Hello, dear readers and happy Monday! I know I know, Mondays aren’t happy. Mondays are for being tired, and grouchy, and remembering all the things you don’t like about your life. Mondays are for wanting nothing more than to crawl back into bed and escaping the world.
But, let’s try something different. Let’s imagine that Mondays are the days when we get to start all over again. Let’s imagine all the bad things that happened last week don’t matter anymore and that we’ve been given a second chance to do it all again, and this time, we might even get it right.
From now on Monday’s are for making the changes we want to see in ourselves, and for thinking about the changes we want to see in the world. Monday’s are our new favorite days!
For me, this Monday is an easy one. I have the whole day off from work, tomorrow too! I’m up and working, though. I have a long writing to-do list and one by one I’m going to make it through a few posts, a few pages, and a few submission pieces. I’m going to do my best to avoid distraction, the couch, and junk food. Part of my thinks I won’t make it past lunch time before Netflix is up.
Wish me luck!
“But what we call our despair is often only the painful eagerness of unfed hope”
— George Eliot, Middlemarch
Hope is a part of who we are. We are a species that looks toward the future and sees only optimistic results. We are a species of silver linings and hidden meanings. We are a species that knows in our hearts that everything will work out and always for the best. Hope sets us apart from the rest of the animal kingdom, we think. We hope for success, for love, for peace. We hope for ourselves, our loved ones, and for the entire world and for all time.
Sometimes—more and more often it feels like—we lose hope. Over our lifetimes we get knocked down, we get disillusioned, we fail, and we are defeated, over and over again. We encounter grief, confusion, and frustration and find no answers or comfort. Things don’t work out in the end; there is no happily ever after, life is hard, and it hurts, and we lose hope. We give up, and when we look to the future we no longer see light and happiness, we see darkness and despair.
Worse, we think those trying to find a way out are foolish, and those who still have hope are blind. They will learn we say. Secretly we hope they learn; we hope they find grief, confusion, and frustration so that our feelings might be validated. We wish to spread despair.
There is a way out. There is hope. There is still hope for and in you too. Hope is a part of who we are, and we only need the slightest excuse to feel it. Hope serves a purpose, without it none of us, either on our own or as a species, could have done so much. Without it, we can’t enjoy this one—shockingly short—life we have.
But there is hope for the hopeless. If you have lost hope, there are a few things you can try to feed that tiny glimmer of hope left in you. There are things you can do to feed it and help it grow.
Think about the good things you’ve done. Your life hasn’t been all pain and defeat. Some of it has been, it has been for all of us to varying degrees, but you have survived it. You are strong. You have done more than that too. I bet if you thought about it, you could list a lot of things that you have done and can be proud of. Remember those things and remember that before you did them you didn’t know you could just like now you cannot know what you can do in the future.
Do something different. Sometimes we just get stuck doing the same things and seeing the same people and we forget there is a whole big world outside of what we do day in and day out. We lose hope because we feel trapped in a mental cage and the best way out of that cage is just to get out of it. You don’t have to do anything radical. Start by eating lunch somewhere new. Take a walk through a neighborhood you haven’t seen. Draw something you normally wouldn’t. Read a new book. Anything!
Talk to someone, lots of someones. Sometimes hopelessness is worsened by being around other hopeless people. Try talking to different people about what is going on with you and how you feel. Try to get a few perspectives that are different from your own. Also, try talking to someone you haven’t in a while. Someone you want to reconnect. They might be just what you need.
Do a small thing you can be proud of. Call your mom. Clean out the cluttered closet. Go for a jog. Write a few pages of that novel. Do something on your to-do list. Just one small thing. After you do that thing, take a moment to think about how awesome it feels to have done something you needed to do. Then, if you feel up to it, do another thing. Keep going even when you think you can’t. Each accomplishment, no matter how small, adds a little hope that you can do the next thing.
Do nothing. I know people who have lost hope because they feel they must always be accomplishing things. They have lost hope because they are in a trap of always going and doing. Responsibilities and expectations can turn into a cage for the mind too, and it’s important that we all have time that isn’t filled with to-do lists and tasks. Take a break and do nothing at all. It’ll help your mind and your blood pressure. It’ll remind you that there is more to you and the world than what you can give and do.
Cry. The world we live in can feel lonely, unfair, and frustrating. There are things we don’t like and don’t want to do, and changing your life isn’t always so easy. Sometimes we have to retreat, lick our wounds, and fight another day. Make sure you aren’t holding your feelings in. Make sure you are allowing yourself to acknowledge and release your despair. Crying is a refreshing activity. It can cleanse and rejuvenate you. Try it.
Hopelessness doesn’t have to be n inevitable part of our world. Hope isn’t just for the foolish; it can give light to all our lives. It keeps us moving forward and making the most of our lives. Don’t give up, don’t let yourself be trapped, don’t lose your hope.
You can do the things you want to, and you can be happy, you might just have to do it a little at a time.
And that’s okay.
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Featured image via Unsplash