HOPE NOTE #12: Hope is SO BORING. But choosing it could change the world.
Updated: Apr 13, 2022
Hope is boring
Yes. I said what I said and I meant it.
Hope IS boring. I mean, it’s WONDERFUL to have, but it takes time, and practice, and waiting to cultivate. It’s sort of like house work. It never ends. Always has to be done. Never makes the headlines.
I’m starting to think, maybe starting to learn that BIG SPLASHES don’t deserve necessarily my attention.
Did we all hear about “the slap” this week? Did we weigh in? Search for more videos? Read articles?
But where did it get any of us? Me. Where did it get me?
Cultivating hope will never hit the headlines.
I’m sometimes embarrassed about how easily I am sucked in to traps (funnels) that professionals and corporations make for me - they want my attention and my time. Especially how todays world works online - time I spend online makes people money.
To hope is to stop. It’s to look up. It’s breathing. It’s one thing at a time. It’s picking something up, a thought, a worry, and it’s doing whatever work it takes to allow that thought to lose it’s power, it’s weight, it’s influence.
I grew up getting good grades and playing sports. From the 1st grade until about grade 6, every time I scored 100% on a test, I got a sticker. Ten stickers and I got a gift certificate. I loved that system. Work and rewards. LEARNING wasn’t the reward. Learning was nothing. Recognition and stars and money was everything. I worked so hard for those external things. The more the better! In sports I got ribbons and medals and trophies and my name called out during morning announcements. Those external moments of recognition and validation were everything, absolutely everything to me.
BUT . . . now, as an adult in my home, if I clean, no one gives me a star. If I sit and sort through my mind and follow up with some worries that have been causing me anxiety and causing me to bark at my kids - no one shows up with a parade.
No one asks me to do this work. No one thanks me when I do, or reminds me when I don’t.
This week, I’m paying one of my kids $1.25 each day to go to school for the next three days. She’s having super rough couple of weeks, best friend moving far far away, got kicked out of a friend group at school, is working through issues with a bully . . . school is a lot. I’m doing my best to hear her and walk through it with her and acknowledge how hard of a thing she is doing right now.
I think what I’m doing is short sighted and might not serve her for her life. I also think I’m showing care and validating how hard this all is. But it’s not real life - I wish someone would see me struggling and say, “Oh hey Heidi. Wow. You’re dealing with some really tough stuff right now. Tell ya what, for every journal entry, I’ll give you 5 bucks, and every time you notice a negative thought and choose not to let it land, keep track and I’ll give you 25 cents per thought.”
Nope. Doesn’t happen. We’re adults. There’s no chart with stickers (unless you make your own) and there’s no applause (unless you applaud yourself).
It’s do or don’t do.
For me, I do so much better in life when I exercise, get a good amount of sleep, journal, deal with my thoughts, and spend time with good people.
But it’s way easier (short term) to get caught up with facebook, who is looking at and liking my IG posts, current news events, gossip, negativity, feeling overwhelmed and eating milk chocolate and indiscriminately believing whatever thoughts enter my head.
Hope takes work and it is it’s OWN reward. There’s no app that buzzes with little hearts, unlocking new levels and mega points.
It’s small. It’s moment by moment. It can take some planning but there’s no step by step formula.
Your heart won’t pound with excitement. There will likely be some discomfort. You’ll have to feel. And no one will ever write a headline about it.
But it will change your life and the trajectory of your life. It will impact every person you come in contact with for the rest of your life - because you’ll be different. Maybe only by minute degrees at first.
I’m beginning to think that some of the boring things really matter. The overlooked, underestimated, unrewarded parts of life really might be worthy of more of our time and attention.
Here’s to us and the boring, repetitive, invisible work that needs to be done, the work we’ve already put in, and the way that it changes our worlds.