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The Importance of Hope

“Tragedy should be utilized as a source of strength. No matter what sort of difficulties, how painful our experience is, if we lose hope, that’s our real disaster.” ― Dalai Lama XIV

It seems to me that the Dalai Lama’s words apply perfectly to everyone’s situation at present.  In the past year and a half, we have all experienced pain and difficulties, perhaps physical and certainly emotional.  The pandemic has left no one unscathed.

Now it is time to utilize these events as a source of strength, to learn from them.  Now it is time to move past the difficulties. It is time to hope again.

Learning from Adversity

How do we learn from a pandemic?  How do we integrate the experiences of ongoing uncertainty, loneliness, fear and worry?

Here are some guidelines for learning and moving on:

1. Limits of Control

As much as we want to chart our own path, hardship is a powerful reminder of the limits of our own control. By acknowledging these limits on our power, we can put down some of the weight we’ve been carrying.  Take a deep breath.  Not everything is up to us to fix.

2. Compassion & Sensitivity

The acknowledgement of our limits leads to humility.  By going through hardships we can open our eyes to the difficulties of others. Our sense of compassion can grow.

3. Self-Knowledge & Perspective

Hardships force us to come face-to-face with who we are. Lessons learned from hardships often reveal limitations, patterns, beliefs, and skills we didn’t see or appreciate before. This shift, which increases self-awareness, is powerful. Many of us have learned that we are stronger than we knew.  And now we have the chance to make new choices based on what matters; how we act, think, and feel; and what we can and can’t do.

4. Flexibility

Surviving hardship and willing ourselves to move forward builds added strength to tackle new challenges and face the future with more confidence.  Given what we’ve experienced, something none of us were prepared for,  we can have a new flexibility moving forward, a flexibility that allows us to be more resilient and durable as things change in the future. We can be more open to learning, more agile as we figure out what to do next.

When we’re in the middle of a really tough time, these gifts may seem far away or irrelevant — but they’re invaluable and available to us now.

Use Affirmations to Make Positive Changes

Our minds are so powerful, we can change our feelings when we are ready.  Affirmations are a wonderful way to do this.  Try one or more of these:
  • I am willing to release all fear.
  • The past is over, and I am free.
  • I open my heart and mind to hope.
  • I am grateful for all I have, and attract more goodness into my life.
  • I look forward to a bright and happy future.
Try beginning your day with affirmations like these, or make up your own.  And when you are tempted to feel despondent, repeat them.

Life happens in chapters, and it is important to close some chapters and move into new ones, taking only what is nourishing and healing for ourselves and others.

Blessings to you in this new chapter!