See the Hope and Love in the World Around You this Holiday Season

Terri Kozlowski

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When you open your eyes to the world around you, what do you see? Are you recognizing the hope and love surrounding you? Because it's there!Terri Kozlowski

Hope is a magical word. It brings wonder into the mundane and allows for endless possibilities. The definition of the word is to expect a desired outcome to occur. You see hope in the wishfulness of a child, the excitement of a recent graduate getting ready to take on the world, and the generosity of others during the holiday season. Hope is a way for humans to cope with adverse situations.

Everyone has lost hope at some point in their life, especially people who weren’t appropriately supported as a child or had childhood trauma like myself. For example, feeling unloved because of the loss of someone important to you can start you down a hopeless path. Likewise, abuse of any kind can make you feel unworthy and that your life is out of control, so you feel despair. Or maybe life has gotten overwhelming, and you don’t feel you can handle any more responsibility, as burnout has set in.

So, when you’ve lost hope, it's challenging to locate it again. But when you don’t have a sense of optimism, your life can become dark, and fear quickly takes over. Therefore, recovering your hope is essential to regain the balance of life. Everyone wants to believe that their future is bright, and hope believes it's possible despite the circumstances.

Hope is outreaching desire with expectancy of good. It is a characteristic of all living beings. ~ Edward S. Ame

When Life Happens

Things don't always go as planned as you go through your weekly routine. For example, there’s a fender bender which you’re a witness to, which causes you to be late for work. Or a co-worker explodes, and you’re in his line of fire even though it has nothing to do with you. Or your child comes home from school sick. Nothing too out of the ordinary and separately not an issue because you’ve dealt with similar situations before; therefore, you know they can all be resolved.

But what if they all happened in the same week that a big project was due and you’re feeling overwhelmed, and you only see adverse outcomes? Then your ego brings up past events that didn’t turn out as you’d planned. Without hope, you can’t even consider taking the next step out of the situation.

Many people live in a place of learned helplessness. What does this mean? Well, it occurs when someone has persistent, adverse, and uncontrollable conditions occurring in their lives, and they stop trying to alter their circumstances, even when they actually can. When you give up trying to improve your life, it leads to indifference and hopelessness, and you believe, “nothing I do matters, so why bother? I always fail.”

This type of thought pattern leads to passivity. Without hope, you live in despair, and those in your life don’t understand why you aren’t making any efforts to improve your life.

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. ~ Desmond Tutu

The Ego Uses Hopelessness

When you are living from a place of despair, you are lethargic. As a result, you aren’t inspired to do anything that could be helpful to altering your current disposition. Instead, the egoic voice continues the negative self-talk endlessly. For example:

· Why should you go out with friends? They don’t really like you, anyway.

· Why exercise? It won’t matter anyway, especially since you’re eating so much ice cream and cookies.

· Why clean the house? No one wants to come to visit you.

· Why do anything? You’ll just be disappointed, again.

Do you recognize any of these lies of the ego? Do you realize the ego keeps you stuck when you accept these misrepresentations? Don’t resign into living a passive life because you create your reality if you do. Why? Because the projection of your inner turmoil becomes your perception- even if it’s a lie of the ego.

For the first five years after my childhood trauma, my ego told me similar things about the outside world. I lived in a hopeless place because I was fearful about everything. And the ego’s job is to protect us, so fear is its most powerful tool to keep us immobile.

For me to move forward, I had to believe that my life could be different. And that’s where hope comes in.

Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, work for it, and fight for it. ~ Barack Obama

Ways To Rediscover Hope

When you feel like hope is elusive, try these tools so that you can get to the other side of your wilderness.

1. Turn to your tribe for support. When you are hopeless, lean on those people in your life who love you and will remind you of your resiliency and perseverance. This encouragement will help remind you that you can alter your circumstances. The love of those you have authentic connections with keeps you from isolating yourself.

2. Take one action step. It doesn’t matter what it is because it jars you out of being passive. You can start by writing out possible ways to move forward. Just making this list is an action out of despair. Or change your routine to help disrupt the helpless feelings. Then keep taking one more step forward.

3. Do something you love. Something as simple as signing at the top of your lungs changes your vibrational frequency to help jolt you into a more positive state. Exercise, bake, take a walk in nature, get creative. When you are doing something you enjoy, you remind yourself that you control your life.

4. Be kind to others. When you are service-oriented towards others, it positively affects your mood and overall outlook of the world. Why? Because it triggers serotonin's release, which has a calming result from a physical standpoint. It also shows the ego that you positively impact the world around you.

5. Be open to inspiration. Whether it’s your faith, trusting a higher power, be open to the encouragement of the Universe. This revelation can come through reading, music, prayer, journaling, or time in nature. Then, get quiet and listen to the soulful whispers of your heart. These conversations with your soul will never lead you astray, but you have to get silent to hear this voice.

6. Be fully present. Remember, you can’t have hope about the past, which cannot be changed. And when you are in despair, you can’t see a better future. So, staying in the present moment is where action, inspiration, kindness, and creativity occur. Only in the now can you see the hope and love that’s all around you.

7. Accept what is. Only when you acknowledge the situation can you alter it. Because until you recognize the truth of the circumstances, can you stop the struggle against it. Then you can look for the lesson you are to learn and move forward.

8. Be grateful. When you have gratitude for what you have in your life, it raises your vibration and improves your attitude. When you recognize the blessings in your life, you ignite the spark of hope.

9. Let go of attachments. The ego attaches to fear, the past, negative stories, people, whatever it needs to keep you stuck. Learn to detach from those things you know are holding you back from living the life you desire.

10. Find hope in the unexpected. See that these changes, small action steps, are signs of hope that you will alter your situation. Believe that you are a world changer, and you are opening your heart to find hope in places you haven’t looked before.

Once you choose hope, anything’s possible. Christopher Reeve

Hopefully Moving Forward

Let the courage within you rise up and cultivate the hope that is all around you. One step at a time is all you need to do. Remembering all the remarkable things you’ve accomplished in your life helps you see that overcoming is something you already have achieved. So, you can work through the current situation, and whatever may be around the corner. As a result, you’re resilient, persistent, and empowered.

Allow your tribe to support and encourage you. Their love shows you that humanity can come together to overcome, which provides you with the spark of hope you need to take action. With them, you can continue to take another step and then the next one.

And since you’re learning from each of your experiences, next time you or someone you love loses hope, you can help them.

Never give up. Have hope. Expect only the best from life and take action to get it. ~ Catherine Pulsifer

Do you need help to see the hope in the world around you? Do you want action steps to help you overcome the circumstances you find yourself? If so, please reach out to me at TerriKozlowski.com, and we can put together a step-by-step process for you to regain your hope and live the life of your dreams.

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Native American Terri Kozlowski has a BS in social science, certified life coach, blogger, author of "Raven Transcending Fear," & host of the Soul Solutions podcast. She specializes in empowering people to overcome their fears and limiting beliefs.

Woodstock, GA
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