Upfront disclaimer: This post is not about ‘toxic’ positivity.
Two things have been on my mind lately. The first thing is my amusement at me accomplishing the things I set out to achieve much later than intended a.k.a late blooming, and the second is the joys I have found in being grateful and hopeful. Both are interconnected. The thing is, while I do achieve the things I set out to, but much more later in life, it is Hope that has kept me going when the fulfilment of my dreams seems delayed. So while I have deferred the ‘late bloomer’ thought for now, that will be what I write about in my next blog post.
When I speak about Gratitude and Hope, I refer to two deep human emotions that have an uncanny ability to transform our outlook on life. Some will say some individuals are natural optimists, and perhaps there is an element of truth in it. I have come across perpetually gloomy people, and a mere 2 minutes with them will drain you of your vibrancy and enthusiasm. You feel emotionally and mentally sapped after engaging with them. And then you will find people on the other end of the spectrum that are optimistic and infect you with their sanguinity in 2 minutes.
According to my preferred, tried, and tested Merriam-Webster dictionary, Gratitude means, ‘the state of being grateful, being appreciative of benefits received’, while Hope is defined as, ‘to desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfilment’. There are other meanings, but these definitions fit my personal experiences and affinity for these 2 words.
I express gratitude when I find myself in an unplanned tough situation and I invoke the memories of challenges overcome in the past. It is what consumes me when my day is met with unexpected miracles. It is what I feel when I turn the corner on an arduous phase of my life. I express gratitude when there is cadence, upheavals, and banality in my days. Weirdly, I think expressing gratitude detoxes me of residual negativity frequently. It is the residual emotion that always simmers to the top of my mind when all the bad, defeatist self-talk takes a back seat.
And then there is Hope. Good old Hope. I do not know where you are located, but I guess you are experiencing a bit of the socio-economic pangs the entire world is beset by. We are witnessing the ‘woke’, enlightened populace sparring with the ‘non-woke’. There is also the rising cost of living and inflation rates, political turmoil on scales that are unbecoming, moral degradation and large-scale indecency being experienced at the most granular levels of society. And on top of all that, you have your dreams and aspirations that you need to be fulfilled, you are swimming upstream and as much as you try to insulate yourself from the impact of all these dynamics, you’ll agree with me that the current climate leaves little to be desired and can make your levels of hope erode.
But time and time again, I can affirm that these 2 emotions never fail. Personally, in the way I often experience both, Hope and Gratitude can help increase resilience and assist with coping with difficult circumstances. They both provide the impetus needed to sustain one’s outlook on life, taking steps to attain aspirations when things are challenging, and look bleak.
When you are not in the mood to count your blessings, or you are angry, frustrated, and disappointed with no visible reprieve in the short or medium term, Hope is a permanent stopgap that carries you over the bridge, helps to keep your feet on the ground and keeps you focused. It is what gets you out of bed in the mornings when there is nothing to look forward to, and it is what makes you believe against all skepticism.
We are approaching the 3rd month of the year, effectively rounding off the 1st quarter of 2023. If you have lost or are losing Hope, and see nothing to be grateful for, draw into yourself to view things differently with a twinge of child-like expectation. Remind yourself of past victories to invigorate your outlook. You make a choice when you decide not to be held captive by defeatist emotions, a mature choice that puts you in control of your life.
I wish you a hope-filled new month littered with daily miracles that spark gratitude in you. And even if the new month is banal, may your hope sustain you through it all. Chat soon.
Images: Green pathway by Igor Schubin from Pixabay; Woman and Child by Sasin Tipchai from Pixabay