Overcoming Hopelessness in a Fearful Society

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    Dear TinyBuddha,

    The feeling of hopelessness is one that I have had trouble dealing with in our modern society. I feel that it is difficult to stay active in present as a member of society while not getting bogged down by the feeling of hopelessness. I will try to explain.

    Constantly on the news there are reports about the dire state of the economy. I myself have decided to cut out watching and reading articles that are geared towards selling fearful messages of society, but the ever-present feeling in my work is that there is not enough. I am going to school now for my Master’s in Occupational Therapy and with the fearful messages running through my head I hear “There is not enough work in your country, there are not enough jobs here, there are too many people in your field, you carry too much debt from a broken school system. There is no future here” And then this fear gets extended beyond my situation to the feelings of hopelessness to others “There are no jobs for others, there is no justice for others, the politicians do not care about others” and so on and so forth.

    I very much want to complete my studies and go out and help people. That was what drive me to do my studies, but in trying to build my career, many destructive messages about hopelessness in my situation and others helps me to feel paralyzed in “What’s the point?”

    As always, I extend the offer to the community to help me see past these trapping thoughts. You all have been so very supportive so far.


    There are those moment for all of us. Taking a pause in the morning to draft out and write a calming message helps me. We need to stay one day at a time. Breathe. Know you are loved. Give of yourself as you complete your studies. Volunteer somewhere to verify your ability, knowledge and build your value of self.


    Hi there! I have experience in the areas you say are causing hopelessness, so I wanted to share what I have learned.

    Firstly, never let your fears get in the way of you accepting the truth. The economy IS bad. Politicians do not care about others. This is the world we live in, regardless about how you and I feel about it. It would be a serious mistake to ignore these truths that you have found, because of fear and hopelessness. Doing so will only create an even worse situation in the future.

    Secondly, there are too many people proclaiming life’s problems, while having no solutions. One must be solution-driven to feel hopeful and good in life. Many people aren’t, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be. There ARE solutions for these problems you have listed. I have found and am implementing many of them. But I have no EASY solutions for you. They take work, belief, commitment, dedication.

    In short order, hopelessness tries to get you to stop fighting. The truth that sets free, is not that there is an easy solution for all these problems. The freedom comes in training your mind to think like this: The more I’m pushed, the harder I’ll push back. You NEVER accept defeat. You ALWAYS get back up. Be the best enemy you can to whatever it is you are fighting in this world. There is always a solution.

    Here is a rare man offering solutions on these things: Search on youtube: Pastor Dowell.

    It’s also a good idea to look up a guy named Eric Thomas. He has the mentality you need to learn.


    Thank you both Jackie and David.

    David, I really think you are right about getting back up. I asked myself, what was holding me back from getting back up? Was it hopelessness of society? I think it was hopelessness of myself actually. I keep on getting held back and beating myself over a “mistake” made in the past. I feel that because I made that mistake my situation is hopeless.

    Can you believe that “mistake” was going for an undergraduate degree in the Humanities and now going for a professional degree at the Master’s level? It’s really not about the situation at all, but I have really internalized some messages about myself from society and other personal experiences. The societal messages about the economy and the worthlessness of humanity fields I have used as tools of re-reinforcement to prove that I am hopeless. I went through a lot of emotional and physical abuse in the last few years, and I have more than a hint that these feelings of hopelessness of society and myself are leftover messages from those experiences. It’s almost as if I chose something arbitrary to be like “That’s it, that’s what all those people were talking about. They told me I didn’t deserve happiness and would mess it up on my own and I did it.”


    I would like to add, after thinking of it some more. That changing my mind about career paths has been torturing me as I have been saying to myself that it does prove there was something wrong with that girl before. In my change, I have been ashamed of what/who/what I had been through before (I think as a way to feel secure and that as long as I am not that person anymore I won’t go through what I did anymore). It’s also probably why I feel that I have to rush through my Master’s now as a way to run away from the past and to prove that I am worthy and can make it on my own. The loans I am taking out, the time it is taking me, the age I will graduate and my past I am seeing all as punishments and using them as so.


    Hi Hyo,

    Just remember something – it’s usually bullshit. “bad” is a standard placed on things by other members of society and it’s all relative to other things, so saying the “economy” is bad for example doesn’t take into account how awful it was in 5 million BC, and how we got by alright then.

    And for those problems which usually exist, as David says, a realistic and obtainable solution is often available, but it’s just not always that easy to obtain either.

    People who help others have to be among the strongest out there as there is rarely an end point. there may be moments of success, there may be some real progression which you can always pride yourself on, but helping others by it’s very nature means having to deal with negativity. The key thing is just to do what you can and not judge on results. Someone suicidal and needing your advice? All you can do is give it them, if they still of themselves it’s their choice – you’re just an adviser and so long as you do that with love and genuine intent then that’s all you can do.



    I want to say that your words are very grounding. It is true that “bad” is a societal definition that isn’t really explaining the reality and perhaps I have been thinking that a solution that is viable should also be easier than what I am facing.

    Your point about advising is true too and I think taking it that way with my work now will help me also, to remind me of what I am in control of and not.

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