hope is a verb with its shirtsleeves rolled up

I have been re-reading Brene Brown’s ‘The Gifts of Imperfection’ and would highly recommend it. go! buy! until you have the copy in your hands, may I pass on to you what she says on hope:

‘Like most people, I always thought of hope as an emotion – like a warm feeling of optimism and possibility. I was wrong. I was shocked to discover that hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process. Emotions play a supporting role, but hope is really a thought process made up of a trilogy of goals, pathways, and agency. Hope happens when:

  • we have the ability to set realistic goals (I know where I want to go)
  • we are able to figure out how to achieve those goals, including the ability to stay flexible and develop alternative routes (I know how to get there, I’m persistent, and I can tolerate disappointment and try again)
  • we believe in ourselves (I can do this!)

So, hope is a combination of setting goals, having the tenacity and perseverance to pursue them, and believing in our own abilities. And, if that’s not news enough, here’s something else: hope is learned! We learn hopeful, goal-directed thinking in the context of other people.’

hope has been such an amazingly powerful agent for change for me. at the end of the time I was drinking I felt so overwhelmingly hopeless and powerless. and I know for certain that I have learnt hope from other sober bloggers ahead of me on the path, in particular Happierlikethis, Carrie, Lucy, Sharon and Amy. and Belle and Rebecca, natch πŸ˜‰ among many others. I am more grateful than I can ever express.

hope is not an innate, candy-floss substance that we are either with or without, at the whim of circumstance.Β it is something that we can nurture within ourselves and others to help us carve out new positive pathways of living.

(the title of this post is a quote from environmentalist David Orr. the painting is by Evelyn Dunbar, who among many other things was the only female British war artist in WW2, and had an acute eye for the beauty in the mundane.)

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