• Cultivating Hope

    As a life coach and eternal optimist, I find myself spending time each week trying to come up with support or words of wisdom that I can share during these unprecedented times.

    A word that repeatedly enters my mind is hope.

    What do we have if we don’t have hope?

    This question reminded me of a book by Viktor Frankl that I came across several years ago: Man’s Search for Meaning.

    Viktor Frankl was a psychiatrist from Austria, who not only survived the death camps of the holocaust, but he was also forced to provide psychiatric treatment to his fellow prisoners. The book is a fascinating read, where he shares the knowledge he gleaned from this experiences.

    There are many take-aways from the book, but the major theme boils down to the reason some survived these unthinkable conditions and some did not, was hope.

    “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any set of circumstances”.

    Hope is created at the intersection of 1) a desire for something vital 2) perseverance-the need to prevail against great odds, and 3) the belief that there could be something better beyond those odds.

    Clearly, when faced with dire conditions, our souls crave hope at a fundamental level because it is crucial to surviving seasons like this one.

    Hope isn’t the alleviation of fearful risk, or the sidelining of anxiety. It’s the choice to see beyond the current circumstances to something better despite the presence of those feelings.

    According to Frankl, “Man does not simply exist but always decides what his existence will be, what he will become in the next moment. Every human being has the freedom to change at any instance”.

    In these circumstances, we each have the power to choose hope. Every minute of every day. We can choose hope and look for meaning amidst this suffering.  

    I believe there will be many silver-linings that emerge if we choose to see them.