What is hope?
Hope can be defined as the desire for something combined with an anticipation of it happening. In short, hope is the anticipation of something desired.
To hope for something is to desire that thing, and to believe, rightly or wrongly, that the probability of it happening, though less than one, is greater than nought. If the probability of it happening is one or very close to one, it is not a hope but an expectation; if it is nought it is a fantasy; and if it is very close to nought it is a wish. The borderline between a hope and a wish is moot, and more a question of emphasis than anything else. the term “wish” can be defined as “a term that refers to a desire or point to something that one longs to have.” It is usually followed by an infinitive or a clause such as in the example, “I wish to travel tomorrow.” “Hope,” on the other hand, is used in a conversation conveying a possibility or an event that one looks forward to. The difference between “hope” and “wish” can be drawn in the sense of “hope” being backed by a reasonable confidence about the desire. Hope is also used to refer to something positive and doable.
Simply put, the main difference between the two lies on the probability or likelihood of a person’s desires. We wish when something is unlikely or impossible to be carried out. We hope for things that are possible and take on a huge potential to happen.
Hope is not your typical form of positivity. Most positive emotions arise when we feel safe and satiated. Hope is the exception. It comes into play when our circumstances are dire – things are not going well or at least there’s considerable uncertainty about how things will turn out. Hope arises precisely within those moments when fear, hopelessness or despair seem just as likely.
One opposite of hope is fear, which is the desire for something not to happen combined with an anticipation of it happening. Inherent in every hope is a fear, and in every fear a hope. Other opposites of hope are hopelessness and despair, which is an agitated form of hopelessness.
A realistic approach to hope and how false hopes can hurt us
Hope is pleasurable, because the anticipation of a desire is pleasurable. But hope is also painful, because the desired thing is not yet at hand, and, moreover, might never be at hand. The pain of harbouring hopes, and the even greater pain of having them dashed, explains why people tend to parsimony with their hopes.
At the same time, the sheer desire for something to happen can lead us to overestimate the probability of it happening, and, in particular, the probability of it happening to us. Many if not most hopes are to some extent false, but some, such as the hope of winning the lottery, are beyond the pail.
Whereas realistic or reasonable hopes may lift us up and move us forward, false hopes prolong our torment, leading to inevitable frustration, disappointment, and resentment. By preventing engagement with reality, false hopes entrench an attitude of passivity and servility.
So one should take a realistic approach regarding the hopes one aspire.
Hope, Belief and Faith
Hope is wishing something is true or will be true.
Faith is knowing something is true without any possible reason what so ever. At least that is what you are saying when you say you have faith. You probably just don’t know the reason(s).
Belief – is thinking something is true (or probably true) for a reason, usually a logical or empirical reason.
People often confuse the 3 terms. so you need them to define what they mean when they use one of the words.
They are mutually exclusive. Hope means you don’t know, but want a certain conclusion. Faith means you do know, but have no reason. While belief means you know based on a reason.
The 13th century philosopher and theologian St Thomas Aquinas said that faith has to do with things that are not seen, while hope has to do with things that are not at hand.
Faith and hope are closely linked, but different. Hope is a precursor to faith. While faith is believing and trusting in something that you cannot see, hope is imagining that there is something there to even believe and trust in. It is the belief in what could be. Hope redefines what is probable and opens the paths to the impossible. Without hope, there can be no faith, because we would not even deign to pray about those things we could not imagine.
I don’t believe I can understand everything; I don’t even know that in our current human experience, that it is even wise to want to understand and explain everything. I have the belief that God who is love and truth, knows all. And to me, that is where hope comes in – believing that though I don’t know the answers, that they do exist and that whatever happens, though I don’t know the reasons, happens for ultimately, the greater good.
Hope vs optimism
“Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.” Quote said by Vaclav Havel
Though there exists a difference between hope and optimism, we often use these words together with the belief that these are almost identical. First let us pay attention to the definitions of these words. Optimism is being confident of the future, the belief that things will be alright and positive. Hope, on the other hand, is the feeling that something wanted might happen. At a glance, you might feel that they are implying the same thing. However, this is not true. Positive psychologists have been able to decipher the meaning behind the two words and highlight a key difference between these two words.
The two are closely related but are still distinguishable from each other. I think optimism is seeing the proverbial glass as half-full. I think hope is being able to see the good or expect goodness even when the glass is indeed half-empty or in situations where there is no glass at all. Both are important – optimism and hope – but I think hope is the more important of the two.
It can be instructive to compare hope with optimism , Optimism is a general attitude of hopefulness that everything will turn out for the better or best. In contrast, hope is more particular and more specific (even a pessimistcan be hopeful), and also less passive, more engaged, and more vested. To hope for something is to make a claim about something’s significance to us, and so to make a claim about ourselves.
Optimism is a passive virtue. It needs no courage to be an optimist. Hope is an active virtue. It requires a great deal of resolve to maintain hope.
But hope will carry us everywhere. Unlike naive optimism that pretends problems don’t exist, hope faces what is wrong and fosters the strength to work toward making things right. Hope means seeing the world exactly as it is, but not giving up the belief that it could be otherwise if we act to make it be
Optimism is cheerful. Hope is realistic. I know of no good reason to be optimistic about the human future. But because there is a God, I know of many reasons to be hopeful.
Snyder’s Hope Theory
Positive psychologist the late Dr.Charles Richard Snyder area of work was on hope and forgiveness and the impact that hope can have on aspects of life such as health, work, education, and personal meaning.
Hope Theory postulates that there are three main things that make up hopeful thinking:
Goals: Approaching life in a goal-oriented way.
Pathways: Finding different ways to achieve your goals.
refers to the ways in which an individual believes they can achieve these personal goals (i.e., how to get from point A to point B)
Agency: Believing that you can instigate change and achieve these goals. refers to an individual’s determination to achieve their goals despite possible obstacles. (i.e. what compels us to act).
Put simply: hope involves the will to get there, and different ways to get there. In other words, hope was defined as the perceived capability to derive pathways to desired goals, and motivate oneself via agency thinking to use those pathways. Snyder argues that individual’s who able to realize these 3 components and develop a belief in their ability are hopeful people who can establish clear goals, imagine multiple workable pathways toward those goals, and persevere, even when obstacles get in their way.
Snyder proposed “Hope Scale” which considered that a person’s determination to achieve their goal is their measured hope. Snyder differentiates between adult-measured hope and child-measured hope. The adult Hope Scale by Snyder contains 12 questions; 4 measuring ‘pathways thinking’, 4 measuring ‘agency thinking’, and 4 that are simply fillers. Each subject responds to each question using an 8-point scale. Fibel and Hale measure hope by combining Snyder’s Hope Scale with their own Generalized Expectancy for Success Scale (GESS) to empirically measure hope. Snyder regarded that psychotherapy can help focus attention on one’s goals, drawing on tacit knowledge of how to reach them.
Developing Your “Hope Muscles”
But what if you’re having trouble finding hope? For most people having hope is like breathing, it just comes naturally and they don’t even have to think about being hopeful. For others, though, it may take some practice. However, like any skill it will get easier and yield better results with time.
So if you’re having trouble believing you can find a way out, here is a way to help you develop your “hope muscles.” Before you start, though, keep in mind that “hope theory” suggests that the quality of a goal—its likelihood of being met—depends on whether one can be reasonably happy and hopeful about the outcome.
Goals that are too easily achieved (like watching television all day) do not lead to developing suitable pathways or require high levels of agency for achieving them and are not likely to lead to happiness. The same is true for those who set unreasonable goals. Snyder believes that goals should be challenging, yet achievable in order to lead to high levels of hope and an ultimate sense of satisfaction and happiness.
Hope and physical health
“Belief and expectation — the key elements of hope — can block pain by releasing the brain’s endorphins and enkephalins, mimicking the effects of morphine. In some cases, hope can also have important effects on fundamental physiological processes like respiration, circulation and motor function.”
Groopman’s research showed that during the course of illness, belief and expectation — two mental states associated with hope — have an impact on the nervous system which, in turn, sets off a chain reaction that makes improvement and recovery more likely. This process, he points out, is fundamental to the widely accepted “placebo effect,” which is created by a hopeful outlook.
Placebo effect: Also called the placebo response. A remarkable phenomenon in which a placebo — a fake treatment, an inactive substance like sugar, distilled water, or saline solution can sometimes improve a patient’s condition simply because the person has the expectation that it will be helpful. It’s designed to seem like a real treatment, but doesn’t directly affect the illness.
Typically, the person getting a placebo doesn’t know for sure that the treatment isn’t real. Even though they don’t act on the disease, placebos affect how some people feel. This happens in up to 1 of 3 people. A This effect usually lasts only a short time. It’s thought to have something to do with the body’s natural chemical ability to briefly relieve pain and certain other symptoms. The more a person hopes and believes they are going to benefit from a treatment, the more likely it is that they will experience a benefit.
Hope and Mental Health
Being clinically depressed is very different from the down type of feeling that all people experience from time to time. Occasional feelings of sadness are a normal part of life, Scientific studies now show the relationship between hope and depression.
A scientific study investigated prospective cognition with the Hope scale (Snyder et al., 1991) and the Unrealistic Optimism Scale (Weinstein, 1980) in clinically depressed (CD; n = 61), previously depressed (PD; n = 42), and never depressed controls (ND; n = 46). In line with previous research, significant negative correlations between hope and symptoms of depression were found. Previously depressed reported lower levels of hope than NDs, but were more hopeful than CDs. In addition, relationships between depressive symptoms, dysfunctional attitudes, and expectations for the future were examined.
These findings contribute to a better understanding of prospective cognitions in previously depressed individuals, but also have clinical implications. The results suggest that recovery from depression is not necessarily accompanied by the restoration of normal levels of hope. Both the agency and pathways components of hope were reduced in previously depressed compared to normal controls, making them possibly vulnerable to new depressive episodes. As a consequence, treatments for depression should include a focus on the patients’ goal-directed determination (the agency component of hope) and their ability to find ways to meet their goals (the pathways component of hope), for example by means of interventions as outlined by Snyder (1995) or cognitive-behavioral techniques (Beck et al., 1979). Further, treatments
Another study results show the strong significant relationship between depression and adult
hope. This data is supported by Chimich & Nekolaichuks study (2004). Depression leads to reduction
of happiness (Leimkühler, Heller, & Paulus, 2007) and life satisfaction (Peth, & elt, 2012). In other
way Werner (2011) reports significant relationship between happiness and adult hope. Due to Jafari
and et al.’s (2010) investigation on the relationship between hope, happiness and life satisfaction, the
relationship between depression and adult hope is considered as happiness and life satisfaction under
effect of common factors. Therefore if it cannot be said there is causative relationship between
depression and hope, but their role in the relationship with common variables can be searched.
Hope in Judaism
The story of Miriam, The sister of Moshe teaches us not to lose hope, At first glance, the fact that Miriam stayed at the riverbank to see what would happen to her brother does not seem to be such a great deed on her part. She may have stayed out of curiosity, it may have been out of concern, but it does not seem like such a significant and important act that it should require all of Klal Yisrael to wait for her in the wilderness for an entire week.
In order to appreciate the actual significance of her act, we need to see it in the context provided by the Gemara in Sotah [12a]. The Talmud states that Amram (Miriam’s father) was one of the great men of the generation. When he heard Pharaoh’s decree to throw all the male children in the Nile, he gave up hope and decided to divorce his wife (Yocheved), rather than bring any more children into the world who would just be drowned in the Nile at birth. Amram set the pattern for the rest of the nation and everyone followed suit and divorced their wives as well.
Miriam told her father that his decree was worse than Pharaoh’s decree. Pharaoh’s decree was only directed at the males. Amram’s decree would affect both the males and the females. Pharaoh’s decree would only affect the fate of the children in this world, Amram was decreeing that the children would not come into existence and therefore would have no life in either this world or the next world. Amram listened to the advice of his daughter. He remarried Yocheved and at the age of 130 she became pregnant and had the child who grew up to be Moshe Rabbeinu. Again, everyone else followed Amram’s example and remarried the wives they had divorced.
It is in this context that we begin to understand the meaning of the pasuk “And his sister stood away from him at a distance.” The reward that Miriam later received was not just for standing at the Nile for a few moments, it was for being the heroine of the whole story of Amram and all the Jews taking back their wives. It was for being responsible for the birth of the person who became the leader of the Jewish nation. She saved her brother and in effect the entire nation because she refused to give up hope. Things looked hopeless. At the when time Miriam spoke up to her father, there were already thousands and thousands of Jewish children who had died in the Nile. By standing firm, to see what would be with her brother, she demonstrated a particularly Jewish trait – resilience and refusal to abandon hope. Miriam’s heroic faith and resilience thus gave courage to the nation and saved them from the terrible fate of discouragement and despair.
Hope in Christianity
In the Bible, hope is never a static or passive thing. It is dynamic, active, directive and life sustaining. This is everywhere obvious as we read the Word. Take a concordance, look up the word “hope” and you will find reference after reference pointing out the active results of hope in the lives of those who truly have a biblical hope and live accordingly. In other words, a biblical hope is not an escape from reality or from problems. It doesn’t leave us idle, drifting or just rocking on the front porch. If our hope is biblical and based on God’s promises, it will put us in gear.
Hope is one of the three theological virtues of the Christian religion, alongside faith and love.”Hope” in the Holy Bible means “a strong and confident expectation” of future reward. Titus 1:2 In modern terms, hope is akin to trust and a confident expectation”. Paul the Apostle argued that hope was a source of salvation for Christians ,Hope may refer to the activity of hoping, or to the objecthoped for—the content of one’s hope. By its very nature, hope stresses two things: (a) futurity, and (b) invisibility. It deals with things we can’t see or haven’t received or both .
“For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one also hope for what he sees? 25 But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it“ (Romans 8:24-25)
“Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.” (Hebrew 11:1) NLT
“Rejoicing in hope; patient in tribulation; continuing instant in prayer” (Romans 12:12)
“And you shall be secure, because there is hope; yes, you shall dig about you, and you shall take your rest in safety. (Job 11:18)
“Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which enters into that within the veil“ (Hebrews 6:19)
Hope in islam
There are certain deeds that should never be neglected, which affect the heart permanently. Yet, some people, due to their weakness in faith, may be careless and may not perform them regularly.
One deed of the heart is to have constant hope in the kindness, generosity and favours of Allah The Almighty. One should be optimistic and never lose hope in the bounty of Allah The Almighty, which He bestows on whom He wills. However, this hope should be coupled with a reason, or means, for one to feel that it will be realised. Thus, one should keep performing good deeds that give one the opportunity to harbour hope in the generosity and kindness of Allah The Almighty, for if these means are not present, then it is mere wishful thinking on one’s part.
Hope is not for a person who is lazy and does not endeavor to remain upon the path of those who strive and exert great efforts. Such a person is just like someone who wants to grow plants and see them bearing fruit, without bothering to cultivate or water the seeds. Is this person equal to another, who digs the soil, plants the seeds and waters them carefully and regularly? Only the latter can realistically hope that his plants will grow fruitful. This is also the case regarding hope for the bestowal of the mercy and bounty of Allah The Almighty.
Allaah The Almighty Says “It [i.e. Paradise] is not [obtained] by your wishful thinking nor by that of the People of the Scripture.” Surat An-Nisa verse number (123)
“So, verily, with every difficulty, there is relief: Verily with every difficulty there is relief. Therefore, when you are free (from your immediate task), still labor hard. And to your Lord turn (all) your attention.” Surat As-Sharh verse number (5-7)
Allah promises us that after every difficulty is relief. We must never lose hope that our situation will improve
“My servants, you who have transgressed against yourselves, do not despair of the mercy of Allah. Truly Allah forgives all wrong actions. He is the Ever-Forgiving, the Most Merciful.” Surat Az-Zumar verse number (53)
Allah commands us to never lose hope in His mercy and forgiveness. Even if we have committed many sins, Allah forgives all sins except that of associating partners with Him.
Prophet Joseph lived all his life confronting schemes made by the people closest to him. He was his father’s favorite His brothers plotted to kill him after they got jealous of him then his brothers threw him in a pit and amended it to exiling him. This happened to him while he was a boy. He was sold into the slave market in Egypt, where he was bought for a nominal sum. Then he fell victim to the attempted seduction by a great man’s wife who, when her wish was foiled, sent him to prison, where he remained for some time. In spite of all this, he at length approached close to the Egyptian throne and became the king’s chief minister. The Story of Joseph gives us hope that things will get better no matter how dark things are.
Unbroken Hope: The existentialism of Louis Zamperini
There are many things to say about the ordeal and odyssey of Louis Zamperini, At age 15, he found running and turned his life around. He set high school cross-country records, won a scholarship to run track for USC, became a two-time NCAA champion miler, and represented the United States in the 5,000 meters at the 1936 Olympics. When WWII broke out, Zamperini joined the Army Air Forces, and was deployed to the Pacific as a bombardier on a B-24 Liberator bomber. While flying a rescue mission in search of a downed plane, his bomber crashed into the ocean. 8 of the 11 men aboard were killed. Louie and two of his crewmates (pilot Russell Allen “Phil” Phillips and Francis “Mac” McNamara) were stranded on a pair of small life rafts. Constantly circled by sharks, with no food and minimal supplies, the men survived for 47 days and drifted 2,000 miles before being rescued/captured by the Japanese.
The Olympic runner who was brutalized as a prisoner of war in Japan. There were plenty of trials and tribulations that could have made him give up, but the worst, in his mind, was the “kill order.” he learned that if Japan surrendered or if the camps were about to be liberated all prisoners would be killed. This kill order made the struggle pointless. Even if he managed to survive illness, starvation, and torture he would be killed before he could be rescued. Zamperini was sick, starving, and being tortured by a sadistic guard they called “the Bird.” With small acts of defiance he was able to preserve his dignity and persevere. Zamperini was not a religious man at this point in his life. He uttered some foxhole prayers but took no comfort in the prospects of a heavenly reward. Instead he was sustained by an irrational hope that he would somehow make it home again to his parent’s small house in Torrance, California.
Zamperini’s irrational hope that he would somehow return home recalls one existentialist philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, and the story of Abraham and Isaac. Kierkegaard describes Abraham as a “knight of faith.” As the story goes, God instructs Abraham to sacrifice his only son Isaac. This would seem to be a strange request from a loving God who answered Abraham’s prayers for a son in his old age. Ever faithful, Abraham sets out to perform the sacrifice and is rewarded for his faith when a ram is provided as a last minute substitute sacrifice. As Kierkegaard imagines it, Abraham had the paradoxical belief that he must follow God’s instructions and yet somehow Isaac would be preserved. He had faith in the impossible and his faith was rewarded.
Zamperini did not act on religious faith. In a way, that would have been easier. For the believer, paradoxes and contradictions can be reconciled by God. But in a hopeless situation, Zamperini had hope. The proportions of Zamperini’s hope are impressive indeed. Yet anyone who has ever felt hopeless can identify,
When his camp was finally liberated, and he found himself aboard a train on the first leg of his long journey home, some of the men around him “grumbled about years of miserable treatment or complained that we should have been liberated from Camp 4-B sooner.” But Louie didn’t join in and continued to uphold the philosophy that had gotten him through those brutal, de-humanizing years: “I’d made up my mind to stay focused on the future, not the past.” That’s what hope is about, it is about your vision to the future.
For many people who have struggled with depression, addiction, and other maladies, there have been times when it has seemed there is no way to continue living as we are and no reason to think that things could change for the better. And yet we find strength in a vision of hope. We make it home beaten and scarred, but unbroken.
The silver lining
“every cloud has a silver lining” means that even the worst events or situations have some positive aspect. One should try to seek ways of how things could get better no matter how bad it is, Always have a realistic hope, The moment you choose to hope it literally opens you up. It removes the blinders of fear and despair and allows you to see the big picture. You become more creative, unleashing and achieving your dreams for the future. It is inevitable that every one of us will face serious challenges – to our health, to our prosperity, to our sense of well-being – in our lifetimes. Whether we’re looking at the world stage or our lives, it’s essential that we choose hope over fear. The more we exercise hope today, the better equipped we’ll be to survive and thrive in our darkest moments. Prepare for the worst but expect the best, Learn from yesterday, live for today , and hope for tomorrow , That’s what we all hope for , A better tomorrow!
Why Hope Matters