Cultivating hope is not exempt from feeling overwhelmed, fearful, anxious, or triggered. It’s amid life ‘s challenging circumstances, that we develop hope. Sometimes it’s working with a belief that keeps us stuck, or a barrier that keeps us confined that can undermine hope.
Hope takes courage and guts to persevere through hard stuff especially in our families. Through my own journey and research with clients and resources, hope has mainly been cultivated through intentional daily self-care habits, self-compassion and mantras in the midst of tough stuff.
Hope discovers a way through, in making powerful choices, having a voice whist attending to our needs. When we are stressed with our kids, our boss, our employees, our job our partners – where do you put your hope?
Have you ever compromised who you are or given more to others or situations in hope that things may change? Do more, be more, to have a more desirable outcome. This outcome may look like my kids being more respectful or responsible, listening to what I say and doing what I ask them to do-the first time. Or my husband being more available, so I don’t feel so alone or not seen. Maybe my boss showing me appreciation and gratitude for what I bring and do.
Over the past few months, I have been confronted with my sons’ ongoing strong remarks, and disrespect that have sometimes sideswiped me. When I notice that my energy levels are low, or I am tired/drained the comments have hit my red button. At times I will feel very sad and overwhelmed or at other times I want to justify myself or challenge him to understand where I am coming from. Have you ever felt like that with your children?
Choices: I had a choice to manage me or focus on managing my son’s behaviour.
I realise (through prior encounters) that engaging further now will not be beneficial for either of us, as I am feeling vulnerable and need to manage me by focusing on self-care whilst staying connected to my son who is navigating through his ‘stuff’. My hope was to manage me well, to bring the best of me, and keep the connection, as much as it depended on me.
Outcome: One morning as I connected with feeling overwhelmed, by noticing the tension in my body, I removed myself.
Breathing slowly and deeply allowed me to feel and lean into the sadness. I connected to those places with kindness and empathy. Later that morning as I drove my son to school and we spoke about the subjects he had that day, he apologised for the way he spoke to me. We were able to speak about the issue whereby I gained understanding of his perspective, and he was able to hear and understand where I was coming from. He left the car with our connection Intact.
On many occasions when I have put my hope in others’ -, respectful responses, desired outcomes, it has the opposite impact. My hope is dependent on something external, outside of my control.
The journey of hope is not about the ‘other’ having to change – as hope is built on the options of what is my control or influence. How do I change my relationship with disrespect, toxic relationships, with my anxiety and worry? How do I love myself and show myself compassion and kindness? How am I going to protect my heart and stay connected to live powerfully? Who can I go to for help for counselling? What resources or services are there that can help me in addressing the barriers: fear, worry, guilt, shame or mental health issues.
Brene Brown shares that people who have strong boundaries are very compassionate people. They firstly have compassion for themselves, which transfers genuinely to others.
Hope is developed by knowing yourself, giving permission to love yourself and attending to your wellbeing.
Copyright Ursula Benstead 2011 (adapted from Condonis, Pariossien & Adrich,1989). Reproduced with author permission.
Do you live a selfless life, get so exhausted, drained and so frustrated and then swing to Selfish – “I matter – you don’t matter”, until the anger/frustration subsides and then swing back to Selfless- “I don’t matter – You matter”. Are you repeating the Cycle?
- Is this you? If so, what choices do you want to make?
- Have you noticed this pattern? How does it feel? What choice do you want to make?
- Hope says and chooses to believe that I matter. Self-care: I matter, you matter.
Hope says I will give myself permission to believe that I matter, and this may start to reveal the false beliefs or barriers that want to diminish this truth. (WE will look at this in the next blog post)
What would it take?
To Slow down and pause, saying no to extra responsibilities together with making time to be alone, listening to your thoughts, body and feelings, allowing time and space to connect with yourself. Step by step, day by day, taking positive action to live your journey well. Get support to resource yourself. All this helps you become more powerful which reinforces the message that YOU matter.