The Nature Of Hope

Hope is a recurring belief which is mentioned in many posts and comments in the ILIASM forum. From some of the notable quotes I recall, Hope isn’t considered very favourably.

Friedrich Nietzsche said “Hope is the worst of evils, for it prolongs the torment of man”.

François Duc de La Rochefoucauld said “Hope, deceitful as it is, serves at least to lead us to the end of our lives by an agreeable route”.

I was struck by a few thoughts, such as, what exactly IS hope and then why do we say we have it or lose it or feel we may never have it again? – if that makes sense.

According to the Wikipedia, Hope is defined as a belief in a positive outcome related to events and circumstances in one's life. Hope is a feeling that something desired may happen, when the outlook may or may not warrant it.

For the cognitive-behavioural definition, Hope is expectation moderated by probabilistic estimation of a desired event. So, Hope is instilled and maintained when someone sees something, decides that it is desirable, realizes that they may not get it, but believes that there is still a chance of getting it.

It occurs to me that in order to maintain a certain ambient threshold of hope, there must be a belief that a desired event will occur and this belief needs to be high enough to consider there to be a reasonable chance of it happening, yet not so high that one becomes complacent such that one then feels that it will happen – then it is not hope but a feeling of certainty. In a way, Hope is like limbo.

I reckon that for many of us, for years we cling to the hope that things would change if we tried harder, did things better, did things differently, or changed how we look and even feel.

Hope begins in the dark, the stubborn hope that if you just show up and try to do the right thing, the dawn will come.  ~Anne Lamott

As we readily acknowledge it takes two to form the dynamic of a relationship –for better or worse. As much as we stubbornly show up to attempt to do the right thing, there has to be reciprocity from our partners for any common ground to be achieved and at the very least, recognition of our attempts.

I reflected on this hope which I carried, wanting to know what exactly I hoped for and why and what did I or my spouse do or say to nurture it and how the texture or focus of my hope has changed.

Often when Hope is discussed, it is commented on in one of three possibilities:

1.      Hope that the relationship will become sexfull again
2.      Caution against hope that the relationship will become sexfull again
3.      A loss of hope that the relationship will ever be sexfull again

There is a fourth possibility but unless we surrender our hope for the first three, we cannot get there – and this is Hope that we will experience love, lust and sex again in a meaningful relationship.

I’d like to know if anyone has considered the nature of their hope, the things that fuel that hope and whether hope has changed, how it changed and how you made sense of it. Hope is a key ingredient in both staying and leaving and I think warrants discussion.

There are two quotes which I do find inspiring about Hope. Lin Yu Tang said that “Hope is like a road in the country; there was never a road, but when many people walk on it, the road comes into existence”. This forum and its members epitomise this quote perfectly for me. There was never a road before me until I stumbled into this group of wisdom and empathy.

The other quote is from Albert Einstein who said “Learn from yesterday, live for today, hope for tomorrow.” I have been learning from my past and living for today and I do have hope for tomorrow.

LaoTzu  

LaoTzu LaoTzu
41-45, M
9 Responses Jul 19, 2010

So many thoughts... I am currently in the middle of another crisis of faith... I gave up waiting for a savior (or should I say in terms the 2 in the 12 steps... "I am coming to believe")... My Buddhist inclinations would suggest to me that a more practical or realistic hope is summarized in the phrase, "this too shall pass."

I'm glad to hear that you have hope. My best friend told me that "Hope springs eternal". It's indeed true that hope springs eternal because where there is hope there is a chance of happiness and a good outcome as long as one doesn't give up on it. And whether that hope means that the current situation will improve or whether you decide to leave it and make your own happiness, it's important to believe that YES, there is hope for a better future. I 'hope' that all of the ILIASM members know that they are not alone. There's alot of us who live day to day feeling 'hopeless' and sad and disappointed and betrayed, but there is always hope if we remember to love ourselves regardless of how our partners treat us. HOPE SPRINGS ETERNAL!

In hope, people face reality. When in ambition people are in fantasy.<br />
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In the Sexless Marriage situation, it seems that Hope is often irrational. Where does rationality end and irrationality begin? It seems to me that our hope for success in our marriages starts off in realism (in most cases). We have previously enjoyed a sexual relationship with this person so there is hope we can do so again in the future.<br />
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In our sexless marriages, our ambition is for these to revert (or even to become!) relationships that include sex and intimacy. We become stuck in the routine of chasing our ambition. <br />
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Reality is not only the mere construction of reality, as reality is in itself the consequential perception of the physical universe through the interpretation of an entity's consciousness. Therefore, reality is truly a construct.<br />
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Over a period of time, reality changes. It is not a change that we want, so many of us stubbornly refuse to accept that it is a permanent change. In my case, it took thirteen years to accept reality in my marriage . . . .<br />
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For me, the desire for this to happen was intense. I tried to mould my self to be the person with whom he would want to have sex and to relate to with intimacy. I have read that intense desire produces delusion, and I would now say that I was deluded in my efforts. At the time however, I felt I was simply “hopeful”.<br />
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So how do we decide what is rational and what is irrational (or deluded)? The following questions (from: Rational Versus Irrational: The 3 Key Questions to Ask Yourself about your Beliefs) may be helpful:<br />
1. Does my Belief help me or hinder me over the long run? <br />
Rational thinking is defined as thinking that is helpful to you over the long run.<br />
Irrational thinking is defined as thinking that hinders you over the long run.<br />
2. Is my Belief consistent with known facts and reality?<br />
Rational thinking is defined as thinking that is consistent with known facts.<br />
Irrational thinking is thinking that is inconsistent with (or unsupported by) known facts.<br />
3. Is my Belief logical?<br />
Logical means thinking that makes sense. For example, if you said you would very much like to succeed at something, does it logically follow that therefore you must succeed? No, the necessity for success does not follow logically from the fact that success would be beneficial. Or does it make sense to think: “Because something is bad, I can’t stand it”?

Hope without reason is futile.<br />
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I know, I have engaged in it for years.<br />
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I thought if I just loved enough, waited enough, believed enough, gave enough, hoped enough, it would work. Love heals all, right?<br />
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Well, love does heal but it has to be love for yourself. Loving another person who doesn't want/can't/won't accept it and keeping on believing it will change isn't hopeful. It is co-dependent. And, I realize that is what I am. Full blown co-dependent.<br />
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I am getting ready to ask him to move out in therapy and frankly, I think he will jump at the chance. <br />
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So, I am getting ready to let go. <br />
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There is nothing to work on alone. This much I know.

Hope without reason is futile.<br />
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I know, I have engaged in it for years.<br />
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I thought if I just loved enough, waited enough, believed enough, gave enough, hoped enough, it would work. Love heals all, right?<br />
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Well, love does heal but it has to be love for yourself. Loving another person who doesn't want/can't/won't accept it and keeping on believing it will change isn't hopeful. It is co-dependent. And, I realize that is what I am. Full blown co-dependent.<br />
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I am getting ready to ask him to move out in therapy and frankly, I think he will jump at the chance. <br />
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So, I am getting ready to let go. <br />
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There is nothing to work on alone. This much I know.

Hope and despair are two sides of the same coin. One cannot exist without the other. In order to be happy, you must give up both hope and despair.

Hope, faith and love are gifts from God. You do not have to be a bible-thumper to accept nor to understand that. <br />
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All you have to do is embrace your limitations as a human being. We can try to dissect those sentiments or feelings but we will never truly understand them. They are supernatural and that is why they can elude us. <br />
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Think about it: without hope, we would be automatons only reacting to immediate stimuli the way animals do.

My thoughts on hope are pretty visceral.<br />
The following was most likely a quote from someone more articulate than me - - -<br />
"Prepare for the worst, and hope for the best"<br />
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I pretty much have adopted this doctrine.<br />
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But at it's core in this context "hope" is merely an acknowledgement that an unlikely event may occur.<br />
And, sometimes they DO occur.<br />
Cherish them when they do.

Your story brings light into the darkness we all feel in Sexless and Near Sexless Marriages.<br />
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It is my belief that marriage is entered for intimacy and companionship. We HOPE that the love we feel for our spouse continues through many Wedding Anniversaries ... many people will advise. "never give up hope" ... however, is HOPE really the magic word that changes the marriage, or is HOPE something we cling onto because we want to believe that we will live "happily ever after"?<br />
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When I was married at 18 years old, I painted a fairy tale picture of what our marriage would be.<br />
Through the years of childbearing and raising children, my picture slowly changed.<br />
With responsibilities came hope that we would survive the hungry years and emerge stronger and more in love than ever. Hope for a brighter tomorrow was to keep our live alive.<br />
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HOPE is a miraculous word, appearing and disappearing over the years.<br />
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I am not blinded by the lack of HOPE in my marriage.<br />
HOPE is like a double edged sword. <br />
One side is blunt <br />
One side is sharp<br />
I needed to experience the two sides <br />
HOPE is alive and well in my soul