Is Hope A Good Thing?

“Hope is the little word that whispers maybe when
everything else is yelling no”

One of my favorite movies is the 1994 film Shawshank Redemption. There is a scene in the movie when Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins) is talking about a world outside of the prison, the guards can’t take away hope.

To which Red (Morgan Freeman) responds, “Let me tell you something my friend. Hope is a dangerous thing. Hope can drive a man insane.”

Hope: noun 1. a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. 

  • I hope I got an A 
  • I hope I get the job 
  • I hope he calls me 
  • I hope she doesn’t get hurt 
  • I hope so 
  • Don’t lose hope

Is having hope having doubt? Is having hope setting ourselves up to be disappointed?

Or is hoping a way to keep us vibrant, anticipating and believing in something?

In Greek mythology Elpis is the spirit of Hope. She was one of several spirits placed in a box by Zeus, which was later opened by Pandora. When Pandora opened the box, all of the spirits escaped, except for Elpis (Hope) who remained.

There are many interpretations about what this meant by Hope being left in the box. Some interpret it as, “We should be glad hope was not released as it’s evil in the world”, other’s say, “Hope will bestow on each of us the good things that have gone away.”

Friedrich Nietzsche Said, “In reality, hope is the worst of all evils, because it prolongs the torments of man.” 

Personally, I think hope can be a good or bad thing.

Hope is bad when there’s too much of it. This can be applied to almost all things. When there’s too much of something, it can turn the odds against you.

We use hope as a sort of motivation in order to help us expect the best out of every situation – limiting our capacity for anything negative to happen.

However, this is when hope can backfire. The more you hope, the more you are doubting the presence of any obstacle, unexpected change or any outcome other than what you are “hoping” for. It can certainly set you up for disappointment.

Can hope be an excuse for not putting in the work and taking action in life?

Taking action requires you to do something that matters, that serves your goals, intentions, plans, dreams, or desires. It moves you that much closer from where you are right now, to where you want to be. Then we can hope that our actions will produce the desired results.

I feel like there certainly can be a healthy balance of hope in life.

An acronym I saw when I was going through my divorce that I thought displayed a healthy balance of not having hope and having too much went like this:

H: Hold

O: On

P: Pain

E: Ends

That is what I suppose hope means to me. You don’t know the outcome, but you keep moving forward. You are flexible and prepared that things might not go as you “want” them to or “hoped” they would. But life keeps moving forward and you get to choose how you respond to the outcome.

At the end of Shawshank Redemption Andy sends Red a letter, “Remember, Red, hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies. I will be hoping that this letter finds you, and finds you well.”

Never Deprive Someone Of Hope,
 It Might Be All They Have

I’m not one to say whether or not you should or should not have hope. That is your personal choice. But I believe no matter what, you have to put in the work in life and can’t just “hope” for the perfect outcome.

If you hope things will get better, what are you doing about it to ensure they do get better?

If you hope for the best, are you really hoping for the best or are you hoping you will get the outcome you want? Sometimes the best might not be what you are hoping for.

Keep putting in the work, keep showing up, and I think that is when you can see your hopes happen, because you are practicing flexibility, adaptability and will be viewing whatever the outcome is with more understanding.

Remember, You Got This!



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