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Hopeless and Happier

January 12, 2020


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 “I’m feeling much better now that I’ve given up hope.” Zen Comic

Nearly everyone touts the value of staying hopeful in troubled times – personal, local and global.

I’ve been trying to keep my chin up now for decades and somehow it’s never helped me to feel positive about much of anything.

Maybe that’s because when I say that I hope something will or won’t happen, there is a parenthetical undercurrent of disbelief running through me at the same time. Sort of like, “I hope that it works out (but I don’t really think it will).”

I’m Not Alone in My Delusion

As I said,  I’m not alone in this delusion of hope.

Recently, an acquaintance declared to me her hope that one day she’d find the right life partner.  In exploring the topic with her, it appeared she did nothing to actually move herself closer to having that hope become a reality. So, based on a lack of evidence to the contrary, this is simply a wistfully expressed wish floating in the ether.

Someone else I know was ranting to me one day over coffee, that he hoped that a more satisfying, better paid job would appear on the horizon. He reported that he didn’t spend much time exploring other opportunities, including the option of re-training. Would that better job descend from the skies and snatch him up? Or will he have to take some concrete action on his own behalf?

In my own case, I do admit that even my most fervent hopes have really got me nowhere in any sphere of my experience – from improvement in my relationships through to my vision for world peace and a sustainable climate. So, after much reflection, I’ve developed some insight into the issue of hope


♦♦ Hope on its own is a pretty useless proposition – it only really leads to disappointment and often to misery. Plus, hope is the perfect excuse. It relieves me of any obligation to do something.

♦♦ I also accept that when I take action  on ‘the things I can change’ as the saying goes, it may not create the desired results. So taking action needs to be combined with releasing the outcome of my action, because I can’t really control that. What I need to do is to trust that, whatever happens, the greater good will be served.

In other words, I will do my best to change that which is within my power to change and then I will release it. I will let it go. If my action yields some benefit, then great. If it doesn’t, then I can practice the virtue of gracious acceptance, trusting that, maybe in ways unimagined, things will work out. Wash and repeat as necessary.


So that’s it: take action, let go of the outcome, then trust that, whatever happens, it will be okay.


It’s the triple threat that beats the heck out hope.

And you know what? Since I’ve become hopeless, I am so much happier.