Finding Hope in Our Hopelessness
The strength of affirmation
Posted Feb 16, 2015
The focus of this blog is on how to be happy; how to live a happy life and not just with moments of happiness but with real happiness. We want happiness that permeates our days, our weeks, our years, and our lifetime. This is the happiness that we are pursuing.
Sometimes in life we go through really challenging times. These challenging times can make it very difficult to be happy. It’s not that we don’t believe that it’s possible to be happy; it’s that what’s going on in the moment makes it very challenging to have hope, to be happy, and to believe that, in the end, everything is going to work out for the best.
What can we do during these very challenging times? I’d like to share with you something that I think will be very helpful if you are going through a difficult time. Whatever your challenge may be, there is hope in the hopelessness. Perhaps you’re going through a break-up or divorce, perhaps love has left you, perhaps you’re losing something like a business or a home, or perhaps you’re struggling with some type of illness. There are many things we go through that are challenging for us and we often don’t know what to do to find happiness. I’d like to teach you something that I’ve used over the years that has been helpful for me when I face a challenging time in life and need to believe that there is hope and happiness to come.
What I do is something called steeping. Steeping myself in something that gives me hope. It’s a very simple phrase. It’s a phrase that I cling onto when I find myself in hard times. I think that you will find it helpful too. When I’m struggling I don’t want something complicated; I want something easy that will help me right now, such as this simple phrase. The simple phrase I use is “All is well.” I say it over and over again and I listen to it as I say it, whether in my mind or out loud. Although at that moment all may not seem well, just hearing that phrase over and over again helps. It can actually help a great deal. It can help us get through the most challenging times we may ever go through in life.
What happens is that when we “steep ourselves,” like we steep tea, in the phrase “all is well” even though right now we can’t tell how things are going to work out to be okay, we get hope out of that phrase. We are inspired to hang in there through challenging times by the power of positive thinking and affirmation. We can, of course, choose to be negative in thought and cry out in pain and while these things in and of themselves can be helpful in their own way, we get stuck in the negativity of those thoughts. When we choose to be repetitive in negative thoughts and actions we get caught up in that negativity and we really do get stuck. Unfortunately, we can stay stuck for a very long time. However, instead, if we choose to believe that there is hope and that with time things will change and we believe that “this too will pass,” that “all will be well again”, then just hanging onto that hope can be beautiful and marvelous.
Life isn’t permanent. No matter how horrible things are now, things will change. If we hang in there and believe that ultimately “all is well” then as we go through this incredibly challenging time it helps us. It gives us hope and we move towards healing. We move towards the direction of happiness and getting well again. This happens because we steep ourselves in the concept, in the hope, in the belief that ultimately “all is well.” When we go through really challenging times sometimes we just want to give up. Sometimes we even want to just be allowed to “be in the pain,” and believe that it’s never going to go away. We lose hope but instead, if we just right now for this moment listen to and hear that “all is well” (even if that may seem utterly ridiculous) it can give us hope. If we allow ourselves to hear “all is well” even though what we are going through is painful, we can get through the next moment. We can get through the next moment and then the next, and then the next; as we continue to listen to our own affirmation telling us that “all is well” it is more likely that this very challenging time will end and we will win the battle. When we eventually realize that this challenging time was conquered and we made it through, then we will finally see that “all is well” as we affirmed.
It’s not that we are trying to deny reality but instead, we are trying to infuse hope into the hopelessness. This hope can make all the difference in the world. If you’ve ever had a chance to read or study Victor Franco’s work “Man’s Search For Meaning,” you’ll know he talks about living in a Nazi prison camp and those who survived and those who didn’t. In many ways it boiled down to those who had something to live for, those that had hope, were the ones that could possibly survive. Of course not all who had hope and something to live for survived but he was there and when he saw that people lost hope they didn’t last long. Dr. Franco saw that those people who cultivated hope, those that had something to live for, were the ones that were more likely to and often could survive.
Another story I recall was a documentary about a rock climber. He had fallen into an ice crevice and his friend assumed he was dead. There was a horrible storm coming so his friend had to move on to lower ground, assuming that his friend had died. His friend moved on and the man who had fallen into this ice cave awoke to realize that his leg was broken and that he had no hope of getting out. He had no hope of making it back to base camp. It was a situation of pure hopelessness. However, what he did was he asked himself “Can I get myself to that next rock? Can I get to that next ice opening?” That he could hope for… and he did. He made it to that point and then he hoped for the next point, and then the next; having small glimpses of hope one small step at a time gave him motivation. He was successful because he could make a few steps, he could crawl those few steps and he kept dragging himself while he experienced the most horrific pain. Every few steps he would often pass out from the pain; but he’d wake up and say “I know I can’t make it all the way but I CAN make it to the next rock, I CAN make it to the next creek.” He kept doing this for days until he made it to his friend’s camp. Because of those small affirmations, even in the most hopeless of moments, he made it and he lived.
There may not be any hope left right now with what you’re going through; but, perhaps you can choose to say “all is well” over and over again through the hopelessness in order to get through it all. I even made a podcast where I calmly keep repeating those words - “all is well” - so that you can download it and listen to it if you want. You can access it here and keep it with you at all times. You can also utilize your own words and affirmation to seize the moment and conquer those times when all seems hopeless. Find that perhaps in the utter hopelessness you can find hope in “all is well.” I want to encourage us all that if we are going through challenging times in our lives we need to find hope in this hopelessness. We can all do this by positive thinking, affirmation, and simply repeating that “all is well” in order to give ourselves hope even in times of hopelessness.