In difficult times, it’s hard to keep up hope. But it’s the hope that gets us through to the other side. When we hope, we suddenly feel less alone, in our ever-unfolding narrative.
You can look through history books, cartoon heroes, and the people in your own life for inspiring examples of hope in action. Hope is the tiny promise we make to ourselves that one day, things will get better. Here are five ways that have inspired me to keep my own hope alive.
Try to see the good in circumstances.
It wasn’t easy, but when stuck in hospitals throughout 27 traumatic surgeries, I kept a gratitude list so I could remember that there was still good in my life. It helped me see things differently. What is the opportunity in your obstacle?
The greater part of our happiness or misery depends upon our dispositions, and not upon our circumstances.”
Try to see the good in others.
This is an amazing rarely-seen TED talk by Victor Frankl – a holocaust survivor – on why we see the good in others. If he can, you can too.
Scrapbook your rejections.
Everything’s better in retrospect – or in a scrapbook. Check out these rejection letters sent to famous people.
Take one day at a time. You don’t have to climb the entire set of…oh well I thing Martin Luther King Jr. said it best:
Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase.”
Of course, I’m also partial to this:
Take a break.
And then start again. I’ve had times where I thought I’d reached the “triumphant ending” of my journey…just to land back in the hospital. Slips are okay. You can always get back on. Don’t be discouraged by little setbacks. Take a minute to catch your breath. And then try again.
Courage doesn’t always roar, sometimes it’s the quiet voice at the end of the day whispering ‘I will try again tomorrow”
- Mary Anne Radmacher
Keep going: Don’t ask when things will “get better” or “get prettier” or “be easier.” Just keep plugging along and trust.
If the path be beautiful, let us not ask where it leads.”
Make a mantra.
When the weather’s beautiful out, I love taking nature walks and reciting this mantra to myself: breathe in experience, breathe out your story – Breathe in. When you exhale – what is that truth you are aching to express today?
Read a children’s book.
Does anyone remember this book? All it is is white splotches – clouds – and it’s up to you to decide what shapes these “clouds” are taking.
Children’s books make stories out of anything…even white splotches!
There’s nothing like a kid’s book to get your mind thinking like a storyteller. Pick a good kiddie read and find the adventure and hope in your own life.
Send a card just because.
Snail-mail. Ah, how I miss it. I love sending cards because, well, they give me an excuse to write! With a pen – how old fashioned. Today, send a card to a friend, just because. Thank them for the impact they’ve made on your life – big or small. In doing so, you’ll share with them how they’ve become part of your story. And connections give us hope!
That is what I learned through my life experience so far – not knowing where you’re going, but enjoying each step of the way.
And when you enjoy every step…
…You create hope.
How will you create hope today?
Amy Oestreicher is a PTSD peer-to-peer specialist, artist, author, writer for The Huffington Post, speaker for TEDx and RAINN, health advocate, survivor, award-winning actress, and playwright, eagerly sharing her writing, mixed media art, performance and inspirational speaking.
As the writer, director and star of the Gutless & Grateful, her one-woman autobiographical musical, she’s toured theatres across the country, earning accolades since it’s BroadwayWorld Award-nominated NYC debut. As a visual artist, her works have been featured in esteemed solo exhibitions, and her mixed media workshops emphasize creativity as an essential mindset.
To celebrate her own “beautiful detour”, Amy created the #LoveMyDetour campaign, to help others cope in the face of unexpected events.
She is a regular lifestyle, wellness, and arts contributor for over 70 notable online and print publications, and her story has appeared on NBC’s TODAY, CBS, Cosmopolitan, Seventeen Magazine, among others.
To improve student mental health, Amy developed a program combining mental health advocacy, sexual assault awareness, PTSD education and Broadway Theatre for college campuses.
Amy is currently touring the country with her one-woman musical, Gutless & Grateful. See more at amyoes.com.