Why Should We Be Hopeful?

Human beings require hope to help motivate and guide them. Being hopeful is a necessity for good emotional and mental well-being.

However, that’s not always easy. Sometimes, it feels as though there is a constant drumbeat of bad news. From environmental disasters, to civil unrest, to political upheaval, not to mention the worldwide pandemic.

In order to carry on with our lives we need to have a ray of hope. Something that convinces us that yes, it is worthwhile to get out of bed. There are better days on the horizon.

What, specifically, do you think about, when you consider the future? What ideas make you optimistic about what tomorrow may bring? Do you see anything in the events of today that lead you to see favorable times ahead?

In short, why should we be hopeful? Give me some concrete reasons.

Related questions: What are you optimistic about? Optimistic or pessimistic? How do you cheer yourself up?

3 thoughts on “Why Should We Be Hopeful?”

  1. Hope, to me, is an active verb; otherwise, it is merely wishful thinking. People may quibble with me that the two are one and the same, but for today’s purposes, please indulge me. For me, hope, after feeling the desire for something possible, requires action to help make what you want to happen.

    Regarding today’s challenges, I think we have six choices once we’ve realized that things won’t change without action: dejection, despair, willful ignorance, anger, hope as well as picking our battles.

    Dejection leads to pain, oftentimes isolation, and defeatism. Despair is worry without action. Willful ignorance is shameful and lazy, placing the need for action on those with more courage. Anger is a fine motivator for action and can be sustained by some, but for many, because change can come slowly, may lead to burnout. Hope is optimistic, seeing change possible if amassed with the actions of others who are hopeful or angry. Picking your battles means that you realize your capacity is only so much; you stay informed and in solidarity with those taking action on the issues you leave for them to fight because you don’t want to burn out and you trust the more frequent actions of other active people are nudging us in the right direction.

    Enough about semantics and choices. Why am I hopeful? Having hope — acting on hope — is all that keeps me from falling into dejection or despair. And I don’t want to live in that misery. I am also hopeful because on many of today’s crises activists and advocates are changing public opinion and increasing the number of people taking action for positive change.

    While I could delve deeply into why I am hopeful about a number of today’s crises, for now, I’ll be brief on a small number of issues. If you have questions or want me to provide fuller explanations, ask away:

    – I am hopeful that we can end homelessness because we have the resources to do so — homelessness actually costs more than helping people find and maintain stable housing. And, housing subsidies to those who need it least (the very wealthy) dwarfs what we provide a limited number of extremely low-income households and those experiencing homelessness. This can change.
    – I am hopeful that we can end the prejudicial thinking and stigma attached to mental illness because openly talking about mental health issues is becoming more mainstream.
    – I am hopeful that we can stop — although not reverse — climate change, primarily because young activists are passionately and regularly taking action to change public attitudes and actions — and inspiring people in the process. Furthermore, and unfortunately, climate change currently impacts us all in some way (e.g. the burning West Coast, more hurricanes, changing localized weather patterns, increased allergies, and respiratory problems). Eventually, more and more people will be motivated to change their destructive habits.
    – I am hopeful that we can defeat President Trump in the next election because more people are participating in mail-in and early voting, finding ways to vote safely despite the pandemic.
    – I am hopeful that more white people will see their privileges and cede some of their advantages and power to communities of color, in part, because the Black Lives Matter activism is being seen by more of the public as a movement for needed social justice, and more people of color are getting elected into public office.

  2. I am hopeful about the future, despite the many problems that face us.

    Why? Because there is a lot of evidence that people care. I would be truly terrified if it seemed that people were indifferent about the many issues that plague us.

    Now it is true that not everyone cares about every issue, and sometimes people care in what seems to be destructive ways, but the fact of caring, often passionately, is what makes change possible.

    I also recognize that change is difficult for many, and so there will be large groups of people who are unhappy, and who will resist that change. So I don’t expect things to be easy. But every time I see a march — whether it is a march for science, women’s rights, to protect our freedoms, and so on, I am encouraged.

    A march by itself doesn’t accomplish anything, but for me it is a demonstrable symbol of passion. And that symbol can change minds and influence opinion of people who otherwise haven’t thought deeply about things, including political and business leaders (as well as large groups of the public).

    First and foremost, it is crucial that people are not idle. And everywhere I look, I see people engaged, even if that engagement only takes the form of asking, “What can I do?” That, at least, shows they want to do something.

  3. Hope to me means not just wanting more. It means having a positive attitude. We can encourage a positive attitude in others as well as in ourselves. By being thankful for what we have. By improving our surroundings if only in small ways. By turning negative thoughts in positive ones. That kind of hope is necessary to feel a sense of happiness and well-being. As long as I feel this sense of positivity, of well-being, in myself and see it in others, than I have hope that the world around me will be okay.

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