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Tiny Wisdom: When It’s Time to Stop Hoping

“The natural flights of the human mind are not from pleasure to pleasure but from hope to hope.” -Samuel Johnson

You’ll find lots of inspiring posts that suggest you hold onto hope against all odds and push through difficult times with your eye on a light down the road. This isn’t one of them. Sometimes hope is a beautiful thing. It can motivate, empower, and inspire you when you’re tempted to give up. But other times it just keeps you stuck.

When you push through today for a better tomorrow, without doing anything to create that new possibility, your hope creates the illusion of change to come.

When you hold onto the past, hoping to revive a relationship, situation, or time that’s come and gone, your hope precludes even better possibilities in the present.

When you hope you’ll someday know happiness—when you get the right relationship, the right job, the right adventure—your hope allows you to avoid reality. And it makes it unlikely that you’ll ever know happiness since hope for something else is the only way you know to experience it.

We all want to feel happy. We all want to avoid feeling pain. That’s what makes hope so exciting. It divorces us from the moment and projects us immediately into something better.

It allows us the freedom to close our eyes and imagine a world far better than the one we think we know. Hope is comforting, but not always empowering. Hope may give you possibilities in tomorrow, but belief gives you possibilities now.

When you believe you can be happy regardless of what you gain or achieve, you open your eyes and find reasons to feel and share joy.

When you believe you can have something better, you take responsibility for creating it, starting in this moment.

When you believe you’re complete, even if you don’t feel good in any given moment, you challenge yourself to think beyond your emotions, and remember the larger picture.

You can hope yourself into a corner, waiting for tomorrow to improve. Or you can believe your way onto center stage, and create that tomorrow you want. It starts right now.

Photo by reggie35

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About Lori Deschene

Tiny Buddha Founder Lori Deschene is the author of the Tiny Wisdom eBook seriesTiny Buddha's Guide to Loving Yourself, and Tiny Buddha: Simple Wisdom for Life's Hard Questions. She's also co-founder of Recreate Your Life Story, an eCourse that helps you change your life. For inspiring posts and wisdom quotes, follow on Twitter & Facebook.

Announcement: Wish you could change your past? Learn to let go and create a life you love with the Tiny Buddha course!
  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1252871098 Mere Dith

    This was a great post. I needed to hear/read
    this. I just found out I was adopted and have been trying to find my biological
    dad….my dad that raised me was wonderful but I guess there is no reason
    other than curiosity that I wanted to know about my biological father…but I
    am exhausted and feeling sad and hopeless but I should stop crying and move on.
     It’s time to give up hope. Thank you for the post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1252871098 Mere Dith

    This was a great post. I needed to hear/read
    this. I just found out I was adopted and have been trying to find my biological
    dad….my dad that raised me was wonderful but I guess there is no reason
    other than curiosity that I wanted to know about my biological father…but I
    am exhausted and feeling sad and hopeless but I should stop crying and move on.
     It’s time to give up hope. Thank you for the post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1252871098 Mere Dith

    This was a great post. I needed to hear/read
    this. I just found out I was adopted and have been trying to find my biological
    dad….my dad that raised me was wonderful but I guess there is no reason
    other than curiosity that I wanted to know about my biological father…but I
    am exhausted and feeling sad and hopeless but I should stop crying and move on.
     It’s time to give up hope. Thank you for the post.

  • http://twitter.com/nyeloyek Nyel Oyek

    This is precious. Ultimately, it’s more important to live in the n-o-w. :)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Hi Mere,

    I’m sorry to hear about your difficulties in finding your Dad. My intention with this post was to suggest that sometimes we use hope to avoid living in the now and accepting that the past is the past. However, if you really want to find your father, I would never want to discourage you from looking for him.

    I can totally understand why you’d want to connect with him. I also understand that this can be a frustrating process. Perhaps a good shift might be to keep looking, if you truly want this, but to work on releasing your attachment to the outcome so that it doesn’t tear you up inside if this continues to be a challenge. I know that’s obviously much easier said than done, but this way, you give yourself the opportunity to connect with him someday, without allowing it to destroy you if ultimately, you are unable to make it happen.

    I hope this helps a little.

    Much love,
    Lori

  • http://www.aquarius-company.com Aquarius Company

    “When you believe you can have something better, you take responsibility for creating it, starting in this moment.”  … so very timely for me today – thanks so much, Tiny Buddha!  :-)

  • http://www.aquarius-company.com Aquarius Company

    Love to you, Mere … <3

  • http://ponder-the-pre.posterous.com Kate Britt

    I like your distinction between hope and belief. Never thought about that before, so thanks for the opportunity to do so. I agree with all you say. In my experience, the two words have different “power” in terms of creating my reality, my life. In common use, I hear people say “I hope…” but between their lines I hear “Not sure if this can or will happen, but I hope…..” When I hear people use “I believe….” I hear, um, belief :) in the outcome, along with very little (if any) doubt or uncertainty.

    Either way, I think the most important part of what you’re saying is contained in “doing [some]thing to create that new possibility” and “take responsibility for creating it.” Whether we create our lives, dreams, etc. by hoping or by believing, we do need to take action, work with the universe, not just wait for what we want to magically happen. Well, often it seems to be magical when it does happen, but if we examine what came before the magical thing, we’ll probably see that our intentions, actions, and reactions really did have a big part in creating that magic.

  • Hector

    I’ve been fighting for over two years now to let go of that hope I have for the past, & although I understand & even agree with your message & logic, I’m finding myself angry & rebellious toward your words…thank you for writing & sharing this, I know the letting go of that seemingly immovable hope will be starting very soon, ugh…

  • Susan

    Thanks for this much needed post.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You are most welcome!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I understand what you mean. Sometimes we just need to go through our own process before we’re able to let go. I’m glad this was helpful to you (even though it was also a little difficult to read…)

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re welcome!

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    Yes, that’s precisely what I intended to convey! Hope, to me, feels powerless, like waiting, and fearing or dwelling; whereas belief feels empowered, encompassing visualizing, planning, and doing.

  • Maggie_macaulay

    Hello Mere -
    I, too, was adopted and have felt that curiosity.  Your curiosity and your love for your wonderful dad can exist together.  Be clear on what finding your biological dad means about you.  Attachment to that meaning may leave you feeling exhausted, sad and hopeless.  If you let go of that attachment, you are free to continue looking or not.
    Love -
    Maggie

  • Lv2terp

    FABULOUS blog!!!!!!!! So very true, thank you for your amazing skill of writing concisely and clearly, easily to learn and apply….Great point made about hope vs. belief….I really enjoyed this one!!! hugs

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    You’re most welcome, and thank you for the compliment on my writing!

  • http://www.madlabpost.com/ TheMadlabPost

    Great read! I especially like the part where you said ”
    When you push through today for a better tomorrow, without doing anything to create that new possibility, your hope creates the illusion of change to come.” — that is dead on. Some times I think that it’s not exactly in the knowing of these things, but rather, in the application of them that is a challenge.

  • http://twitter.com/lori_deschene Lori Deschene

    I know what you mean. It’s always so much easier to obtain knowledge than it is to apply it. I find that I often write about the same themes in different ways, because I personally need reminders, and I imagine others do as well!

  • Kenken Jong

    When we hope for something to happen or materialize, you may sometimes get it with luck as ‘some people are more lucky than others’ so they say. But most of the time it’s actions and continually working on solutions that really solve the matter along with help from some good friends. We practise kindness, humanity, in return we ‘re blessed with friends or earth angels who somehow guide us to get through the hurdles of life. Blessings to all, don’t idle your hopes and dreams – you have to try, never give up.