Understanding Hope

Hope: Origin: Before 900; Middle English hopen. The feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best. A wish or desire accompanied by confident expectation of its fulfillment.
Dictionary.com Unabridged | Based on Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary

Synonyms: confidence, expectation, optimism, anticipation, courage, hopefulness, faith.
Antonym: despair.
MSN Encarta

  • Hope is achievement — something accomplished, especially by superior ability.
  • Hope is aspiration — strong desire, longing or aim.
  • Hope is belief — confidence in the truth or existence of something not proven.
  • Hope is expectation — something to look forward to.
  • Hope is prospect — the outlook for the future.

Benefits of Hope

  • Hope provides confidence — belief in the powers outside of oneself.
  • Hope provides ambition — eagerness, striving.
  • Hope provides purpose — definiteness, meaning.
  • Hope provides happiness — a sense of good-feeling.
  • Hope provides passion — strong feeling and excitement.

Acts of Hope in Everyday Life

  • The Bible — Hope of Eternal Life. What could possibly be more hope-filled than the promise of Eternal Life? This promise is interwoven throughout the Holy Book.
  • Celebrating Hope — Stories of two very famous celebrities, Michael J. Fox, who was struck with Parkinson's Disease and Christopher Reeve, who was thrown from a horse and suffered a paralyzing spinal chord injury. Both men chose hope and turned their tragedies into a mission to raise awareness and money toward a cure.
  • President Barack Obama — Keeping all political viewpoints aside, this newly appointed President of the United States exemplifies a feeling of hope in the future of the American nation.
  • Project Hope — After being moved by the poor health conditions he saw in the South Pacific during World War II, founding father Dr. William B. Walsh, M.D. persuaded President Dwight D. Eisenhower to donate the USS Consolation as a floating medical center to advance health care around the world. Though land-based programs replaced the floating one, Project Hope is still very much alive today.
  • Positive Parenting — Helping children learn to set and achieve realistic goals and set their sights toward a bright future.

Methods for Achieving Hope

  • Explore your Faith — Strengthen your relationship with a Power greater than yourself.
  • Be an Optimist — Learn to look for the good in people and situations.
  • Expect a Miracle — Learn to find the unexpected. Seek the handiwork of the Devine.
  • Find Positive Supports — Surround yourself with people who are upbeat and happy.
  • Honor and Respect Nature — Take time to appreciate the beauty and splendor of the world around us.

Golden Mean

Pessimism, Negativity, Hopelessness

Quotes for Hope

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
- Dale Carnegie -
Courage, it would seem, is nothing less than the power to overcome danger, misfortune, fear, injustice, while continuing to affirm inwardly that life with all its sorrows is good; that everything is meaningful even if in a sense beyond our understanding; and that there is always tomorrow.
- Dorothy Thompson -
All the great spiritual leaders in history were people of hope. Abraham, Moses, Ruth, Mary, Jesus, Rumi, Gandhi, and Dorothy Day all lived with a promise in their hearts that guided them toward the future without the need to know exactly what it would look like. Let's live with hope.
- Henri J. M. Nouwen -
Hope is both the earliest and the most indispensable virtue inherent in the state of being alive. If life is to be sustained hope must remain, even where confidence is wounded, trust impaired.
- Erik H. Erikson -

Recommended Reading

Laughing Day — by Tim Anders

An absolutely enchanting children's book that tells the story about Boologs and Grumpies who live together in a village and learn the value and happiness that can be found in helping others. "Dr. Hope" wonderfully teaches children an inner-understanding and working of the virtue of hope.

What Cancer Cannot Do Deluxe: Stories of Hope and Encouragement — by Phyllis Ten Elshof

A tremendously uplifting book for anyone who has any involvement or connection to this destructive, life-threatening illness. A bright spot in what can otherwise be a world of darkness.

General Rules

Practice virtues daily so that they become ‘habits of the heart’.

Don‘t strive for perfection.

Never give up! Remember: even the greats have off days.

Rely on your intuition.

Avoid extremes. Strive to achieve the golden mean between excess and deficiency of a virtue.

Have fun and enjoy the program with humor and optimism.

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all. Dale Carnegie