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How to feel hopeful again.

Message 16, January, 2021

Dear Guest,

I’m going to get to how to feel hopeful in a minute. But I have to start with this: we spend a lot of time teaching each other how NOT to have hope. How to be discouraged.

There’s an endless stream of hopelessness in the world and businesses and schools and homes and families and news and social media. It’s a never-ending parade of reasons things can’t and shouldn’t and won’t ever be different.

Most of us grow up on a steady diet of hearing, “That’s just the way it is,” “That’s the way we’ve always done it,” “Don’t fail and don’t let anybody see your weaknesses, ” “You’re too old to do that,” and “You’re not smart enough or fast enough or tough enough for that.”

People think they are being kind by telling us what they believe is the truth, to keep us from getting hurt. But every time we say things like this and every time we hear things like this, we are training our brains to be without hope.

People say these things and buy into these ideas because it feels much safer to NOT take risks. It feels comfortable to keep things just the way they are, to do things that other people think are acceptable, to ignore dreams and to deny that somebody else has a dream. Not facing risk and rejection - and not letting you do it either - really is the brain's default setting for a lot of people.

And then sometimes, people try to sell us on this hopelessness because it’s more convenient for them. I know this is something a lot of caregivers can relate to. Without a doubt, the system of caregiving runs a lot smoother when the caregiver doesn’t inconvenience anybody with their own opinions and dreams and needs and ambitions.

I think most people discourage others from dreaming mostly because it’s what they know. They are as surrounded by this hopelessness and discouragement as we are and they are just mimicking what they’ve always heard.

This is why I talk so much about possibilities. Because seeing possibilities leads to becoming hopeful again.

When you learn to look for possibilities, you notice the discouraging messages and you recognize them for their baked-in hopelessness. And you begin to ask, “Is there another way to look at this?” and “What else could be true here?” And before long, choosing to see possibilities feels a lot like hope. It trains your brain to be hopeful, even when your circumstances are very, very challenging.

This is how you feel hopeful again. Train your brain to see possibilities, to ask what else could be. 

When you begin to let hope into your thoughts again, you free your mind. Your world can begin to open up to new ideas and opportunities. That, my friend, is what is looks like to be hopeful.

In the next message, I talk about what we get wrong when we say there is only one right choice.

Please let me know if you can relate to this, or if you have any thoughts or  questions, by leaving a comment here.

Kay Coughlin

*If you are feeling hopeless and stuck, and you’re ready to free your mind from this pain, take a look at my book From One Caregiver to Another - Overcoming Your Emotional Grind here.


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Copyright 2020, Facilitator On Fire, Galena, OH, 43021, 614.426.8062

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