As the year came to a close, newsfeeds and timelines were full of posts about how terrible 2017 was and how glad people were to see it go. This seems to happen every year, and I always wonder why. It’s an easy pattern to get stuck in; it’s much easier and natural to focus on the negative, rather than the positive, a pattern I have seen in so many people, including myself. How easy is it to get lost in the horrible things we hear in the news every day?
While ignoring the negative things is not productive to growth and change, neither is ignoring the positive. When things seem terrible, like nothing can ever possibly get better, when it feels like all hope is lost… there is still hope, even the tiniest inkling of it. I’ve heard people say they feel like hope is pointless, a belief in something that forgets there is a need for action, but that is not what hope is. Hope is an invitation to believe in something better, and it becomes a call to action, and a catalyst for change.
I think one of the most interesting things about hope is the many different situations that spark it for different people. When I was younger, I followed a blog called “Gives Me Hope,” and noted how different situations worked for me versus the person who had submitted it; as I’ve grown older, I have found hope in learning about the progress we are making globally. John and Hank Green, who are known together for their videos on their Youtube channel called vlogbrothers, and separately for John’s books (The Fault in Our Stars is quite famous) and Hank’s music (Accio Deathly Hallows!). In one of their recent videos, John discusses the progress our world has made- decreased poverty rates, infant mortality rates, etc. In all of the negativity spread around, John and his brother are hope soldiers.
What is a hope soldier? I was introduced to the concept of “joy soldiers” by Sarah Wood when she told me she had recently realized her life’s purpose was to bring joy to others, to be a joy soldier. A few weeks later, we were discussing a volunteer opportunity I am very excited about, and she asked me if I had thought about my life’s purpose. My reply was long-winded at first, focusing mainly on the grad school opportunities I’m looking at and the populations I want to work with as a clinical psychologist. However, I spent the next few hours thinking about what it really was that I wanted to do, what fulfills me. And I realized: I want to spread hope. I am a hope soldier.
The smallest inkling of hope is all that is needed to become the catalyst for incredible changes. Throughout our lives, moments in which we feel hopeless, are when we think we are unable to affect any sort of change in whatever situation we are facing; we feel that we are either incapable of taking the steps that are necessary to change anything, or that there is nothing that can be done. It’s the tiniest little voice that tells us “yes, you can,” or, “yes, this is possible,” that gets us to make a move. It’s hope.
The moments when I have felt most hopeless in my life, I have been lucky enough to have someone else say, “I will carry this hope for you if you can’t right now.” Though it feels pointless in the moment, knowing that there is someone out there who holds hope for me has made an incredible impact. And that is my purpose. To bring hope to others, and to hold it for those who cannot.
What brings you hope? Do you have a story of how hope has entered your life and helped you to take action? What does hope mean to you?
Leave a comment, send me a message through the contact page, send me a message on Instagram or Facebook. I’m cooking something up here, but I need your replies to help! Stay tuned.