As humans, we are designed to move forward even in the face of uncertainty. When observing the experiences of children with chronic illnesses, one researcher asked the children to talk about a time when hope felt most real. They spoke about everyday moments like sitting at the dinner table or talking with a friend. Hope is often talked about as being caused by a life changing experience, but it is usually cultivated in the everyday. If we look for them, stories of hope are all around us.
Hope is a feeling of trust and optimism that a future state can come true. Unlike a desire or wish, hope is one step closer to an actionable plan. In fact, research suggests that hope grows when paths toward a goal seem visible. Spotting those ways forward and building hope is how we build resilience and initiate changes, big or small.
Different from expecting things will go your way, having hope is based on the underlying knowledge that things don’t always go as planned. And while some people seem to naturally carry a rosy outlook, we’re definitely not all born optimistic. By exposing ourselves to the right stories and reminding ourselves of past successes, we can improve our ability to hope. It is possible to accept challenge and uncertainty, while holding onto a confidence that we’ll end up where we need to be.