In my personal experience, the one thing most essential to becoming healthy is something so simple that most people forget about it. It is available to all and owned by no one. What I’m speaking about ever so cryptically is the notion of hope. To me, it is the bridge between self-destruction and healthiness, desolation and happiness.
Many people interchange the words hope and faith, but they are not one in the same. According to the Webster’s Dictionary, faith is an unquestioning belief; whereas, hope is an expectation; something we anticipate. When on a quest for a better self, it seems more realistic to hang on to an expectation than an unquestioning belief, but maybe that’s just me.
See, during my darkest of years, I had zero faith in myself. Riddled by insecurities and doubt, try as I might, I had no confidence in my abilities. The only thing I had was hope. Hope for a better day, a better life and a better self. And, it was to hope that I clung to with strained fingers for the several years that it took to drag myself out of the shadows.
Hope isn’t unshakable like faith. Despite the contradiction, this is why it is such an essential piece to healthiness. It’s the only thing in this ridiculously crazy world that you can control. How so? Hope is a choice to be made. You heard me right, it is a choice and one that only you can make and only you can break.
As I began my quest to a healthier self, self destruction was like an old dog learning new tricks. I often found myself making as many steps backwards as I did going forwards. Truly, it felt like my dysfunction was on autopilot. How frustrating and how easy it was to give up when one sees themselves moving in the wrong direction.
At that time, I was carrying an inordinate amount of anger. I seethed. I blamed. I despised. I thought that it would be this way forever. Looking back on it, the only thing that I did right was this one simple thing; I chose to hope that one day, I’d rise above my anger. And because I had more failures than successes, I had to make this choice on a daily basis.
There was no light on the horizon and I didn’t have a pot to piss in, yet I continued to hope for a better self. I saw a therapist; worked through my issues; learned to forgive myself, which made it easier to forgive others and still, my healthier self was not visible.
Three years later, I could finally see results from my efforts. It took another several years before I had any confidence in myself. And, a few more after that before I could say with utmost certainty that I was competent and capable. There was no miracle transformation. It was slow, frustrating and often, down right difficult, but my growth did happen.
Just remember, hope isn’t about truth or fact. It’s about dreaming of something greater than your reality and of something greater than others’ expectations. It is a choice and one that belongs to all of us. Truly, it is the greatest gift that you can give yourself.