“Hope is not specific to circumstance. It is an all encompassing belief in yourself.” -TUM
If you had of mentioned the word hope a few years back, it would have ruffled my feathers. It was a word I coupled with my Catholic upbringing. It was muttered many times, with no real explanation on how to harness it. Sorry to say, blind hope just didn’t do it for me.
A few months ago I picked up a book called “The Power of Habit” by Charles Duhigg. In it he outlines why we do the things we do, and the steps to changing them if desired. A major starting off point being a “keystone change”. A “keystone change” is one activity or area of our life in which we change drastically. He then notes that this will cause a snowball effect shifting other areas of our life for the better. This all made so much sense. You make a drastic change and everything else changes. So simple. However, upon further inspection, I believe there is more to this than meets the eye.
In this book, there is no mention of the hope one successful change creates in our body. A “keystone change” is of course the quickest and most efficient way to creating a large pocket of hope. However, every small change adds to that stockpile. Think of the possibilities here… we can build hope in our daily routine. This means we push ourselves, little by little, until we have enough hope reserves to make a leap. Without hope reserves, our strength is weakened, our ego runs rampant and that light at the end of the tunnel is dim.
The cool thing about hope reserves are they are interchangeable. For example, hope created by standing up for yourself successfully at work for the first time can be cashed in and used with getting though that first tough work out. Hope is not specific to circumstance. It is an all encompassing belief in yourself.
Hope can be gathered from even the smallest change. For example, every morning, Jane wakes up and heads straight outside for a cigarette. Even though Jane wants to quit, she can’t seem to break this morning ritual. “It’s what gets me out of bed, without it I may just never go to work!” This thought pattern displays Jane’s lack of hope. She does not think she can do it. One morning, Jane sleeps though her alarm clock, causing her to race out of bed in a furry of panic. Lacking in time, she hops in the shower, speedily dresses and is out the door. Her first morning cigarette is now enjoyed on her commute, instead of first thing on her balcony. Just then, without her knowledge, a seed of hope is planted. Although her delayed cigarette was not by choice, she still proved to herself she would indeed be able to get out of bed without the promise of nicotine relief. By accomplishing something she thought she could not do, she chalked up another nugget of hope for future endeavors.
Hope is a magical thing. It not only helps in change making but also to dissipate fear and self doubt. In turn, we see things clearer. We see them for what they are, without a dark blanket thrown over top. We have the opportunity to feel connections that were once unaccessible due to said blanket. Connections with humans, connections with the universe and connections with ourselves strengthen.
The largest challenge here is starting the process. Those first steps can feel like a real uphill battle. Self doubt and fear run the show at this point. Start by noticing your internal dialogue. Try looking at the words from an outside perspective, almost as if someone else is saying them to you. Are the words truth? I think I can speak for most by saying… probably not.
Start small, start tiny, start building,