I am in a phase of my life where my future is uncertain. Despite the fact that things have always seemed to work out for me and I’ve never really had to face the fear of not having access to the income I need to survive, this upcoming period of my life is causing me quite a bit of anxiety. Though I know that my experience provides me with access to more opportunities than most, there is something inherently scary in a future where you’re not sure if you’re going to have what you need to maintain your life.
Part of the anxiety we feel in times like these is hopelessness. Regardless of how blessed our lives may have been in the past, we always experience a certain amount of fear and doubt when we come to a crossroads with no clear path forward. Despite past success and a proven track record of being able to make things happen, we always have a part of us that tells us that this time it will all come crashing down around us. Hopelessness is a natural part of most people’s outlook on the future, especially when that future is a big blank wall of nothing.
The scary part is that hopelessness can sometimes be a self-fulfilling prophecy, especially if we’re not very careful to control it. The more we give in to that feeling of dread, the less effort we put into trying to be successful. As we sink further and further down that path of fear, the very hopelessness we want to avoid causes us to force ourselves into the very situation we didn’t want to be in. We fail to keep trying because we become convinced our efforts are wasted. Hopelessness forces us into horrible situations.
What do we do when we find ourselves facing a situation that feels hopeless? Some people will tell you to assume a positive attitude. Others will tell you to surround yourself with friends and family. You might even be advised to see a professional counselor or therapist. All of these are probably good ideas, but they are all really the same thing. The true way to get over hopelessness is to find a way that works for you to pull your attention off of that feeling and focus it on something that makes you more productive.
Making yourself more productive is a natural repellant to hopelessness. This is because when you get a feeling of accomplishment, no matter how small, it makes you feel like you’re moving forward with your life. A sense of forward momentum tends to help us overcome many problems in our lives, especially hopelessness. Those small victories make us feel more competent and help us to better imagine that blank wall becoming an opportunity rather than a road block.
Regardless of what method you choose, it won’t be easy. Hopelessness is one of the biggest challenges we face in our modern time, mostly because so many things come so easily to us now that we don’t have to put much effort into anything anymore. When we experience resistance in something so important as our career or family, we are less equipped to deal with it than our ancestors were, and the consequences of this hit us far harder because we tend to be less resilient. Because of this, it is very important to constantly practice toughening ourselves mentally so we can absorb these life events with a minimum of damage.
So how do we do this? Well, as stated before, there are a variety of ways to strengthen your resolve. Simply teaming up with others is a very powerful method of overcoming hopelessness. When you feel like you’re in a group that understands what you’re going through and is there to support you, it greatly reduces the burden you feel. Actively practicing positive thinking can also be very helpful, sort of like banishing the darkness with your flashlight. There are any number of ways you can deal with this feeling, but the common thread in all of them is to participate in a process that is positive. What you feed your mind is what you will get back out of it.
So what do you think about hopelessness? How often do you experience it? Have you felt better relying on others, or did you find your own way to get through it? It would be interesting for us to share our personal experiences to find out what works and what doesn’t. No one person has the answer, and sharing our combined knowledge is usually the best way to find out how to get things done.
Leave an inspirational comment or story so others can benefit from a positive push away from hopelessness.
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