In Greek mythology, the familiar story of Pandora’s box is often cited. When she opened the mythical box, despair and dark emotions came tumbling out. However, at the bottom of the famed box was also the emotion of hope.
According to the clinical psychologist, Dr. Shane Lopez, who studies despair and hope, ￼hope can be learned.
Hopeful people share four core beliefs, according to Lopez:
The future will be better than the present.
I have the power to make it so.
There are many paths to my goals.
None of them is free of obstacles.
Hope includes a range of emotions, such as joy, awe and excitement. But it’s not empty, tunnel-vision, blind enthusiasm. Hope is a combination of your head and heart, as Lopez writes. He describes hope as “the golden mean between euphoria and fear. It is a feeling where transcendence meets reason and caution meets passion.”
In my own doctoral research, I studied both optimism and pessimism. Pessimists actually had strong positive outcomes for performance, adjustment, and mental health. ￼Hope is the belief in a better future, but it can actually come from expecting and preparing for the worst.￼
Hopeful people pick good goals, know how to make them happen, and spot and seek out the pathways that will move them forward. Research also indicates that picking goals that you’re excited about and align with your personal strengths is absolutely crucial.￼
Importantly, hope is also contagious.￼ Your social network, friends, role models, colleagues, family, and community, also share in the experience.￼
￼￼Being able to have hope allows us to connect with our deepest human roots, our BEING in this world.