Hoping against hope (the psychology of hope)

January 20, 2009

Inspired by the inauguration of Obama today, I’d like to spend some time on the psychology of hope. I know I really should be studying and so on but I could do with some comfort blogging. To start off with, some points and quotes (some taken from here):

1. “To actually change yourself is a slow process and one that is extremely hard and taxing; change, if it is to be significant and long-lasting, is won only at the cost of effort, determination, insight and a great deal of strategy.” (Litlove on Change).

2. Hope is a good breakfast but a bad supper. – Francis Bacon

3. Man is a creature of hope and invention, both of which belie the idea that things cannot be changed.– Tom Clancy

4. One thing I’ve learned from counselling and life is that any incident (however small) has the potential to add to the problem or to the solution. In relationships, it’s often the small things that make the difference. You can choose whether to add fuel to the fire of one or the other.

5. Which brings me in an indirect way to the situation in Israel and Gaza. Of couse it’s an untenable situation that Israel should have to endure cross-border rocket-fire from Hamas militants. But to react in the way that the Israeli government did, which ended up killing so many innocent men, women and children? How does adding more trauma to an already volatile situation create anything but more trauma, more hatred and so on? It’s perhaps easy for me to say this but a radical solution goes to the root of the problem. Peace, justice – they’re intimately connected.

6. The very least you can do in your life is to figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance but live right in it, under its roof. — Barbara Kingsolver

7. When you do nothing, you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved, you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better.–Pauline R. Kezer

8. Hope is the thing with feathers
That perches in the soul,
And sings the tune — without the words,
And never stops at all … (Emily Dickinson)

9. If time and energy permits, I’ll be revisiting hope from a psychodynamic perspective (which is all about relationships). Should make for some interesting cross-pollination.

10. Lastly, what I’m liking about the Obama presidency so far is the emphasis on service, everyone making a difference etc. This is all before the inaugural speech but I found the scenes of him visiting a high school yesterday and giving a boost to usaservice.org quietly moving.