K is for Keeping Hope Alive – #AtoZChallenge 2018
Today’s discussion will focus on hope and how to keep reasonable expectations of it to preserve both your physical and emotional health in regards to living life with chronic illness.
Merriam Webster defines hope in the following ways:
- Intransitive verb
- To cherish a desire with anticipation; to want something to happen or be true
- Transitive verb
- To desire with the expectation of obtainment or fulfillment
- To expect with confidence.
There are days that nearly everyone may feel hopeless at one point or another. We are all human and we all have days where it seems as if nothing is ever going to get better, whether referring to a job, financial situation, health, or nearly any topic you could pick that directly impacts your life and happiness. The trick is not to let those days take root to grow into a larger feeling of hopelessness which can easily happen if we do not properly address the topic of hope and ultimately if you lose hope you can fall down the very deep well of despair from which it can seem impossible to climb back out of.
Take notice that in the opening line of this post I stated about reasonable expectations. This aspect of keeping hope in your personal journey or situation is key. If, for example, you have lost a limb due to an injury it would be unreasonable to maintain hope that things will go back to the way they were before the devastating injury. In contrast it would be extremely beneficial for you mentally and physically to keep hope that despite that loss life will go on, you will get the appropriate prosthetic device, and continue to live a long and productive life despite that injury.
If you suffer from a chemical imbalance within that results in some sort of mental illness it would be impractical to expect that things will simply get better on their own with no attempt at proper treatment while not acknowledging the challenges that are in front of you in hopes that they simply go away. Conversely if you are depressed due to a job situation that no longer seems a good fit for you for whatever reason, then it would be reasonable and expected to have hope that changing jobs or employers may very well address your situation and therefore improve your quality of life and happiness.
With chronic health issues it is quite easy to get lost in the quicksand of symptoms and the many impacts your diagnosis may have on your life. It is equally easy for some to begin to feel hopeless and just accept that their life is going to be horrible and there is nothing you can do about it. However I beg to point out that the only thing in life that it is unreasonable to not expect will happen is death. Inevitably death will find us all and there isn’t much we can do about it, or is there?
I offer that it is all in how you look at things. You could be the pessimist who says to yourself well my life sucks, and even if I try to make it better I’m going to die, so why bother. Or you can be the optimist and decide that despite the challenges in your path and the inevitable outcome of death, you plan to do everything within your power to make the absolute best of the time you have. I choose to be the latter for the very simple reason that I am too stupid (or stubborn maybe) to quit, lay down, and die. It just isn’t in my nature.
Are there times when things have briefly felt hopeless? Sure there are, for as I stated earlier we all have bad or challenging times. It is precisely what you do in those times will define how you as a person decide to cope with life and the challenges presented to you.
Let’s be realistic for a moment. It is human nature to want to be happy, and enjoy life as opposed to being miserable and just existing until you cease to exist. I pose it is worth the sometimes considerable effort to maintain reasonable hope that things will improve and enjoy life to the best of your ability for as long as you possibly can.
I could write volumes about specific examples and still couldn’t cover all possibilities or scenarios that could present themselves. Take a moment to apply this thinking to your life. Is there something in your life, be it related to physical health or not, that you could change to make things better for yourself? On the physical side of things maybe you are no longer able to go to the gym like you used to due to a medical issue, yet you could set a goal to walk a minimum distance each day to still provide your body with some exercise and your mind with a break from staring at the walls inside your home or office.
Take a few minutes each day to practice how to frame things in amore positive light. Sure, this takes more energy than just accepting things as they are, but isn’t your happiness worth it?
Our logo and name are designed in part around the concept that in life there will be peaks and valleys. Should you find yourself in the valley between the two mountain peaks you must keep hope that you will make it to the peak of the next mountain. Without hope there is no fight, and without life you can simply wither away both literally and figuratively.
Tell us your thoughts on hope as it pertains to your life. Do you know someone who persisted to strive for a better life despite the chronic, lifelong, and at times totally debilitating illness they were faced with? Some would call these people an inspiration which can be true as well, but they often simply kept hope. They refused to give up hope and remain stagnant in their situation.