Hope is the last bit of string that we hold on to. It connects us to a future that can be different. Better. It keeps us from falling into the abyss of hopelessness. From the depths of self-destruction. It keeps us alive in desperate situations to dream about a happy future. But hope has a dark side too. Do you think you can you overcome the dark side of hope?
I saw this when I was doing pro bono coaching with battered and abused women. I talked to women who were left with nothing yet who clung to the shreds of hope they’d be whole again. Some of them had resigned themselves to their fate and didn’t seen any hope for the future.
Hopelessness makes people do dangerous things. There are examples of that all around. We see it every single day.
Hope is an integral part of the human experience. I think you can agree with that.
The Dark Side of Hope
Hope can rob people, like a pickpocket on big city streets. It robs people of the capacity to act. To look back years later and wonder “Where did the time go? Why am I here instead of where I want to be? Dammit. Why?”
You see, when times get tough, hope is the lifeline needed to remain human.
Once you have your survival needs met, hope can dangerous.
Why? Because hope can be your rabbit hole into Alice’s world. You see unicorns, rainbows and pots of gold dancing and glimmering in your head.
All things are amazing. It’s comforting, right? The power of your imagination allows you to feel and experience intoxicating things in the present.
If you stay in the fantasy world, you don’t act. You aren’t moved to learn a new skill, start something new or pursue whatever it is you really want to do.
Hope… well, it paralyzes you. It’s the hidden underbelly, the dark side of hope.
Are you sure you can overcome the dark side of hope?
The moment you act, you’re confronting your reality. You’ve surrendered the fantasy world engendered by hoping. Hope can never be that again.
You know the unicorns, rainbows and pots of gold aren’t there. You’re challenged with work and challenge.
Because of this, most people stay locked into multi-year staring matches with hope.
People spend a lifetime daydreaming, clinging to the delusion of hope.
Right now, wherever you might be, you face what Todd Hermann calls the Gap of Uncertainty. The gap is the distance from where you are to your goal/vision for the future ( or perhaps, your fantasy world).
You know things never happen exactly the way you imagine it. Never. And, the gap is scary.
The unicorn turns into a bear. The rainbow becomes a downpour. Your pot of gold is nothing but a pail of dirt.
How to Keep Hope While Moving Forward?
Meeting a person with a that has gone through the dark side of hope is inspiring. Why? Because they’ve taken a hero’s journey. It inspires you. It makes you better.
When you’re mentally prepare that things will go wrong, your days may be tough and setbacks are an almost foregone conclusion.
But, you won’t be expecting yourself to fail, not because of this. You’ll expect yourself to adjust, move, tap into untapped resources. You do whatever is needed to make your goal a reality.
You’ll meet a version of yourself you’ll be excited to know.
Now, tell me, are you prepared to overcome the dark side of hope? Share with me in comments, I’d like to know.
Warmest hugs to you,