Written by Theodora Zourkas
Generally we don’t think about hope until we are faced with some sort of fear, and right now there is a lot of that being stirred up in our world, so now, more than ever we need hope.
So what do we mean by hope?
For me – each time we hope we ignite a spark of our inner light. Things may seem dark and lost but the spark of hope keeps you moving and taking action. When I’m going through a tough time one of my favourite quotes is “If you’re going through hell, keep going. Anonymous” In other words when things seem dark, it is not the time to stop. You need to take action, no matter how small, and hope is what helps us to take steps towards action.
Consider for one moment what it would be like if you didn’t have hope. What would happen when you went through a tough time? Would you just give up? Believe that the worst will happen because you thought it was futile to hope? It saddens me that some of us do just that because we are scared to leave our comfort zone, even when our comfort zone is not so comfortable. Sometimes the fear of the unknown can be so great, that we would rather stay with what we know even if it means being unhappy.
Last week Michelle Obama (another one of my heroes) made a very powerful speech at the US National Democratic Convention and her underpinning message was about hope and not giving up. She talked about the striving of the previous generations, their persistence and most of all, their hope for the future. Where would we be if people like Martin Luther King (civil rights 1950s-60s), and Emmeline Pankhurst (women’s rights early 1900’s) gave up hope because things were hard, imagine if they gave into their fears – we would all have lost the many benefits that these people and many others, have given humanity.
Each and every one of us is part of humanity and we each have light inside us, but only we can turn on that light. Hope is what helps us turn on our inner light.
I wonder how many times Hilary Clinton was told that a woman could never be considered a US Presidential candidate, now look at what she has achieved – the first woman to be nominated as the US presidential candidate. Imagine if Nelson Mandela did not have hope. He was in prison for 27 years but never lost hope in his vision of equality for all people. He was released in 1990 and four years later became the first black South African President ending Apartheid.
So how do you hope when all around you may seem bleak? Or when you are told that it is futile to hope as nothing can change? Having read both Clinton’s and Mandela’s biographies and through my own trial and error here are three core actions to try (they do work):
1. Believe in yourself, listen to your heart and push the boundaries of your comfort zone
2. Every action you take has a ripple effect, it doesn’t matter how big or small it is, it all enables
you to take your power back. Feeling hopeless or giving up means that you disempower
yourself and put yourself at the mercy of other people’s actions
3. Remember to be grateful because that helps to spread more light
Following the light always takes you to a better outcome even if it’s not the one you imagined, following the shadow just gives you false hope and unhappiness.
In today’s world it is more important than ever to not give up hope, by facing our fears and igniting hope we dissolve the shadow.
In the words of Stephen King “Fear can hold you prisoner, but hope can set you free”
love and light
Theodora Zourkas and Kate Zourkas are the Directors of Zourkas Group and authors of 'Finding Your Inner Resilience'. Theodora and Kate have a passion for creating greatness in others and living from the heart. They are experts in change management, organisation development and strategy, capability development, resilience and personal development.