What Gives You Hope?

20 November, 2014 (03:35) | Core values, healthy living, Personal Success, positive emotions, resilience, Uncategorized | By: lifecoach

The Mirriam Webster definition of hope:
“To want something to happen or to be true, and think that it could happen or be true.” 

The word hope shows up a lot in personal growth work.  It’s one of the 24 character strengths defined in the Via Character Strength Assessment (click here to learn more about the science of strengths: www.viacharacter.org). It’s also one of my core values, as well as several of my client’s. Barbara Fredrickson, famed positivity researcher, identified it as one of the 10 positive emotions that when engaged helps us broaden and build our minds. This in turn increases our resilience (and well-being) so we are better able to deal with stress and adversity. Clearly, taking a deep dive into what hope means to us is well worth our time and effort.

Hope happens to be #3 on my top 5 character strengths list. I discovered this long after identifying it as a core value. Looking back, I can see where hope was very much at work during my troubled teen years. The blessing of hope being one of my signature strengths may have been the only thing that got me through that time. Without it, I might not have made some of the ‘better choices’ that ultimately led me down a healthier path. The good news is, even if hope is not an innate strength of yours, you can still flex this resilience-building muscle by engaging in practices that increase your degree of it.

In a recent workshop I conducted on the topic of resilience, we gathered into groups of 3 and discussed the following questions:

  1. What does hope mean to you?  (like any core value, it can mean different things to different people).
  2. What gives you hope?
  3. In what ways can a perspective of hopefulness support you in your life right now?

Several people came up to me at the end of the event, to tell me how impactful it was to share their thoughts about hope with others.

If you are willing to look at the circumstances of your life through a lens of hope it can be a tremendously liberating experience. Being hopeful does not mean you are denying your circumstances, or merely ‘thinking positive’. You don’t lose anything by adopting a hopeful perspective. In fact, it could be just what you need to expand your awareness so that new solutions and choices can appear.

I encourage you to spend some time this week pondering on what hope means to you.
I invite you to do the above exercise with someone in your life. You may be pleasantly surprised by your answers, and there’s.

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