Hope For the Weary Heart

Written by on October 28, 2020 in Personal Accountability, Self-Determination

The best analogy I’ve come across about our journey through 2020 is that it’s like running a marathon without knowing the total distance of the race, on a course that keeps changing.

Having no idea where the finish line is, makes it tough to pace yourself. 

We’re still going through the motions, still running on high alert, but it’s taking a little longer to do things, and sometimes it’s a little harder to focus, like a big cloud that is blocking out the sun.

Pandemic fatigue is a real thing and whether we’re consciously aware of it or not, the wear and tear of this journey is affecting us all.

But there is hope for the weary heart.

Never give up hope. One day you will look back and marvel at all that you’ve been through, all that has changed, and you will ask yourself… ‘How did I get through all of that?’

Redefining the Nature of Hope

Hope is something we talk about more than practice. It tends to be seen as weak and passive, little more than wishful thinking.

An avenue of last resort that is just as likely to produce a bit of magic and grant your wish as it is to break your heart.  

Cross your fingers and hope for the best.

But science has a much different perspective on hope.

Researchers have determined that genuine hopefulness causes the brain to release endorphins, promoting an overall sense of well-being, and alleviating stress and anxiety.

Rather than simply a feel-good emotion, they view hope as a dynamic cognitive motivational system that fosters a greater sense of meaning in life and increases the realization of more dreams and goals … even in the midst of adversity.

How do we reconcile the two viewpoints?

It begins by redefining the nature of hope, from wishing that someone or something would swoop in and rescue you, to a powerful form of energy that fuels the internal motivation you need to save yourself.

From a psychological standpoint, hope is the perception that you have the ability to make choices and take action that will positively affect your life. 

A person with high hope has thoughts that are positive and embody the adage, where there’s a will there’s a way.

They also engage in more of something called “pathway thinking” where they can come up with lots of different ways in which they can achieve the desired outcome.

Resilient individuals understand this and use hopefulness to fuel their efforts to find solutions and keep moving forward, even if it means creating pathways to a new reality.

Genuine hopefulness can make a real difference during these difficult times!

Finding Hope Even When It’s Hard

The harsh reality is that the virus is continuing to spread at an alarming rate and it is obvious that we are destined to be on this journey for some time to come. 

Experts are now saying that it could be mid-2022 before we can expect to experience some semblances of normality.

With all of this, if you find the notion of feeling hopeful difficult or even absurd, try to keep in mind that hopefulness doesn’t mean assuming that everything will work out easily or even the way you want it to.

It is trusting that even if the path ahead isn’t clear, as long as you keep moving forward you will find a way, and you will be okay.

There are many ways to begin creating a positive shift mentally and emotionally, make self-care a priority, cut back on social media use, get serious about healthy boundaries, and learn to recognize and change negative self-talk. 

Personally,  I have found one of the most effective ways to boost hopefulness is to gradually begin to change your outlook by putting yourself in situations to experience it.

How Making a Difference Fosters Hope

Before the pandemic, three out of five nonprofits relied heavily on small donor contributions to deliver on their mission.

But now many of those who have traditionally supported nonprofits are finding themselves in need of their services, most for the first time in their lives. 

A record number of people are experiencing food scarcity, and food banks are struggling to keep up with the growing demand.

Fortunately, all over the country, people are stepping up to make a difference and bringing hope to those in need.

One of those people is North Texas 5th-grader Orion Jean who launched his Race to Kindness with a goal of getting 100k meals to people in need before Thanksgiving

“The difficult situations impacting our world has shown us that kindness is more important now than ever before. We’ve heard about the families hurting from this pandemic; the communities suffering injustice, and the people being OVER virtual learning. We could really use a big hug right now. And that’s just it. Kindness is like spreading hugs around the world to those who need it and those who might not even know they need it.”

~Orion Jean

You can visit Orion’s website and learn more about Race to Kindness here

“It’s unbelievable how people got such a great heart,” Rodriguez said, holding back tears. “People didn’t have to help me. But people did it because of their heart.”

~Israel Rodriguez

Last month a young Houston father and his family were filmed by a local news station as they were being evicted from their home.

It was heartbreaking, not only for this family but knowing that this is likely just the beginning of a wave of evictions that may be heading our way this winter.

The good news is that the Rodriguez family found hope from a surprising source, the officers charged with handling their eviction.

Within hours they set up a GoFundMe that has raised more than $180,000 to help them and other families facing eviction.

Tracy Lystra has dedicated her life to rescuing abused and abandoned animals, In 2016 she made a dream come true when she launched the Saving Huey Foundation, and just 2 years later opened Huey’s Second Chance Ranch.

Her story is deeply inspiring and you can learn more about her efforts in my article The Story of a Dog Named Huey & the Gift of 2nd Chances.

Tracy’s passion and determination have earned a loyal army of followers, but like other nonprofits, Saving Huey Foundation is hemorrhaging since donations have slowed to a trickle.

You can help Tracy continue to give abused animals a second chance in life simply by voting for the Saving Huey Foundation at the following link to My Giving Circle.

The organization will be giving away $145,000 this December to the nonprofits with the most votes!

Saving Huey Foundation

The Takeaway

Hope relies in part on having a sense of control; it’s the idea that you can exert an influence on the world around you and that the actions you take can have positive consequences in your life.

It’s neither wishful thinking nor waiting to be rescued, but acknowledging that while there are many things out of your control right now, you always have the power to choose your response.

That if you will never give up hope, and just keep moving forward, you will be okay.

Related Reading:
Will you be the passenger or the driver in your life journey?
About Marquita Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach, and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies, and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Emotionally Resilient Living Start Here.

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