When times are hard, hope can get us through. The simplest hope that things can be better, and that this is not going to be the way of it forever, can keep a person going. Often it doesn’t take much.
It is also true that the glimmers of hope can be what hurt you most. They keep you hanging on, striving, trying, and sometimes it would be better to give up and walk away.
When it comes to things like politics, climate crisis, and covid, there is no away. If we give up, there’s nowhere to retreat to where things will be better. It’s not like giving up on a career – where you might find a better one, or admitting a marriage isn’t working when you have the hopes of improving your life by getting out. There is no out. And around these huge issues, hope can be in short supply.
Without hope, it is difficult to see how to keep going, how to change things or what to do. That’s paralysing, and no one makes much good for themselves when they are frozen in this way. No one makes radical changes from a place of feeling like there’s no point even trying.
Hope has fellow travellers, it is nourished and enabled by experiences of warmth and joy, beauty laughter, delight, and kindness. So if building hope seems too ambitious, look for the small wonders and beauties and try to focus on those. Share them. A picture of a pretty sunset can birth the hope of being able to see the person who took the photo. The promise of a good book to read can create some sense of there being a tomorrow.
Find what sweetness you can, share it where you can. It may not seem like much, but the tiniest threads of hope are enough to keep a person going in hard times. I know, because I’ve done it. The smallest things can make the difference between knowing how to keep going and being entirely defeated.