As a teenager and young child, I never thought clinging to hope would hurt me so viciously. I hoped to be a successful business man, I hoped to find young love, I hoped to find validation, I hoped to be confident, and the list just keeps going and going. I would consider myself a hopeful person and I am starting not to like this attribute of myself.
Fast forward over ten years, and here I reside so scathed that when hope knocks at the door of my heart, it just triggers all the painful memories of the past. I have begun to despise myself when I am hopeful. It is as though I ignore all analytical reality and cling to an unrealistic intuitive expectation, that is what I hate. I feel hope sets me up for failure alone and fulfillment is not an option.
Even though I have started to dislike the feeling of hope and want to distance myself from it as far as possible, I have recently had an epiphany in my inner being. When all hope is lost, it is time for a change. If I no longer want to look at the positive and disregard hope as a man, I need to re-evaluate everything and make the conscious decision to change where I am at. I cannot remain as a depressed man. Here is a quote that nearly brought me to tears as I was writing this article.
"We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope." Martin Luther King, Jr.
This was encouraging and yet sobering for me, I mean shit, MLK went through some severe adversity to attain what he was hoping for. I doubt the amount of disappointment I have faced even comes near a fraction of what he encountered, yet I feel in my life I have experienced more disappointment than I had calculated. Growing up a conservative mid-west Christian I was enveloped in my naivety and a circle of influence which seemed to ignore the reality of when the opposite of hope occurred. It was as though if you didn't have trust in the Lord that all things worked together for good you were a bad Christian, and if you did not cling to this hope, you were a lesser Christian. Now no one would ever externally say this in my realm, but it was implicated throughout the culture.
Here is where I have landed as of recent. Hope is my enemy which I need to keep close. I hate the idea I need to stay hopeful right now, yet, I know a life without hope is futile. It is as though I want to reject the very air that has kept me alive for years. I have survived on the hope that things will work out. I have persevered in dating in the hopes that there is someone out there whom I will authentically connect with. I have continued to work in a profession I want little to do with in hopes that something better will come along or a sign from the universe will come and show me what my next step is. I wonder if hope has been an enabler more than a reinforcement. I wonder if how I have been relying on hope is unhealthy and I need to alter my approach. How could I do this? Is this even possible? I guess to do so I would need to know what I currently define hope is, re-assess, and alter it.
Currently how I define hope is the following.
"To cling to a lofty expectation that may or may not come true, to hold to an unrealistic goal, to ignore the feedback of what reality is currently dishing out, and to override one's intellect due to an intuitive whim."
Ugh, even saying how I presently think hope is defined is saddening to me. It shows me how much I have begun to despise hope. It is my observation though that men of present and from history whom I respect have been able to cling to hope when no one else has. This is what fucks with me on so many levels. It is as though I know the very thing I need is the thing that has brought me much pain. How can you approach consuming a pill that you know will be the most painful experience of your life with the lofty notion that possibly on the other side which may not come for a long time the sickness you are inflicted by may be cured? That is how hope feels. It is a lofty dream.
So how does one go about redefining something like hope? How can I change my perspective and become a hopeful man again? I want to be an optimist. I want to see the brighter side of things and cling to it like a child does a new Christmas present they have been waiting for all year long. How does one restore hope in hope? Seems like an oxymoron to me but I honestly want to know the answer. I don't have an answer right now, but I will be searching for one.
In writing this article, my perspective has begun to shift. Hope is being restored in my soul. I mean without hope what is the point of living? I am going to make the conscious decision to stay hopeful. I have decided it is worth it even though it brings me pain. I wonder if the pain of being hopeful is similar to the pain brought by physically working out?
I wish I had more answers. What are your thoughts? Should one remain hopeful or a skeptic? What actions do you take to maintain a hopeful mindset?