So…2020 huh? Many of us would say that we’ve never experienced a year quite as tumultuous as 2020 (on a global scale). After many deaths, natural disasters, a pandemic & unrest due to intense, intentional racism – it’s a given that people struggle to have any hope for 2021 at all. So in this post, I’m going to focus on my perspective on how to maintain hope for 2021.
Usually at the start of a new year, people tend to focus on “a new year, a new me”. I prefer to focus on a “New Year, New Perspectives” mindset (give my previous post a read!). I believe we should develop ourselves; including our ways of thinking and perspectives on our previous experiences.
Let’s Talk About Hope & Why it’s Scarce
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the definition of hope (defined as a verb and noun) reads;
1) To cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true.
2) To desire with expectation of obtainment or fulfilment
3) To expect with confidence : trust.https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hope
Hope is often misconstrued to be something that is quite passive and meek. I believe that this is incorrect.
Hope can be intentional, bold and audacious. Hope is categorised as a verb; meaning it is active. It requires an effort to acquire and maintain it. Even in the midst of circumstances that are contrary to the hope that one has.
‘Hope’ is also a noun – so to me, it’s a thing. Not only is it an action, but it also has an existence within itself to be a ‘thing’. Thus, hope can be nurtured or deteriorate.
So, why is hope scarce during these times? Let’s be honest…
2020 assassinated the hopes of many who experienced losses & created some sort of ripple effect; bleeding into other areas of their lives. From loss of jobs, loved ones and businesses, to homes, safety, health, and freedom. Let us also acknowledge that many individual’s mental health have spiralled due to the hardships that came along.
After experiencing & witnessing loss consistently for almost a whole year – how can somebody maintain hope for the new year? I am going to share my perspectives and process on how to do this for 2021.
The Best Starting Place To Maintain Hope – What Have You Gained?
The best place to start is by reviewing not what you’ve lost, but what you have kept or gained. Ask yourself – what have you gained?
Upon my own reflection, I was grateful for what I kept; my family, friends, home, life, etc. Especially during a time where so many people have lost those in their lives.
Plenty of people have expressed gratitude for what was “returned to them” this year. For example; time. Some have been able to spend more time with their families. People were consumed by an intense work life prior to lockdown. Some have actually had their spiritual lives, peace and mental health restored because of being away from a toxic work atmosphere.
Many have used lockdown as an opportunity to execute new businesses, build side hustles, work on their homes, adopt healthy habits, discover new hobbies – the list has been endless!
What Have You Learned?
The next thing that helps work on maintaining your hope for the new year, is to reflect on your growth; where or how have you grown?
What did 2020 teach you about yourself or life in general, that you never recognised before?
How did it enrich you? Some say it taught them to remember their mortality, or that things can drastically change. I know people who have learned new skills and others who learned to appreciate what they have. There are individuals who have learned more life skills since being at home during lockdown. Others may have come to understand more about the importance of race relations & learning to listen to people’s struggles more instead of downplaying them. The list is endless.
But the most important factor for you is to understand how the year has stretched and improved you, made you better (or maybe even worse) than you were the year before. This is an opportunity for you to recognise how you can move forward and progress. If you can find the good things that you may have gained from the last year, then there is a little spark of hope that can be worked with and maintained.
What Would You Like To Happen Next?
This begs the question: what would you like to execute or build in 2021? Since countries like the UK and USA continue to have the threat of lockdowns looming over them – make a plan if you are aware that another one is going to happen soon. Although lockdowns can initiate financial and circumstantial stresses – it could be your key time to start whatever it is that you have had in your mind for a while.
Now you can also incorporate the ‘New year, new me’, aspect. What kind of person do you want to evolve into next year? Which issues, traits or characteristics do you need to work on? How do you want to grow in your mindset?
Whatever it is you have in mind, decide it to go for it and plan how you are going to make it happen. Execute that plan and follow through on it.
What Is Your Alternative Route Or Method?
As we have seen during the last year – we can make plans, but unexpected things can put a spanner in the works. If an unforeseen pandemic doesn’t prove that, then nothing else will!
Another factor that helps people to maintain their hope is having a backup plan. Consider what will be your back up plan or alternative method if things don’t go according to plan.
Sometimes things don’t work out, but that’s okay. Whether it did or didn’t happen due to timing or just plain “it wasn’t meant to be” is for you to determine. But make a deliberate, adamant decision to bounce back – no matter what what happens.
What Is The Foundation Of Your Hope?
This is extremely important. Some people waver in their hope or confidence because they have nothing stable to build it upon.
As you already know, I am a believer and follower of Christ. I maintain a christian lifestyle focused on a relationship with God. I, like the average chronic pain warrior – have faced trials and tribulations. But faith and trust in God has helped me to keep my head up.
The foundation of my hope is based on my trust in God. This comes from his word, promises and plans for my life. He has plans for all of us – but we learn them as we choose to have a relationship with God and seek him out.
My hope is in God to utilise the negatives that I have experienced – to help causes that are bigger than myself. I have the confidence that he will come through because I have previous experiences of when he has done so.
What foundation does your hope stand on Warriors? Is your hope standing on a foundation that can be broken easily? What or who reinforces your hope for you when you struggle to maintain it yourself? Who do you turn to when everything is low?
It is important to choose something and/or someone who will help you to maintain hope during those times when you struggle the most. Besides my faith, I also have my family and friends who help me to see the light.
Choose carefully who you assign to be those people for you in your lives Warriors.
So To Sum It Up…
Remember that we are a resilient people Warriors. Life comes with terrible experiences, but should we let our hardships deprive us of our hopes to see good times or moments? No, we shouldn’t. Because for every terrible experience, there could be a joyful one waiting for us somewhere. But we have to be open to recognise and enjoy them whenever they may come.
Working to maintain hope or optimism for the future is not always easy. It requires us to put in a continuous, conscious effort to see the ‘silver-lining’ in life. One needs to be strong emotionally and mentally to believe that things can get better – despite the fact that their circumstances are dreadful. These things push us to be perseverant and choose to find another way time after time, until things get better.
Warriors, keep your heads up and maintain your hope! Know that God is with you at all times (all believers and non-believers too) and he promised to never leave you nor forsake you. When we experience pain and struggle – so does God. Let that encourage you and help you to gain the strength you need to see you through another day. This new year has the potential to show you great things. I hope you will see more joyous moments this year. Keep your mind and your heart open to receiving them and don’t be afraid to have hope this year!
If this post has been helpful for you, comment below if so. What tips would you suggest to other readers to help them maintain their hope this year? We want to hear from you in the comment section!
I’m wishing you all an awesome 2021 filled with peace and prosperity (spiritually, mentally, emotionally and physically!).
Until next time Warriors!