“Hope keeps us moving forward. When we look into the future, we want to see hope, light, and faith, instead of darkness and despair.”
Romeo and I sat quietly as we digested the wise words from his dad during our visit to his home in Johor Bahru.
He enjoys giving late night talks, as he believes that this is the time when we start to listen and think, wondering about life in the realm of perspectives.
Hope is a strong word, and is definitely a powerful part of our lives and our health.
It is often not an obvious case, but hope does play a vital role in the recovery of health illnesses, especially those that are closely linked to mental health.
Mental health is not easy to be understood or diagnosed by ourselves. If you wish to find a psychiatry specialist to speak with, you can find one near you here.
The meaning of hope
Hope brings different meanings to different people with different perspectives.
We shall start with the basic definition from the dictionary – hope can be defined as a feeling of expectation and desire for a particular thing to happen, a person or thing that may help or save someone, grounds for believing that something good may happen, or simply a feeling of trust (Oxford English Dictionary).
What is hope to you? Is it a dream that you have had since you were a kid?
Is it a person who you have looked up to for as long as you can remember?
Or is it someone who you look forward to seeing every day?
The power of hope
Hope has been found to be a powerful tool in treating psychological vulnerability.
Studies have found that people living without a clear hope in their minds tend to have higher risks of experiencing psychological breakdowns.
The presence of hope has also been found to be linked with self-compassion (love, empathy, and sympathy for oneself) and life satisfaction.
According to studies on chronic mental illness patients, it is found that the presence of hope can help in improving the health of patients who are in despair or emotional distress.
Hope is also the main force against suicidal ideation.
Hope is built gradually throughout our lives.
While it is indeed true that our hopes can change with time, it is the hope built through our own consciousness that keeps us going when we find ourselves mentally stressed or emotionally challenged.
Research have found that exposure to positive information, especially at the adolescence stage, have major impacts on the self-esteem of individuals.
Mental patients who suffer from depression were found to have been exposed to excessive negative influences and information.
The presence of hope is built through positivity, and optimism.
When hope brings pain
"The higher you hope, the heavier your disappointment"
I’m sure that you’ve heard of how hope can sometimes bring us down.
Sometimes, investing too much time into our hopes with no real conviction can lead to failure and disappointment.
This is why it is absolutely important to invest in our hopes with the right efforts, as different hopes lead us to different paths in our lives, and our self-beliefs are the ones that would lead us through these paths.
It is really an intertwining effort between hope, self-belief, self-compassion, as well as physical and mental efforts.
Hope versus optimism
To have hope in life should not be confused with having complete optimism in every aspects in our lives. One key difference between the two is the realism.
Having realistic and achievable hopes is not the same as being optimistic even in impossible scenarios.
The key to turning hopes and dreams into realities is the effort put in towards achieving that said vision – the rule of positivity is to hope positively, invest positively, and to live positively in the direction of our hopes and dreams.
What do you hope for in your life?
Do you hope for a better tomorrow, for a brighter new year and a brand new life, or do you hope for someone else in their fights in life?
I went to sleep thinking about these deep thoughts that Romeo’s dad shared with us.
For now, I hope to wake up in the morning safe and sound, ready to fight another day full of joy, happiness, and grace.
What about you? Don't forget to share your thoughts with me in the comments below!