This guest post by our newest clinical associate Lindsay Huettman explores common ways we look at hope and how we can reframe our experience of hope to allow for more self compassion. Lindsay has a passion for working with clients struggling with grief and trauma.
Many times, while in session with clients, I come across words like “hope”, “trust” and “balance”. These concepts or states can be very helpful and inspiring for clients-and sometimes they can also seem impossible to achieve. Part of the issue is the very energy of ‘trying to be hopeful’ can leave us feeling more hopeless and exhausted than we were when we started!
What do you see in your mind’s eye when you think of hope?
Here is an image that really shows BIG feelings around hope. Hope is a type of life force, it’s a great rushing waterfall that carries the basis for our existence, its the rainbows of LIFE and feels so bright, its AMAZING! Its…….really hard to feel sometimes.
Sometimes, our aspirations of how we think we are “supposed” to be hopeful, or have balance or trust can further demoralize and discourage us. In other words, we can make these states in to large, fixed structures that we feel we must somehow ‘find’. It can add a lot of unneeded stress and expectation to an already intense situation or personal struggle.
Its not uncommon that when you feel like this…
…finding the huge rainbow and waterfall of hope is a bit out of range.
Let me introduce you to a concept I developed and call,
“The Amoeba of Hope”
An amoeba is a single cell organism that can change its shape as it moves through its environment. Being science minded, many times I see the teachings from the natural world that can bring us much wisdom.
The cool thing that Amoeba has to teach us about hope is that it can change shape! It is NOT a static state. Sometimes during grief, loss and crisis the “Big Waterfall/Rainbows of Hope” is what we want to feel, but somehow cannot.
How about a just a dim light bulb of hope that things will get better?
The point is that there is any light at all! Sometimes it can feel like its gone completely dark….but I am guessing you can find a little, itty bit speck of it somewhere….
Maybe, right now for you, hope is only the size of a raindrop…that is ok! Remember that ‘hope’ is not fixed in stone and take the pressure off of yourself, be compassionate to yourself. Because if hope can be as small as a raindrop, that also means it can gather and become a waterfall again.
Hope often appears like a rainbow in the palm of your hand when you need it most. We never know when things will shift. Although, be aware that your healing is a path is something you can step consciously onto. There are many things you can do to help yourself! Remember that friends and community can really help with hopeless. Being in nature, listening to inspirational music, watching uplifting movies, seeing kids play in the park, listening to wise teachers…there so many sources for hope. You might start to see it change shape and feel just an ounce better.
If hopelessness wants you to be alone, that may be OK sometimes but often this leads to isolation for many. Its not fun, but natural to experience a loss of hope in all type of life situations.
Just remember that even a raindrop of hope can be enough to H.old O.n (until) the P.ain E.nds!
And if you really are feeling that your hopeless is beyond what you can handle, you may want to consider professional help. Reach out, especially if you are feeling depressed, anxious, and/or suicidal.
National Suicide Prevention Hotline: 1-800-273-8255