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Hope for the New Year

January 16, 2018  | 

{3:06 minutes to read} The concept of hope has been on my mind since a good friend recently told me that she will be awarded the Spirit of Hope award from her cancer support group. Throughout the many fears, disappointment, and pain that living with cancer inflicts, she has remained remarkably hopeful these past several years. She is the embodiment of hope to me, and she is truly deserving of this honor.

It’s human to feel fear when confronted with the risks and challenges of life, whether they are real or perceived. It’s also human to feel despair when you consider the horrors that people do to each other on a far too often basis and the disregard with which many people act. Hope doesn’t mean that you ignore your concerns or pretend that bad things don’t happen.

To the contrary, the advice Archbishop Desmond Tutu gives, in speaking about the power of hope in The Book of Joy, is to distinguish hope from optimism. He teaches that optimism is a superficial and fleeting emotion that can dissipate easily when something doesn’t happen as you expect. He sees the concept of optimism as dependent more on feelings than on reality.

Hope, on the other hand, is based upon the “firm grounding of conviction,” and the knowledge that in time, the fears, concerns, and bad times will pass.

So, to have hope, you do need to have faith—faith in human nature, in relationships with others, and in the community of all human beings. It is something that you feel deep inside; a firm belief that no situation is utterly without hope.

We all experience challenges in varying degrees, but to face any challenge with despair turns us inward at a time when we should be seeking others for support. It can be a scary thing to connect to others when you feel so vulnerable and helpless. It can be much easier to respond negatively and remain enmeshed in your own cocoon. But, Archbishop Tutu suggests that remaining inward will only magnify the feelings of despair and that it is hope that will be the antidote.

To me, hope is why we keep trying, why we fall in love, why we have children, why we maintain friendships. We couldn’t achieve any of that without faith in others and a belief that things will work out ultimately.

May we all choose hope for the new year. 

Clare Piro Attorney and Mediator

Attorney & Mediator
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Harrison, NY 10528
Tel: 914.946.0848

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