Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Hope isn't a passive phenomenon . . . Make hope happen!

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Life isn't a spectator sport.  If you really want to live life you must immerse yourself totally in the experience.  In all lives there are ups and there are downs.  The most devastating "down" is the experience of chronic, debilitating illness.  But chronic illness doesn't mean the end of life, but the beginning of a new chapter in life.  After the initial grieving and that feeling of hopelessness begins to subside, take your life reins back and start directing your life plan again.  Just because "life is what happens while we are planning" we don't have to succumb to life's setbacks.  That's just to let us know we are still alive!  With every setback there are opportunities that present themselves.  They may be difficult to identify at first, but if you look closely enough they are there.

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Shane J. Lopez, Ph.D. is a leading researcher on hope and he seeks to make hope less elusive for all of us.  "Making Hope Happen:  Create the Future You Want for Yourself and Others" is his book, which focuses on the possibilities and not the obstacles.  His prescription for success is to start small and grow hope big by creating a vision for the future.  Creating a vision for the future excites the mind and minimizes anxieties. (Lopez, Shane J.  "Five Years Ago and Five Years From Now", Success from Home,  Vol 10, No 6, pg 74-75.)  It's all about moving forward and not looking back.  That's a good practice for all of us in our everyday lives.  Spending too much time on reminiscing and hoping life was different from our current experience and reality is counterproductive and self-defeating.  Self-sabbotage just doesn't make sense, but first we must recognize when we are demonstrating self-defeating behaviors and that's the hard part.

The first step is to be honest with ourselves . . . if we can't be honest with ourselves who can we be honest with??  Give up denial, rationalization, and victimization and put yourself back in the driver's seat.  That alone will give you more hope and limit self-defeating behaviors.  Again, start small.  I tend to self-defeat by eating the wrong foods and not adhering to smaller meals for the gastroparesis that tries to be my "boss" every day.  So instead of me being in control I allow my gut to boss me around throughout the day.  That doesn't make sense to me, but I do it anyway.  Then I feel terrible, which results in a downward spiral.  Not a good thing!  So I must take control back and gain my freedom again.  That's just one example of how easy it is to self-sabbotage our own lives.  So, move forward and be free again.  That's real freedom and liberation, which is what we all are searching for.