Hope is like the sun, which, as we journey towards it, casts a shadow of our burden behind us..It lends promise to the future and purpose to the past. It turns discouragement to determination. ~ Samuel Smiles
I have worked with people who were close to giving up any hope for a different and better future. My clients have been people who lost children through death, or through adoptive placement, and also those who had nearly lost their dream of having children. I have worked with adopted adults who mourned the loss of their birth culture and families of origin. Some had almost given up all hope of finding them, or of finding a way to feel better about themselves in spite of such a loss.
I have had clients who lost love, who lost spouses, who lost a sense of purpose, for various reasons. Others had lost themselves somewhere along the way, had let their talents and ambitions get buried under a load of fear. Still others allowed the expectations family, friends and co-workers had of them to drown out their dreams. They found themselves working in careers that gave them little or no satisfaction. They forgot how to hope for anything more.
Yet something within these individuals, some small spark that refused to be extinguished, persisted, and they made a courageous decision that they would work on changing things, and on rebuilding or reinventing their lives.
People ask me why I like working with those who have experienced terrible loss, or who are going through big and difficult life transitions. It’s because I know that no matter how bleak life looks and feels, there are tools we can find or build up to help ourselves. It’s because I have been to dark places myself, and I know that finding a way to hang on tightly to even a shred of hope, is crucial. It brings me joy and great satisfaction to see people begin to blossom, who thought their time of blossoming was over.
We may need help even recognizing that there is hope on the other side of the curtain that has enveloped us and caused our darkness, or caused us to stay stuck in pain or dissatisfaction. I also know there is work involved, and that we have to truly believe we deserve to seek and find hope and happiness.
In working with one of the groups I offer, which is a Facebook group for widowed women, I find that even in the depths of fierce and terrible grief, our members want hope that there will be better times. Many don’t really believe such assurances initially. They don’t understand at first, that grief is a process and a journey, or that seeking and finding new hope is actually a choice we make, a goal to reach, that usually happens in increments, when we allow it to happen.
If you have accepted a life with little or no hope, and are simply surviving from day to day, mostly in misery, are you ready to acknowledge that? This is your first step! If you are ready to embrace hope and to work at whatever it is you want to happen, then you have to decide what’s really holding you back. Do you know?
When you reach a place where you’re unwilling to live as you are now living, you will know it’s time to seek something new. Sometimes grave dissatisfaction, and the pain of loss, become an opportunity for growth. If you change your perspective a little and practice seeing the world that way, it will help you. I say “practice” because if you have spent a long time being negative, feeling sorry for yourself, or accepting that it’s your fate to be in pain and unhappy, then you need to work on changing your way of viewing things. Try making a commitment to write down some things every day that are positive about yourself, and about your life. That’s a start. Then think about what you might need to let go of, in order to rebuild your arsenal of hope.
The future is calling out to you. Your soul is calling out to you, but you must be willing and ready to hear them.
“We must be willing to get rid of the life we’ve planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us. The old skin has to be shed before the new one can come.”
Iris Arenson-Fuller, PCC, a trained and credentialed coach (by the International Coach Federation) is a Life and Loss Transformation Coach.
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