Hope can be hard—some people are better at it than others. They have strategies. A friend references Dory from Finding Nemo to keep herself and others motivated and amused:
I have a husband who tears up when he relates episodes of the Moth that touch him. There are students in his school who awe him with their courage. Recently, a girl with special needs stood up at a bullying assembly and asked her schoolmates to please stop calling her retarded. “I don’t like it” she said. He tears up when he tells me this. The tears come when his faith in humanity is given a boost.
Teachers inspire him too. One of the elementary teachers has a big sign in her classroom:
Remember the Magic of Yet
When he told me about this, I felt blood rush into capillaries that had not had enough oxygen in a long time, a moment of dizzying relief. Obviously I need to go back to grade school.
I have to get YET into my life. It never occurred to me before, but “yet” is the most powerfully hopeful word in the English language. When I feel hopeless, when I notice the words “never” and “can’t” creeping into my self-talk, it’s time for the Magic of Yet. It takes a bit of work, but hey, I’m a writer. I can revise!
Some examples I’m trying out:
I’m not a successful writer…becomes… I haven’t figured out how to be successful YET. [note to self: partly because I haven’t figured out what I mean by “success.” Yet.]
I’ll never hit that note…becomes…I can’t hit that note YET.
We can’t save the planet…becomes…We can’t save the planet YET.
The understood codicil to YET is “and we are/I am working on it.”
I bought this photograph years ago. I have no idea who this person is, only that her expression melts my heart. I look at it every day, and she reminds me of what I love about humans. She is so filled with mischief and promise, brimming with humor and joy.
When I despair about our species, she is my “yet.”
What are the messages you need to change? What are your strategies for hope?