I’m not a big believer in “I’ll do this when…” “when./then” thinking, as in “when I do/get this, then I’ll…” When/then thinking is a great way to stay miserable now. It is a form of perfectionist-driven procrastination. 

And it is not to be confused with hope.

Hope springs from an altogether different set of beliefs. It says, ‘I believe who I am and what I’m doing will amount to good.”  to have hope is to have courage, because belief in oneself takes self-trust. 

Hope and positivity go hand in hand because when something goes wrong, positivity says “oh! That was useful information…a gift of learning”. When we view failure that way, we keep hope alive. 

Negativity is a hope-killer. A negative mindset says “I blew it. Who did I think I was?” Chances are, you won’t learn anything from that self-condemning mindset. You are certainly less likely to keep trying.

I am not saying that to have hope is to deny negative feelings and thoughts. On the contrary. If you can muster some metacognition in the midst of such feelings, and view them with curiosity rather than despair, you are back on the road to hope.  

Because curiosity will allow you to uncover and jettison the lies of your inner-judge. Meanwhile, unconscious and habitual self-condemnation keeps the judge in charge.

So how does hope feel? As an emotion it is the paradoxical co-mingling of gratitude, anticipation and patience.  When you find that you are stuck in unpleasant thoughts and ‘poor-me’ feelings, you’ve lost it.

So what to do when hope is lost? That’s a cue to find a some support in doing the inner-work to find it again.