Can We Find the Silver Lining when Feeling Hopeless?
First, let me start by reminding you that every single person on this planet, no matter how positive, feels hopeless sometimes. It’s perfectly normal. We don’t have the answers to many of life’s questions and we don’t know what tomorrow may bring. It’s completely understandable that we feel this way sometimes. This doesn’t sound like a great way to start an uplifting blog post, but perspective is a powerful thing! Knowing you’re not the only one feeling these emotions is also a powerful thing. So, please remember that you are not alone.
I am not a therapist and I encourage anyone who is feeling alone and uncertain to reach out to a professional. Talking to someone is always the way to go. Especially when you are feeling hopeless because there is something wonderful about simply connecting with another human being. So, please, never try to get through it alone. For the purpose of this post, I wish to show you that there is an ebb and flow and a pattern to life. I want to remind you that there is no good without bad, no real appreciation for the good without the bad. If you are at a point in life where you need more than an uplifting word, please reach out to someone for support.
Feeling hopeless is one of the most difficult emotional experiences, so in this blog I want us to look at why we feel this way. I also want to remind you that nothing lasts forever, including that awful hopeless feeling.
Why Hopelessness Sets In
There is a lot in life that feels out of our control and that is an awful feeling. It could range from struggling to fall pregnant, to struggling to make friends, to struggling to make ends meet. The common thread? We feel like we’re just not getting the results we want and that we have no control. And it makes us feel like there is no hope. It is difficult to be faced with the reality that we can’t control everything. We have so many questions that begin with a why and we just can’t seem to get the answers. But, I can’t help but wonder why it is so important to us to control everything. I mean, I understand about paying the bills or the tug of your heart wanting to be a parent, by why always on our terms?
What I’m wondering is, would we be happier if we didn’t put so much pressure on ourselves? Would we be happier if we trusted that the road laid out before us is exactly the one we need? But, we’re stubborn when we have our minds set on a specific outcome that we deem to the best one. An outcome that we feel needs to happen. What if we feel hopeless because we want to be able to control things that are just not for us to control. Can we accept giving up some of the control, do you think? Maybe we need to step back (very difficult when you feel hopeless, I know!) and look at other options for the outcomes we demand.
Some much needed Reminders
At the risk of sounding like a cliché, there really is no good without the bad. We need both, like sugar and salt! Besides the basics of not even being able to understand what the good times are until we’ve experienced the bad, there’s this funny thing called balance. Life, the universe and everything in it needs balance. Going through difficult, hopeless times, can weigh heavy on us, but if we keep this reminder in the back of our heads then we can refer to it and steel ourselves against the overwhelm of negative thoughts. Remember the intricacy of the design!
We get through feeling hopeless by reminding ourselves that it’s actually not meant to be sunshine and roses all the time. We need those less than ideal days for some perspective, to help us appreciate how good the good days really are! But hopelessness doesn’t allow for a glimmer of hope to enter! The doors are shut tight and hope cannot enter. This is true, it is one of the loneliest places to be. That is why we need to dig deep, to find all the things that bring us joy in life. We have to be able to build a reserve of hope! Happy memories, wishes for your future, that kind of thing. We have to be able to separate ourselves, peel ourselves away from the hold of hopelessness, and actively look for the beautiful reminders all around us. Bad things happen everyday, it’s true. But, it’s also true that good things, miracles, happen every day and every hour as well.
Lessons and Growth
This is the part you don’t want to hear, but it needs to be said. The next time you are feeling hopeless look at your situation and try, just try to see the lesson. I know life has a funny way of only showing us the lesson after the fact, but try to see it anyway. Or, at the very least, understand that that is the way life works. Everything has a lesson that helps us grow as a person. Maybe it would help to look at another time in your life and reflect on how things played out in that situation. Can you see how, even although you didn’t know it at the time, there was a lesson in that seemingly hopeless situation?
One of the most difficult times in my life was sitting in the waiting room of the hospital while my 1mnth old fought for his precious little life. To say I was feeling hopeless would be an understatement. I quite literally had no control over this situation. If my beautiful boy hadn’t pulled through my lesson may have been a very different one, by as it stands I learned an awful lot about myself and how strong I am. I also learned that I believe in something greater, and that even in difficult times I trust. This doesn’t mean you’ll always get the outcome you wish for, but trusting that life has a lesson in every experience is a valuable realization.
This Too Shall Pass
While I’ve already mentioned that with the good comes the bad it’s always a worthwhile reminder that ‘this too shall pass’. This is a saying I have always turned to in the tough times. And, it’s true. When sadness and feeling hopeless has gotten the best of you, remember that nothing lasts forever. Those grey clouds will eventually pass over you and the sun will shine again. Take a moment and let that thought sink in. Breath through it and remember, sometimes you just need to ride the wave for a while. You are stronger than you think.
You may be in a job that is dragging you down but you have bills to pay. That can feel overwhelming, but is it hopeless? Can you find another job? Can you take a course that will get you the job you want? And, don’t forget, sometimes we get so dragged down by that one thing that isn’t working that we forget about the things that are. How is your family life? Do you have a loving family that support you? Maybe you have a good job but struggle with conflict at home. We need to find the good and use it to bolster us in the hard times while we figure out the rest.
Find Reasons to Feel Joyful
Let’s focus on how to loosen the grip of that hopelessness. As I mentioned above we need to remind ourselves of what is working in our lives. That could be that you’re doing well in your job, or you’ve just started a new relationship. It could be that you are in good health. It could even be that although your health isn’t where you’d like it to be you recognize that it could be so much worse! This is simply a shifting of your focus to a more uplifting thought, an encouraging thought.
Finding something to be grateful for isn’t just a way to trick your mind (although whatever works, right?!), it is a truly healing process when you do it from the heart. If you want to read more on gratitude take a look at Using A Gratitude Journal To Change Your Mindset
When we are feeling hopeless in life we need to be able to reach for the moments in our life that have lifted us, the people that have supported us.
Feeling Hopeless in a Nutshell
When you feel hopeless you feel like you have nothing left to believe in, but there’s always something if you open your heart to it. Feeling hopeless means you’ve given up, but what about that one more blessed breath or that one more beautiful sunrise? What about the heart that beats in the chest of that someone you love or the laugh that brightens your day? It is easy to get caught up in worrying about your health or finances but don’t let it steal the precious moments that life is made up of.
I would love for you to see that hopelessness is an emotion that we can change if we: turn on our favourite song, dance, pray, meditate, sing, breathe in the fresh air, move our bodies, give someone a hug. We are physical beings but we are also spiritual. We need to remember that to feel fulfilled, happy and whole we need to nurture ALL of us, from head to toe and deep within! And, we need to find ways to see the beauty of this life. Take the focus off of why you are feeling hopeless and look for the reasons to celebrate life. The people out there in the world spreading love and kindness!
Remembering your Intrinsic Value
Something that is so important to remember, enough to make me put up a big red stop sign right now, is a reminder of your value. Sometimes when we feel hopeless it comes with a nagging feeling of worthlessness. Stop right there, your value is never in question, no matter what experience you are going through in this life. You are here on this earth because your creator chose to breathe life into your lungs, don’t forget that.
Sometimes we feel hopeless because we feel stuck, like life just doesn’t want to move forward for us. I want to remind you to look at how far you’ve come. Even if you don’t feel like you are living the highlight reel of your life at this very moment, you HAVE grown! I know this because life is growth. Every experience we have has added to our growth in some way. Reflect on how far you’ve come, and if some areas don’t apply look at the ones that do!
The Answer is always Hope
It can become ‘comfortable’ to stay in a negative space. When I say this I mean getting yourself out of it takes effort. But, hope is a powerful thing! Hope gives us renewed belief in ourselves, each other and the human race. We need hope because it revives us, gives us new life. When you are feeling hopeless you need to be able to look around you at what matters to you. Cultivate hope in yourself. Do you hope for your children to graduate, get married and have a family of their own? Or maybe you hope to take that trip across Europe you’ve always dreamed of?
I’m going to say something that might surprise you now. Hope is a beautiful, positive emotion but it needs fire behind it! It needs: faith, resilience, determination, trust, surrender (and probably a few more!). We need to remember that life is a big melting pot of ideas, emotions, lessons and inspiration. It’s our job to decide whether to add the chicken stock, salt, pepper or ketchup! We’re all different and our recipe will look different, but we are all capable of making a damn good pot of soup with the ingredients we’ve been given. So, find hope, inspiration, and trust. And maybe chicken stock. lol! I hope you find joy beyond despair and feeling hopeless.
Here is another blog you might find helpful Faith, Resilience and Being Stronger Than You Think
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