One of my favorite Proverbs states: “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” I discovered this truth at a critical point in my life. After years of depression, I was ready to make changes but struggled to find hope. I only knew that I was sad. I hadn’t connected the dots between my emotions and the thoughts and circumstances that were fueling them.
I was miserable and tired of being tired—I wanted to be free. But a chasm of ignorance held me back. I simply didn’t know how to guard against the vampires of disappointment and disillusionment consuming my energy and hope. The cure for ignorance is knowledge and understanding. That Proverb helped me discover the root of my problems and craft a strategy for change.
Our hopes are deferred when we are repeatedly denied what we believe will ensure our happiness and fulfillment. Our hearts harden when we allow life to tame us. Like a child who finally learns that the iron is HOT, we will avoid certain experiences to mitigate pain. But those experiences may be the very things we need most in our lives. When we’re disappointed, we feel giving up hope is the answer. Nothing could be farther from the truth—when we fail is when we need hope the most.
Hopelessness manifests itself in more than avoidance. It contaminates our systems by making our hearts sick. A sick heart faints under pressure. It can be cold, sarcastic and bitter—rendering it handicapped in how it treats and respects others. A hopeless individual is a danger to self and everyone else.
So, how do we recover?
1. Small Victories: We need to find new hope and set new goals—ones that are achievable, easily in reach and will restore us with a string of victories. In short, they must be low-hanging fruit. Years ago—when I first started coaching and writing—I measured success based on book sales and speaking engagements. A letter from a female inmate telling me that my work inspired her helped me to value my work beyond the external measures of success.
All of our actions—even the most unselfish—are rooted in a need to find significance and purpose. When our big dreams seem to outrun us, we must slow down and reconnect with the ways we make a difference on a daily basis. Those daily check-ins and connections sustain our hope and give us the fuel to endure for the long haul.
2. Master Your Motivations: Many of us live in touch with our base needs for food, water and shelter. But there are other levels of need—such as love, acceptance, expression and more—that demand attention. Focusing on lack, rather than abundance can stir up feelings of hopelessness. For instance, being so focused on our need and desire for romantic love can make us disregard the presence of other types of love in our lives. While one doesn’t replace the other, finding strength in what we have can help us hope and believe for what we want. Spend time celebrating your fulfilled desires!
Do Your Work! Dig beyond your disappointments to unearth the needs tied to your hopes. What actions can you take to satisfy them? Remember to set achievable goals to build the small victories.
Define Your Wealth! Affirm, “I am not moved by what I see, feel and hear. I am convinced of the worth I contribute every day. And I will make daily changes to move towards my dreams."
Recently named the “North America’s Next Greatest Speaker” by eWomenNetwork, Felicia T. Scott is a Certified Empowerment Coach™ who empowers her clients to turn their Worth into Wealth as she partners with them to DISCOVER their WORTH, DO the WORK and DEFINE their WEALTH. Get more insight, download the FREE “8 Choices Winners Must Make” seminar MP3 on her website.