Hope is the emotional state, the opposite of which is despair, which promotes the belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one’s life. It is the “feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best” or the act of “look[ing] forward to with desire and reasonable confidence” or “feel[ing] that something desired may happen”. Other definitions are “to cherish a desire with anticipation”; “to desire with expectation of obtainment”; or “to expect with confidence”. In the English language the word can be used as either a noun or a verb, although hope as a concept has a similar meaning in either use.
With hope, I’m at my best. I’m working, am in the zone, playing hard, smiling more than not, am not only working on but am implementing my WRAP (R) plan, practicing my daily maintenance plan, can sleep without dosing out on Ambien or Seroquel, am nice to others, play well with others…
Without hope, I’m the antithesis to “being well.” I cry at the drop of a hat and am a walking whirlpool of despair. Despair that global warming will murder the world as we know it within 20 years of my lifetime. Despair that President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton are stymied and that we’ll lose in ’12. Despair that my sister’s invasive treatment won’t work for her and that she’ll die and I’ll be abandoned. My own OCD and PTSD may get triggered out of trauma experiences as a child and adult. I torment others punishingly, and am brutal emotionally to myself and to my loved ones. Being mindful… helps.
But, what I’ve figured out is this.
love without fear.
trust without questioning.
need without demanding.
want without restrictions.
accept without change.
love others for who they are.
In order to live a happy life, you need to let yourself be hopeful. I realize that it’s hard and impossible 95% of the time, but try this. Do this. It’s worked for me and I consider myself a hearty, die-hard pessimist with a near inability to assume the best in any particular case. Essentially, I don’t trust people. I receive extensive double-edged sword feedback to attest to this. If you trust others aside your from your “core heart team of supporters” (e.g., family, close friends, confidants, lover, wife, partner) you may be let down and I become personally very disappointed with the person, but I also know that trusting a person without questioning, needing without demanding, wanting without restrictions, accepting that person without change is love for who I am and for that person. I am invariably correct in this assumption. We must meet people where they are.
When I hope for the best in selecting a good-fit choice for behavior, thought and in all action for myself, my woman, my family, friends, colleagues, then I’m surprised by the positive outcomes. They calm me down. They fill me with faith in people’s personal and professional integrity, principals that they live by, and how they practice love in their lives.
When it’s pouring rain, use an umbrella and keep showering down love on the people you love… make it rain down love. Take a chance and open up. The worst anyone can tell you (me) is “No.” I hate “No” with a passion, but I also know this is a deep root in me as to why I work so hard and that it isn’t work… it’s play and I love it.
My love fills me with hope. My other half completes me. Trust is a real and a good love that’s like Moose the puppy that lives next door to my right. Trust is my lover holding me all night, our heads pressed together where not even the slightest sliver could separate this holiness.
Mad in America hosts blogs by a diverse group of writers. These posts are designed to serve as a public forum for a discussion—broadly speaking—of psychiatry and its treatments. The opinions expressed are the writers’ own.