Hope exists as something similar to magic.
It is embedded within nearly every human interaction; it lies at the heart of everything we do within our lives, aside from the basic and innate actions. We work hard because we hope for more money or that promised promotion. We dress nice and groom ourselves in hopes of gaining the attention of others. Most of us even try to live moral lives with high hopes of somehow being rewarded in the end.
So often, we even hope when all rational thought tells us that we should not. Even as sane, reasonable adults, we let our hopes drive us to dream of the improbable and impossible. I have met a few people in my life who give the persona of not holding hopes for anything, and even then I have to wonder how much of it is true. Is anyone really capable of not holding out hope for things? I’m compelled to think not.
Hope tends to be a really dangerous thing for me. I tell myself not to think about something I desperately want; getting my hopes up to only have them shattered leaves me in emotional turmoil. Maybe this reaction is due to my struggle with bipolar depression, but it is there nonetheless.
How do I keep myself from hoping? I become so singularly-focused that it is borderline obsessive. I over-think and analyze every aspect of a situation, attempting to mentally force my will on the Universe (real Jedi-mind-trick type of wishful thinking).
This past week has been a prime example of how I can get carried away with my hopes, even as I tell everyone around me my rational response to a situation. I wanted something that is practically impossible for me, and I really let my imagination get carried away. I considered something life changing, hoping that mere wishful thinking from me and my husband could make it happen. I spent time researching; reading and learning anything that could give me the answer I wanted. Even as I jested with my husband and others, I was an internal storm of emotion.
Halfway through the day, I had to face harsh reality. It was clear as day in front of my face that things were not as I hoped, and even then, part of me still ached for the impossible. Even as my husband seemed to have gotten what he wanted, I found he felt lacking as well. We both hoped for something that wasn’t going to happen, and recovering from it will be a little painful.
How do you climb back from that when you were the one to put yourself there in the first place?
So, as magical as hope can be, it can be just as dark and excruciating as most things in life. It guides us, it drives us, it molds us, and it even serves as the only thing holding us together sometimes. Still, it can be the force that wrecks us in the end.
Is that a reason to give up all hope? Definitely not, but it would probably be wise for me to restrain myself from going down this same path of fruitless hope ever again.