Hope can be a vague subject, so writing about it posed some challenges. In an effort to brainstorm ideas, I asked my mom what she thought about hope. She paused with soapy dishes still in hand at the kitchen sink and gazed out into space to think. “For me, hope is every day. We hope that the sun will come out. We hope that the day will go well. We hope all the time,” she replied.
We hope all the time. This statement struck a chord with me. We commonly rely on hope during our most difficult times. Whether it’s an illness or a job search, the promising vision of the light at the end of the tunnel keeps us going. God usually acts as our audience when we are in a desperate need to express hope. Sometimes our family and friends may remind us to practice hope when we’re feeling down.
But what about practicing hope for the small bumps? How much can we open up to hope to improve our daily lives?
When We Sleep Early
A lot of us know about the merits of going to bed early. We’ve read about sleep hygiene and other ways to ensure that our eyes close at a desirable time of night. And why do we care so much about sleeping early? Because we know a restful sleep will be good for the next day.
Similarly, we do other actions to ensure that the next day goes well. Some of us may pack a lunch so we don’t have to rush in the morning or eat unhealthy food at the office cafeteria. Others like to lay out their outfit, maybe even iron a shirt, to reduce the stress of getting ready the next day.
These small actions are our ways of expressing hope that the next day will go well. We know that ironing shirts and packing lunches are not a guarantee of a stress-free day. But we hope these activities will help. We’re acknowledging that the day can be unpredictable and challenging. And we really hope that we’ll get through it.
Practicing hope at the beginning of the day or the night before can be a powerful motivational tool. When we start the day by hoping that it turns out well for us, we also acknowledge that we may face challenges during the day. Otherwise, why would we need to hope, right? By being aware that challenges may arise, we will accept them when they come and not feel overwhelmed.
When We Say No
Have you ever felt anxious and immediately reached for the closest piece of candy, even though you know it doesn’t taste that great? Have you ever nodded your head “yes” to a social event even though you know you won’t enjoy it but who knows when you’ll be invited to something again? These are some ways we are not practicing hope. We are telling ourselves things will not get better and we are not capable of making them better. How about trying the opposite by saying no?
When we say no to things we want to say no to, we say yes to the future we want. We say yes to our goals. Whether it is wanting more compatible friends or healthier ways to manage anxiety, we say yes to the uncertainty of not knowing when these things will happen. We say yes, things are tough, but we are capable of working through these struggles.
Just repeating “I can do this”, “I am capable”, or some other self-affirmation can be the boost we need during the day to get through the small bumps.
When We Teach Others
Hope is learned. It is a skill that we can teach others. And if hope is a part of your daily life, you know why it’s important to spread the word. If only the world was filled with more hopeful people, we would see a lot more creativity and improved mental health. I encourage you to set an example for others by being more open about how you work through your struggles.
For me, a daily hope practice is an opportunity to acknowledge that life isn’t easy and that’s okay. You may ask, is it a good idea to acknowledge the daily struggle? Wouldn’t that get depressing? Only if you doubt your own abilities. If you can believe in yourself, then acknowledging the struggle will make you feel more powerful to effect change. And once the day is over, reaching your goals will give you the confidence to repeat and even expand your hopes for the next day. If you want to find inspiration, you can always check out Treasure Quotes.
Another benefit of practicing hope every day is an increased feeling of gratitude. Acknowledging the struggles in your day-to-day makes you more thankful for the peace and prosperity that comes after.