Hope is an emotion that can inspire us to allow our greatest wants and joys to come into our lives simply because we desire them. A challenge that sometimes attacks hope, before our desires can be met, is other emotions. Despair and its best friend doubt can step in and stop us in our tracks by redirecting our thoughts to a negative place.
The saying “hope floats” depicts how in a sea of emotions that hope can surface to the top as something to hold on to during stormy days. It sounds wonderful, but have you ever swam to a buoy bobbing up and down (floating) in the ocean only to find that you are unable to find a place to grab on to before the current pulls you away again and again? That is why I decided that for me to keep a firm grip on hope that I had to find a way to anchor it to me and not the ocean’s bottom. This way hope would always be within my reach.
Most of the time, hope is easily available to me. There have been times though that hope seemed to back away from me during times of struggle. How on earth could I create a thought of hope when I really needed it and despair was the only thing I felt? Even being the extreme optimist that I am, and with knowing how positive thoughts can influence my emotions, I found little comfort when negative emotions became the master of my thoughts. How could I create a hope filled thought through my tears? I finally discovered a way to weaken despair’s grip and free myself from its burden with a game I now call Nonsense.
A little backstory first, it was during a challenging time in my life when I could not stop my thoughts from hurting me that hope seemed out of reach. This particular time, without realizing it, something was triggered deep inside of me and caused me to say to myself four words that made no sense. It was as if something snapped. I reacted to those unwanted heavy emotions with words that had no significant meaning to me. Random words with no attachment to my emotions had allowed me to stop feeling hopeless. They were, to me, just plain silly and pointless considering the deep thoughts that I had been trapped under. The words were along the lines of “…light, broccoli, boy, drums…” followed by another round of four more random words like “…toe, pony, tree, hose.” Before I knew it …poof…like magic…despair and doubt had left me. All I know is that I felt a sense of peace take over as I released all negative thoughts by consciously thinking of nonsense words.
The next time I tried this exercise, I realized that I wanted to release damaging thoughts and redirect my feelings and words to a better place. To do this, I thought of playing a more focused version of Nonsense still using random words but centering on a category such as taking a vacation. When I heard myself saying, “…airplane, sunscreen, suitcase, and water”, I discovered how to nullify the feeling of despair and replace it with sweet hope.
For me, I found hope after eliminating words (thoughts) of pain with random words of hope. No matter how you find it, trust that hope is always there and ready to deflect despair. Keep reaching for it, never give in to despair, and hope will be drawn to you by a current deep within you. You can find a way to grab onto hope and know that nothing can pull it away as you and hope ride the waves together.
The contents of this article is the opinion of the author and should not be considered as a form of therapy. If expert advice or counseling is needed, the services of a competent professional should be sought.