Have you lost hope in the present and future?

As a Sociologist/Anthropologist I do a lot of contemplating the plight of humankind and society as a whole. And not many things have rattled me to the core as much as the loss of hope in our country, and in our world, presently. Not only that, but it also has incredible links to motivation. I JUST happened to discover the term “quiet quitting” yesterday, as a trend affecting all workers, meaning, they are working less, lazier, and are less caring. Therefore, employers are getting less from employees than ever before—and all this at a time when workers are scarce, people are quitting, consumers are impatient, and employers are practically BEGGING people to come in for an interview.

Hope is an ancient word and idea. It has psychological connotations as well as spiritual ones. We seem to be a world full of hopelessness right now and it grieves my heart. If it’s not the news, it’s another death, another job loss, or a health struggle.

G.K. Chesterson states,” Charity means pardoning what is unpardonable, or it is not virtue at all. Hope means hoping when things are hopeless…and faith means believing the incredible, or it is no virtue at all.” It reminds me of the verse in Hebrews 11:1: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” And Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

I have no doubt that the mental health situation plaguing our world is a result of this hopelessness—and it’s driven by fear at its core, I believe– fear of losing my job, fear of financial ruin, bad health, etc. But if we don’t have hope, I believe we are a lost people. It is a precondition to our sanity and health to grasp onto hope. When this belief system is allowed to run untethered in an unhealthy fashion, it can lead to a feeling that things are NEVER going to get better in the future. And then, many go down the black (rabbit) hole into depression–or worse, suicide. At the least, experience a lack of any motivation.

I love the way the Greek poet, Hesiod, used a word for hope, “Elpis,” which was often translated as meaning “expectation.” Our hope and our motivation are closely linked, but what happens when motivation evaporates? Motivation can be self-fulfilling but can also lead to psychological problems that lead to hopelessness—and the feeling that things are not going to get better in the future.

So, we can see that a breakdown in motivation, in the present tense, can lead to feelings of hopelessness for the future. HOPE, then, is truly, future-oriented. It’s how we send ‘’messages to the future”, in a sense! Hope should be less me-centered and more other-centered– caring for the welfare of others. Sometimes our hope is for ‘world peace’ or ‘hope for the poor.’ Some of these things we can DO something about, and some we can’t. Sometimes the feeling of helplessness TO help an issue can lead to feelings of hopelessness, thus, robbing our passion, and sapping our motivation to do the things that bring us satisfaction, happiness, and mental and physical health.

For instance, if we believe when applying for a ‘dream job,’  you know you will be highly successful, your motivation will be high. Yet if we believe that applying will be unsuccessful, our motivation deflates and we spin off into a realm of self-fulfilling prophecies.

“Expectations accompanied by action is the hallmark of hope.” –Vivienne Collinson (teacher)

If you find yourself feeling hopeless and unmotivated, the purpose of this blog is not just to spew facts, or to point out the obvious, but to give you some actions to help you feel purpose, hope, and motivation again. Consider implementing some of these actions:

-Have high hopes in everything you do, raise your expectations, and nurture these elements in yourself

– Remember the quote by St. Clement of Alexandria: “If you do not hope, you will not find what is beyond your hopes.”

-Set goals. Write them down. Set a time to accomplish them, realistically (this gives you hope for the future, yet won’t overwhelm you).

-Create a daily schedule that keeps you on task and away from letting your mind wander back to unhealthy ways of thinking. Be vigilant about what you are thinking and HOW you think about things.

-Eat well. When you feel poorly, or feel bad about yourself, it will do a number on motivation, and rob you of hope, as well as sap you of the strength you need to accomplish the dreams that give you motivation and hope! Not to mention, we all need a good dose of a healthy, immune-building diet in this day and age.

-Think about some way you can encourage or do something for someone else each day. Pay someone a compliment each day. Spread hope to others that need it—or they may be just a day away from losing it. You may just give them faith in humankind again. Truly.

If our hopes actually become reality, something incredible happens—stuff HAPPENS!! (And we have hope for the next obstacle, project, or move! We have HOPE for the future!) Now that, in our current world, is something worth cherishing, isn’t it?

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