If we have hope, we have everything we need. We can keep going, keep working to make our lives better. The key is to know what the right hope is.
What do I mean by that? How many of us stay or stayed way too long in relationships hoping they would get better—and got hurt more and more in the process? How many of us twisted ourselves into pretzels hoping that if we just became the right person, the other one would love us back?
On the other hand, if what we are hoping for encourages us to be more true to ourselves, lets us move forward and do the things that truly enrich our lives, lets us reach out to lots of people (because then the odds are greater that we will meet and interact with someone who will treat us well and enrich our lives), then this kind of hope is good. If it gets us out of unproductive patterns, if it gets us to take action when our fear would otherwise hold us back, if it lets us believe in ourselves, then this hope is good.
Notice that last sentence and the words “believe in ourselves.” For how many of us is that a struggle? (Pretty much everyone, right?) Fear that we can’t do something holds back so many from going after dreams. Fear that we aren’t good enough keeps so many hiding away, afraid to let other people close. Fear that we can’t make it on our own keeps way too many trapped in difficult or even abusive relationships.
Not a pretty picture is it. And yet it’s the reality for far too many. Is it true for you? No—don’t panic! There is a solution!
First, make a list of every success you have accomplished. Big or small. The longer the list the better. Whenever you doubt you can do something, pull out this list and look at it and remind yourself that if you have done these things in the past, odds are you will be able to handle whatever challenge is facing you now. Keep adding to that list with each new accomplishment in your life.
Second, every day do something that makes you smile. Three times a day at the minimum! This is a proof to yourself that you do have the power to create happiness in your life and that you can trust YOURSELF to do so.
Third, surround yourself with people who believe in you. That may begin with finding just one such person. It may even be a therapist or counselor. This is one of the most powerful gifts of therapy or counseling—having someone who believes in you even when you cannot believe in yourself. And if your counselor or therapist doesn’t, FIND A DIFFERENT ONE!
Fourth, when you interact with others, do so with the intent and desire to help them believe in themselves. There is no greater gift you can give another person. And it helps to create a better world because someone who believes in him or herself has no need to hurt others. Someone who believes in him or herself can accomplish marvelous things. And that person could be YOU! The better you get at fostering self-belief in others, the better you will get at fostering it in yourself.
Hope lets us change our lives and belief in ourselves feeds that hope. This week, may you find lots of ways to act on steps 1 through 4! Wishing all of you hope and self-belief and lots of safe and gentle (((((((hugs)))))))).