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Is hope a real thing? Where does it come from? How can you find hope when you are feeling hopeless?

Actually, the cultivation of hope is a powerful spiritual technique. It does not necessarily imply a religious belief or participation in an organized faith practice. Hope is a basic human need and exists in all cultures in some form.

Hope comes from two equally important sources, reality and fantasy. Looking at life and seeing possibilities can generate hope. Remembering difficult situations and dark hours and your recovery from despair reminds you of hope. At times when the future is doubtful and daily life is hard, hope may be hard to find or remember. Then you may decide to rely on faith about the future, or you may imagine the world to be different and work toward that change.

Hope needs information and knowledge to grow. That can come from personal history, reading about someone else and their experience, or talking with others about what to expect and strategies that have worked. Knowing what to expect, even if it is difficult, is more helpful than hurtful.

Taking time to review your life, remember your struggles and acknowledge your triumphs, all adds to hope. What you have learned can be applied to the present crisis. Survival predicts continued survival and there is reason to hope based on experience.

Having a trusted friend, partner, neighbor or relative tell you that they have faith in you also generates hope. The offer to listen, to assist, to share, to comfort continue to add dimension to your stock pile of hope. The expression of faith from another person is a powerful tool for you in your work towards healing and recovery.

Hope comes from having control and choices of at least some level in your life. Knowing what to do and how to do it can help you gain wisdom and comfort. Seeing an outcome helps maintain hope.

Time and perspective are two long range elements of hope. Standing where you are now in your life and looking back to the moment of tragedy and days of despair will show you the progress you made in your journey. Movement towards the goal of living fully again, is support for the belief that hope is possible.

An excerpt by Susan Davis from the book
When the Bough Breaks

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