Life is full of tough times. Let's prepare the best way we can.
What gives you hope? What specific action do you take that makes you feel just a little more optimistic, a little more positive about your day, your life, and the world in general?
Life deals us all tough times. What makes them most challenging is often the suddenness with which they occur. We have no time to prepare for an accident or a tragedy.
And yet — if we are living life authentically, we are in fact, preparing all the time. It doesn’t protect us from heartache, and it doesn’t prevent things from happening. But what is does provide is tools from which we can draw comfort, and allows us a perspective from which to derive some meaning.
Then, in the midst of shock and confusion, we can still appreciate the tremendous gifts that accompany misfortune — the kindness of strangers, the generosity of friends, the eternal compassion of family — and the all-encompassing Love that somehow protects and shelters us through all of it.
Logic entails being reasonable, sensible, and understandable. In many ways, it is the antithesis of both hope and misfortune or tragedy. We look for logic to provide answers, and can be disappointed when there is none to be found. That is when it becomes logical to hope.
Tools for finding hope
It comes back to knowing what those specific tools are: what gives you hope? Tools are uniquely personalized to each individual. If you determine what you can do now to bring yourself moments of peace, they can become part of the toolkit you can draw from to restore hope.
In the midst of chaos or despair, when hope is most needed, sometimes quiet activities bring the most insight. If that is true for you, perhaps opening a well-read book and returning to a passage will remind you of your faith in humankind, or listening to music will restores your optimism, or even sitting in a favorite chair and watching the birds return to their customary perch and seeing their faith in finding nourishment from the same branch.
For others, intense action inspires hope. In that case, movements including creating something with your hands, organizing or cleaning, exercising strenuously, can all restore a sense of hopefulness. Despair is often felt in the body as fatigue. Shedding it through activity can be therapeutic.
The simplest activities are often the most powerfully reminiscent of the interconnectedness and beauty of life. That in itself can be reassuring and reinstall a sense of hope.
Along with misfortune, there are always gifts — life lessons, new awareness, greater opportunities. None of that negates the difficulty or pain within the circumstance, but looking for the greater potential within makes getting through the pain have purpose, and provides a hope of its own.
It also provides a type of mental distraction to consider the greater good of events that otherwise seems senseless. Once that thought process begins, hope can unfold into possibilities for the future.
But first, it takes getting past the fear and the only way past it is through it — logical or not. Unwrap the fear with your tools, look for the gift, and then, when it’s time, there will be a new beginning.
Jan L. Bowen is a passionately authentic thought leader who helps clients align their lives so they find more joy and greater connection through articulating and living their purpose. To get Jan’s latest book, "Why Do You Get Up In the Morning? How to Demystify Your Life Purpose," download it now. You will also receive her newsletter, with articles only available by subscription.
This article was originally published at Jan L. Bowen. Reprinted with permission from the author.