ABC by Paley – HOPE

Most of us hope for something - a better job, sleep, recovery, positive effects of treatment, achievements in work or family life. In the face of failures, one gets the impression that hope is fleeting and delicate like a soap bubble. Just a little stimulus and it bursts without a trace. On the other hand, when faced with mounting difficulties, it can become an ally that helps to face them.


What is hope anyway? And is it worth having it or is it better to live without it?

Hope is about more than positive thinking or optimism. She is far from magical thinking that it is enough to just sit down and imagine good things and they will come true. Excessively high expectations, planning things that are difficult to implement, clinging to the vision that some matter that is important to us will certainly go in the direction we want, may lead to disappointment and discourage us from acting. Depending on the definition, hope can be both an emotion and a state. It is also a certain way of thinking that motivates us to pursue the desired goal, devise ways to achieve it, and take the next steps towards change. In other words, hope is when you believe your future can be better than your past and you realize that you have some influence to improve it.

The older we get, the harder it can be to keep hope. Confrontation with the fleetingness of health and life, painful losses of loved ones or everyday worries may undoubtedly make it difficult to look into the future with the feeling that it will still be fine. However, it turns out that cultivating hope has health benefits. Harvard researchers found that people with high levels of hope that lasted most of their lives enjoyed better physical and mental health, and coped better with stress than others. This is one of the reasons why people who look to the future hope with imagination that they are able to overcome obstacles in the way and to face them on their own or with the help of others. They take into account their previous experiences and on the basis of them come to the conclusion that they will be able to do it regardless of the circumstances – they do not assume that everything will be successful and will go smoothly. However, they are able to develop a plan of action or adapt to changing events and circumstances.

Hope can be learned like any new habit. It requires a bit of work on yourself, changing some beliefs and considering your thoughts, however it is possible. It is helpful to nurture hope by training your planning skills to help us think of different ways to achieve your goals. In addition, you can try to take control of the goals you are pursuing. Ask yourself a few guiding questions: Is what you want really what you want? Or maybe you want it because others expect it from you? Are all your goals equally important? How can you achieve the desired goal in at least three ways? Do the chosen methods of achieving the goal bring you closer to it? Are they effective? How else could you try to achieve your chosen goal?

Charles R. Snyder – a researcher of hope – also encouraged us to search for evidence that we had already managed to realize our plans and dreams, and that we successfully face various challenges every day. As a result, this is to make it easier for us to feel hope and gratitude.

Hope is not always easy, but it is effective in helping people thrive in many areas, including work and school. If we inspire hope, we are motivated to act because we believe we can achieve the result we want. Hope makes life meaningful. People with a high level of hope are more persistent, and when faced with failure, they don’t give up so quickly. Besides, when they face obstacles that they cannot overcome, they are able to plan other methods of reaching their destination. And due to the fact that they formulate more goals, even if they encounter difficulties in achieving one of them, they still try to achieve other goals set by them. Of course, any failure is associated with feeling many different emotions – anger, fear, disappointment or sadness. However, when we have other goals on the horizon and hope to meet them, the frustration resulting from an earlier failure becomes less acute and it is easier to regain balance. Hope is the life-sustaining human force that drives us to act. It gives us the power to help us survive the toughest moments.


Źródła wiedzy i inspiracji, dzięki którym powstał ten artykuł:

Snyder C.R., Shorey H.S., Cheavens J., Pulvers K., Adams V.H, Wiklund C. (2002), Hope and academic success, Journal of Educational Psychology

Kausar S., Jevne R. F., Sobsey D. (2003), Hope in Families of Children with Developmental Disabilities, Journal of developmental disabilities

Vered Shenaar-Golan (2015), Hope and subjective well-being among parents of children with special needs, Child & Family Social Work