In our world today, hope endures some of the hardest tests. Hope is the aspect of Emotion that can sometimes appear to be the most illusive. It is very vague in its definition. Perhaps we would be wise to review the negative expression of hope first. The one thing that is most destructive to our feelings of hope, is fear. At first it may not appear to be so, but upon closer inspection we will find that this is the truth. Fear causes us to shut down and retreat from things that we do not trust. For us to experience fear, we must first have experienced love. Let us take the most common fear as an example; the fear of death. For many, the fear of death is the ultimate fear. We do everything in our power to avoid death. But this is only because we love life. If we did not love our life we would not care if we lost it. What we truly fear is losing something we love; life. We do not really fear death. We don’t really know what death is. We fear the unknown. It would seem that what we fear most is change whose outcome we are unable to predict.

Since most fears in life can be reduced to a basic fear of the unknown, this leads us to avoid change. Or at least, to monitor change in a very distrustful way. This unwillingness to change due to a fear of the unknown creates a lack of motivation. We soon find ourselves avoiding most new things in life simply because they are new. Fear is the selfish form of hope. When we live in fear we are concerned only with keeping things the same, so that our comfort is not disturbed. But fear has a nasty habit of perpetuating itself, as all selfish forms of emotion do. When we are fearful we are unable to trust. Trust is not the opposite of fear, but it is an essential component to hope. Our lack of trust causes us to assume that we should be fearful of most situations in our lives. Especially when we have a multi-billion dollar media industry that feeds off of peoples fear. We are bombarded with images, sound bites and video clips of reasons to be distrustful of other humans. This distrust causes us to assume the worst in the people in our lives. Since we have convinced ourselves that those around us are wishing harm upon us, we begin to care less if harm comes to them. If they do not do something to reinforce our feelings of fear first, then we are going to do something to reinforce theirs.

When we are unable to trust those around us, we often lash out at the slightest provocation. Because we have assumed that all people are selfish and will eventually harm us, we have become selfish. Yet most times we learn only too late that we have misunderstood the situation. We lash out too quickly and push away a person who did not actually intend us harm. Fear again enters and stops us from reconciling with that person. Now we fear they will reject us. In the end we have lost a potential friend due to fear and one misunderstanding.

Fear is cyclical in nature. When we live in fear, we are unable to trust which causes us to push away those we love, which reinforces a sense of isolation and again breeds more fear. Hope is the opposite expression of fear. When we live in hope, we trust those we love which causes us act positively, which reinforces a sense of support and breeds more hope.

Hope is not so much a dream, or a desire. Hope is the feeling you get when you take a positive action towards achieving your goals. It really doesn’t matter what your goals are, you become hopeful when you take a step closer to achievement. But hope cannot exist when fear is present. Fear causes us to avoid change by sapping us of our motivations. Hope causes us to seek change by empowering us to take positive actions. The more steps we take towards our goal, the stronger our feeling of hope.

Hope requires patience as well. Not every positive action will equal a success. We will also be confronted with many failures in life. When we live in fear we take each failure as a confirmation that we should not attempt to change. This is the selfish form of our emotions. It is selfish because we assume that the world is out to get us, and that we will never succeed because we are destined for failure. When we live in hope we see that every failure is in fact a lesson. If we possess the patience to endure our failures and instead begin to assess each success and failure in an attempt to perfect our plan, hope will remain. By taking the time between each step to assess what we have learned from that positive action, we soon find that we have fewer and fewer failures to endure. Hope allows us to learn from our mistakes and move forward in the pursuit of our goals.

Hope comes from a position of gratitude. When we receive our first success on the road to achieving our goal, we cannot help but be grateful. Not to anyone in particular, but to life in general. This gratitude spreads. If anyone has helped us in achieving our step, we will surely express our excitement and gratitude to them. This will make them more inclined to help us in the future. Not to mention that hope is just as infectious as fear. The more we see others live in a state of hope, the harder it is to justify living in a state of fear.

Fear is a wounded emotion. It comes from a lack of trust and only creates more fear. When we live in fear the expectation is that change brings us pain. It is a selfish emotion, because it shifts our focus inward in a negative way. In our attempt to protect ourselves from harm, we instead block ourselves from everything. By assuming the worst in those around us, and refusing to trust in those we love, we ultimately reinforce our fears. Before we learn the truth of a situation we shut down and retreat, generally lashing out at the nearest person in the process. Sometimes this response is justified, but often it is not. By the time you have realized that you were not in any danger, it is too late. The damage is done.

Hope is a healthy emotion. It comes from positive actions and the patience to endure our failures. Hope comes from gratitude, because it shifts our focus onto the possibilities in life and the people that helped us get there. When we learn from our mistakes and press forward we create hope around us. Hope is akin to inspiration. It builds upon itself and spreads to others. It comes from the patience to perfect your ideas. Hope brings balance, because evaluating our mistakes and learning from them generally leads to fewer mistakes. In the end we are able to control our emotions in order to guide our positive actions in the direction that we desire them to go. Hope creates balanced emotions, through patience and knowledge.

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