On hope… March 31, 2019 by Jamie WestermanHope will get you through. Today is not my best day. Someday I will talk about why, but today is not the day. Instead today is a day I will focus on hope. I woke up this morning with feelings swirling. Anger, fear, disappointment, frustration. It’s not very often anymore that I find myself in that confined space of my own tortured thoughts. But when I do, my immediate remedy is Brene Brown. Specifically, her book, “Rising Strong.” That book directly changed my course years ago when I was in unchartered waters. It became my compass. So now, when I feel my sense of direction wavering, I return to Brene to find my true north. I listen to “Rising Strong” on audio because Ms. Brown herself reads the book and I’m oddly comforted even just by her voice. I never know which point in the book I will be starting at on a random day when I need her words to hit home. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that today, as I stood in my bathroom getting ready to face the day, her message was one of hope. Hope is anticipating an outcome with a favorable conclusion. It is expecting a happy ending. It is desiring a positive result. Hoping is dreaming. It is through hope that people fight through the hard times or push to a higher level of achievement. Hope is an anchor to hold you steadfast but also an oar to push you forward. Brene says, “hope is a function of struggle.” Because we will not win the struggle without hope. She also notes hope is not an emotion, it’s how we think. We learn to hope when we find ourselves off course and then figure out how to redirect. We learn hope through relationships and finding trust. We learn hope when we have faith and people have faith in us. Wow, yes Brene, preach. When we become hopeless, we lose the ability to do hard things. Hell, we lose the ability to do easy things, like get out of bed and shower. Hopelessness is fear, depression, overwhelm, and despair squeezing so tight you cannot breathe. I will do anything necessary to avoid losing hope. Fortunately, now I know when the shadow of lost hope starts to descend, and I have strategies to find the light again. I listen to Brene. I count backwards, 54321, to dispel any twinge of anxiety I feel. Thank you, Mel Robbins. I go to gratitude. I use this in fact most of all. When a negative thought creeps in I will immediately say to myself, “what 3 things are you grateful for right now?” When I am feeling really threatened it’s more. Last night before I fell asleep, I started a countdown of 20 things I felt grateful for despite the mess. I didn’t make it to 20 before I fell asleep. Not surprisingly I slept the night because my focus before my slumber was about gratitude and not doubt. Hope will get me through. It will get you through. Don’t charter the waters of life without it or without a plan to keep hope at the forefront. Your resiliency depends on it.