calling them coward because they are contemplating suicide will not help in the long run.

Step Three – Encourage

When you take time to listen you will understand both the person and the situation he is going through which will enable you to be in a better position to help the person. The words you say should be uttered in love, kindness and sincerity. Don’t rebuke or criticize. You are not helping at all. Remember, words have power. They have the potential to ‘kill’ someone’s hope.

At this stage you should be in a position to know what to say by choosing your words carefully. Encouraging them involves reanalyzing or revisiting what they have said and showing step by step why they shouldn’t lose hope. Provide them with a clear perspective on why they shouldn’t lose hope, and if possible what they can do to overcome the difficulty. Guide them on how to solve what they are going through.

If you are unable to help them you can opt to call someone experienced to offer solutions. The most important thing is to listen and understand. You can be quite frank you don’t know how to solve the problem they’re undergoing but you will ask around or call someone who is able to. Before you do so, give them words of encouragement. Words which will uplift their spirits. Words which will motivate them. Words which will build them up.

Song: You Raise Me Up

Quotes On Hope

1. I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge. That myth is more potent than history. That dreams are more powerful than facts. That hope always triumphs over experience. That laughter is the only cure for grief. And I believe that love is stronger than death. (Robert Fulghum).

2. Hope is the thing with feathers that preaches in the soul and sings the tune without the words and never stops at all. (Emily Dickinson).

3. They say a person needs just three things to be truly happy in this world: Someone to love, something to do, and something to hope for.

4. Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. (Helen Keller)

5. Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. (Desmond Tutu)

6. A good teacher can inspire hope, ignite the imagination, and instill a love of learning. (Brad Henry)

7. There was never a night or a problem that could defeat sunrise or hope. (Bernard Williams)

8. Where there is no vision, there is no hope. (George Washington Craver)

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    • Ben716 profile image
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      Alianess Benny Njuguna 4 years ago from Kenya

      Thank you freedomspirit. God Bless you too and for the work you are doing. We do need encouragement as life at times is not always joyful and happy. Its good reading such articles as they inspire and renew ones hope in this life. Thanx.

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      freedomspirit 4 years ago

      Very wise words ben, you are a good man and thank you very much for your insightful comments on my hub about spirituality.

      It is very important to be a good person and listening is one of the kindest things one can do, you are right.

      It's wrong to walk away if you can be of help----

      empathy is such a beautiful thing too

      God bless,

      blessings,

      freedomspirit

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