Hope

Four days before we broke up, my then-boyfriend and I had a conversation (well, “emotional breakdown crying session” may be the more accurate term for my end of things 😉 ) about, among other things, outlooks on life, specifically the difference between approaching life from a negative place and approaching life from a positive place. I have firmly fallen into the first camp for years and years, believing that if I expected the worst, I would never be disappointed. (Spoiler alert: this doesn’t really work.) He, on the other hand, saw life very differently. While I, consciously or subconsciously, consistently chose over and over again to focus on the negative aspect of any and/or every situation, he chose to find the bright side and focus on that instead. He suggested trying that out to see if I could do it, and I took that challenge seriously.

buddingtree

If there has ever been a month of my life where I could get away with wallowing, this month would be it. I mean, good heavens, in the space of 15 days, my boyfriend dumped me and my dog died. I don’t think anyone would particularly fault me for being down in the dumps, antisocial, or just generally in a bad mood. And don’t get me wrong — that has absolutely happened more than once over the past couple weeks. I can’t remember another month where I’ve cried so much or felt so emotionally exhausted, and there have been plenty of moments where I simply have not had it in me to even try to find a positive side, never mind focus on that positive side.

I normally don’t have much use for March, lost boyfriends and dead dogs aside. I feel like March tends to promise all of these great things–the end of winter, the end of dark days, the end of cold weather and snow, the end of hibernation–but it rarely delivers, or if it does deliver, it doesn’t deliver all the way. It’ll give you a taste of what’s to come, but as soon as it cracks 50 degrees, it plummets back down to 20 and you wake up to a fresh coating of snow that forces you to drag out your boots and parka again, grumbling about how you hate this city and it’s stupid weather and I am moving to California this time, darn it, and that’s not an empty threat!!

But this March, I have been particularly struck by all the newness around me. In the midst of all of this loss in my life, I walk outside and see nothing but the promise of rebirth. I see annuals poking up through the thawed soil, promising to turn into tulips or daffodils or crocuses in due time. I see itty bitty buds on trees and shrubs, still closed up tight against the chill, but promising to burst into bloom soon enough. I hear birds chirping when I leave in the morning, and on very special occasions, I once again see the neighborhood rabbit hopping around. And every time I see these things, hear these things, experience these things, a familiar refrain comes to mind: “It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’.”

Sunday’s comin’, you guys. It’s comin’. Of course that spoken word piece refers to Good Friday and Easter, but in this “Good Friday” season of my life, where I have every reason to lose hope, every reason to be negative, every reason to feel like all is lost, I am constantly reminded by what I see outside that Sunday is comin’. That it’s darkest before dawn. That new life comes from death. That pain may last the night, but joy comes in the morning.

I don’t know if there is any emotion I’ve actively tried to destroy in my own life more than hope. I’ve hated feeling hopeful, because more often than not, I’ve felt like hope was the source of so much pain for me. I hoped for x, y, or z, and when it didn’t happen, the disappointment was crushing. I loathed that feeling, so it seemed best to try to just stop hoping. But right now, when it should be so easy for me to destroy any hope I feel before it even has a chance to take root, I’ve felt more hopeful than ever, because everything I see points me to hope.

I don’t have any more of a clue what my future holds than I did three months ago, or six months ago, or a year ago, or at any other point in recent memory. But instead of letting that uncertainty freeze me in terror like usual, I’m inspired by the opportunity. I see possibility. I see growth. I see new experiences and new challenges and new people and new goals. I see hope.

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s comin’.

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8 thoughts on “Hope

  1. You know I struggle with the whole positivity thing too so this was important for me to read. I, too, have always tried to expect the worst and never be disappointed. Except I was always still disappointed when things didn’t work out because deep down, I was still secretly hopeful that things would work out the way I wanted them to. You could absolutely be completely down this month with everything that happened but instead you’re choosing to look at things differently. I’ve gotten slightly better about it myself but I do know I have tons of work left to do. If nothing else, April WIll be a better month than March!

    • Yes, I am definitely looking forward to April hahaha. I was thinking of your post a couple Thursdays ago when I was writing parts of this! I think changing your mindset and outlook is a lot like changing anything else you naturally do (bad running form is the first thing that comes to mind) — it takes a lot lot lot of work, but just because it takes a lot lot lot of work CERTAINLY doesn’t mean it’s not worth it. It’ll probably be a slow process, but the end result is definitely worth striving towards.

  2. This is a great post. I like the idea of coming out of bleakness, or destruction, (or winter) into a space of potential regrowth and hope (or spring). Hope is different than expectation. Expectation is the stress we put on our selves and on others that result in a big let down when things don’t work out they way we wanted. Hope is the little light that keeps shining because it knows things are good ahead and always will be. Things always get better, and it truly is about perspective. AND perspective is a habit. Great thing about that is that with persistent practice, your perspective can be changed. I do hope you are able to see the positive more and more. Just choose to. When the negativity creeps in be aware that you just had that negative thought and intentionally think a positive one in its stead. eventually the negative ones become less frequent and like dance muscle memory, your brain starts to automatically think more positively. Takes a good long while, but it is worth it for a happier outlook on life.
    I’m glad you’re seeing the hopeful awesomeness that is to come, and I’m really sorry about the rough times you’ve been having. A good wallow is healing and necessary. So is chocolate.

    • Thanks, Lia 🙂 For a long time I’ve kind of operated under the assumption that perspective is just one of those inherent things that you can’t change, but I’m starting to really think that’s not at all true — it just takes work (but work that is so worthwhile!).

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