In the A to Z of Becoming, I’ve reached the letter “H” again, and one verb which begins with “H” is “hope”.
So I’ve been thinking about hope, but recently I’ve also been thinking a lot about negativity and how frequently we come across people who are against something. There are so many “anti-s” about and I often wonder what exactly an “anti” would say they are “pro”. What are they for, as opposed to what are they against.
When I bring those thoughts to the action of hoping I can see that on many occasions people are practising a kind of “negative hope” – “I hope I don’t fail at….” “I hope I don’t miss my train”, “I hope I don’t…..” – it’s about fear.
And fear is used a lot to control people so we are often sold messages on the basis of what might be avoided, rather than what might be achieved.
The positive psychology movement grew out of the understanding that whatever we focus on gets bigger. So if you try to treat someone’s fear by focusing on reducing that fear, you still end up focusing on the problem, not the solution.
It might seem there is a subtle difference between hoping for something and hoping that the opposite does not happen, but I think that difference is significant, because the focus of the hope has an influence on us.
If we spend our lives hoping that this or that does not happen, then we are living from a standpoint of fear, and our behaviours become avoidance behaviours.
If we spend our lives actively hoping for this or that, then we can live engaged with the creative efforts which can lead us to the fulfilment of those hopes.
Maybe the universe really does conspire to bring about what we focus on…..and if that is true, then ask yourself what you hope for, not what you hope you can avoid.
The vine in the photograph at the beginning of this post is actively seeking out and creating opportunities to grow. It is sending its out its tendrils to support itself in growing bigger, climbing higher, and spreading further. I like to see this as a positive behaviour focused on enriching and developing Life.