Hope is an interesting emotion. It can be someone’s lifeline in moving forward but it can also be the exact thing holding them back. In this article, I’m going to show you how to differentiate between upward hope and downward hope. I will also share what you can do if you find yourself engaging in downward hope.
When you find yourself feeling hopeful about something, notice if your body sinks down or lifts up. Do you feel worse when you think about being hopeful or do you feel optimistic?
For example, often when people say, “I hope I will find a romantic partner” it’s often coming from a defeated, hopeless place. To show you the opposite, someone saying, “I look forward to meeting the right partner” is more optimistic and uplifting. Each statement leads to a different outlook or action.
Another example of downward hope is, “I hope I find a job,” compared to “I look forward to finding the right position.” The first one holds a lot of doubt and the second one holds more certainty. The energy of each of these statements will affect the actions you take. This is why you want to focus on upward hope rather than downward hope.
A client recently said to me, “I have more hope than I’ve ever had before in my life,” this is an example of upward hope because it is filling her with optimism and trust. Notice if the language you are using is filling you up or dragging you down.
The differences may not be obvious to you right away. Allow it to be a discovery process rather than something you need to “fix.” That is the key indicator for which hope you are engaging with.
When you notice you are focusing on downward hope, here are some ideas that can help you shift into upward hope.
Trust in a bigger plan
Remember those moments in your life where something unexpected and magical happened. Maybe you didn’t know how you were going to cover rent that month and somehow a refund check from a rebate came in the mail just 2 days before rent was due. Or perhaps you were this close to missing your flight but the aircrew was late as well so you had plenty of time to make it. It’s these moments that make us feel like there just might be a bigger plan. Remind yourself of these moments you’ve had in the past.
How can you trust in a bigger plan?
Count your current blessings
It’s so easy to focus on what is lacking in our life even though we are blessed with so much. When things are rough it is hard to focus on the good. But for a moment just look around and find something that you wanted before and now you have it. Maybe it is a special friendship you craved that you now have. Maybe it is a job you wanted that you now have. Maybe it is the ability to walk outside and go to the store because you have two working legs. It can really be anything. Focus on one thing a day and think, “I am grateful for…”
What are you so grateful to have right now?
Do something fun
We are so focused on building our lives that we forget to have fun. Fun can be such a gift to those hopeless moments. It takes us out of our misery for a moment and lets us enjoy this present moment. Take yourself on an adventure. Go to your favorite restaurant just because. Go on a nature hike on a new trail near your home. Blast music on full volume and have a dance party doing ridiculous moves and making funny faces. It might feel silly at first but the fun you will have and the shift it’ll have inside your body is all worth it.
How can you have some fun right now?
Think about how you are engaging with hope in your life. Is it fueling you or making you feel defeated? Use these tips to transmute the downward hope into something that actually contributes positively to your life. Step into upward hope and enjoy every moment along the way. Cheers.
Aditi helps professionals turn their stress habits into self-care habits. She became a Life Coach & Emotional Wellness Speaker after years of battling with her own depression, burnout, and a half-paralyzed face at age 20 due to stress. It’s her personal mission to reduce emotional suffering in the world and teach wellness tools that were never taught in school. Grab her Stress Less Guide at: aditicreative.com/stressless and follow her on Instagram for more self-care tips at @aditicreative.