Walking through my neighbourhood this weekend, it’s clear
that September has arrived. Moving
trucks everywhere, it’s a time when people are starting something new…a new
school year, a new lease, and new routines after the dog days of summer have
come and gone. It’s a time of year that
can be quite hopeful, and gives us time to reflect. At the outset of any journey, we are often
full of ideas about what will be, how we will be, and what will be different
based on our past experiences. Many
times when we’re in the middle of something, it’s hard to think about new possibilities
or ways to “course correct” if things are not going as we had planned. But there’s nothing like a new beginning or a
second chance to get us thinking about how we can make the next leg of the
journey great. We love the clean slate
of a new year or a new beginning.
The flipside to the hope, however, can be fear. Self-doubt.
Insecurity. Can I do the things I’m
hopeful about? Can I really make use of
where I’ve been and do it differently this time? What if this is going to turn out like the
last time? Have I changed any? Can I change?
What about the factors beyond my control?
We live in a culture that says if you try hard enough, you
can do anything. If you have the “right”
attitude, you can make anything manifest.
And then the opposite is also thought to be true—if I don’t get what I
want, it’s because of a failing on my part.
I have a different take on this—I’ve seen many people who are working
incredibly hard who don’t get what they want through no fault of their
own. We can’t control everything. But we do have some power to focus on our
part in the process of trying to make things happen.
I wish every time I am faced with difficulties I could
always choose hope over the fear and self-doubt. This is the part of the process we can
actually control. Choosing hope allows
us to tap into our inner strength. Choosing
hope lets us take risks we might not otherwise take when it comes to asking for
help from our friends and family.
Choosing hope helps us to have the freedom to connect with ourselves and
what we really want. Choosing hope FEELS
GOOD. Choosing hope also requires great
effort, some times.
When fear and insecurity grab hold of us, it becomes
exceedingly hard to choose hope. The way
out of that rabbit hole starts with the recognition that we are overcome with
fear and to start challenging those thoughts and feelings. What if the worst thing happens? What next after that? And after that? When I play this all the way out in my
office, it’s not uncommon that people struggle to identify what it is that they
are really afraid of, or afraid will happen.
Articulating it can take the power out of the overwhelming feelings. Often when fear is on deck, we lose the
ability to really think thoughts all the way through. We’re ALL FEELING, like a bundle of raw nerves. Undoing the gnarled knot of fear and
insecurity can bring us back to the place where we can start to choose hope,
Trying our hardest to meet the future with hope isn’t always
easy—especially if we are coming off a difficult time—but it isn’t going to
hurt us. Sometimes we are afraid to hope
because we’re afraid we can’t bear the disappointment that comes if what we
hoped for doesn’t turn out the way we would like it to. But let’s face facts—it’s a dream to think
that we can trick ourselves out of being disappointed or hurt when we are let
down. Let me be clear: choosing hope
doesn’t guarantee any outcomes. Choosing
hope won’t make you win the lottery, and it won’t make it so that you don’t
have hard times. Sometimes our lives go
sideways and that’s the way it is. But
we can deal with what is, when we see it for that—what is. Choosing hope helps us to move on and move
through that which is difficult.
September, like New Year’s Day, is a time when we’re more
likely to be thinking about what lies ahead.
I hope to choose hope as often as I can as we move into the autumn. I hope you choose hope, too.