Hope: The Seedy Underbelly

All my life, I have heard it said that one should never lose hope. People speak of hope as this wonderful thing that no person should ever be without. Hope is glorified as something that elevates your humanity and betters your existence. “Don’t lose hope” they say. Whatever you do, don’t lose hope.

It is only recently that I have taken a real look at my own view on the matter. I have always been resistant to hope as a positive thing. As a child, I would refuse to look forward to (or “hope” for) things. I can clearly recall moments where I internally struggled with myself, reprimanding myself for hoping for things because I was so certain that it would lead to disappointment. I learned at a young age that disappointment was not something I handled well. I was adverse to hope.

With this latest trauma in my life, hope again presented itself in the most negative light. Having hope in something was causing me to stop living my life. I was afraid to move forward because I had hope that something from the past would return to me and felt I should wait for it to catch up. Hope crippled me. I hated hope even though I had it nagging at me because it was painful to me.

I would rather face a heart-breaking truth than hold onto a sliver of hope. I don’t want to deal with the uncertainties. I don’t want to hope in things that I can’t control. I want to be given the truth so that I can base my decisions on fact, not on the hope of what may happen.

Those of you reading this who know the situation would (and have) advised me against hope in this particular situation. Sound advice, by all accounts. Yet, what if it were a different situation? One friend intimated that hope is important in reaching goals.

You can’t accomplish anything if you don’t have hope that you’ll succeed.

I argue that it isn’t hope that one needs to press toward the mark, but determination and dedication. When speaking of hope, one is usually referring to things they have no control over, while a goal is something you can work toward personally. It is within your grasp because it is within your power.

At the conclusion of our discussion, it was pretty well surmised that I was afraid to place hope in others. It begs the question: who did I become in order to come through this latest tribulation? A cynic who is quick to dismiss the promises of others because not putting trust in people is easier than being hurt in the end; a pessimist who expects the worst outcome to every situation without first allowing the benefit of a doubt?

The Biblical definition of ‘faith’ is “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”. When I say that I have lost my faith in humanity, I am not making a dry sarcastic quip after reading something ignorant an online persona has posted. I truly have lost my faith in humanity. I no longer hope in the goodness of others. For all my effort to become a more positive person, I still cannot bring myself to have faith.

At the end of the day, hope terrifies me. It has the power to cripple my progress toward a life worth living. It is the stepping stool to an unstable height from which I have fallen one too many times. I just really want you all to weigh in on your thoughts about hope and what it means to you. I want to know if I am so far gone on this that I can’t someday restore my hope in others.

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