Have you ever been in a hopelessly dark place, and everyone around you kept saying it would all be okay? You keep watching things fall apart while listening to those whispers that keep reiterating that everything will work out eventually. You cling to the idea that you will find your grounding if you keep hope alive, but at the back of your mind, in your heart, there are doubts. The idea of losing hope looks like giving up, and no one wants to give up. What if I told you, releasing the expectations of things falling into place is the one thing that might get you out of your rut?
The Illusion of Control
Life is one of the things we will never understand. Whether it’s a question of where it stems from, how it occurs, or when it ends, it is impossible to accurately respond to the factors that determine any of these things. Yet, we spend every day trying to ensure that everything falls into place. You work extremely hard to ensure that you live the life you want, or at least, you don’t lose the one you have.
The problem is that the minute you extend your life and touch on others, you lose control. An interesting psychological concept looks at the aspect of control and controlling. This conversation begs the question, are we ever in control?
A few weeks ago, I decided to walk away from my job to pursue something more ideal for who I am as a person and a writer. Things were moving smoothly in the first few days, but then, like any entrepreneur, I expected bumps.
One of the things I love most about freelancing is that I rarely have to meet people I work for, but this is also the worst thing about this profession. Everything I do leans on the hope that those I work with are honest enough to meet their obligations. If I deliver content, they pay.
When the first payday came for my new venture, I received excuses and promises, but I had heard the script before. See, last year, when I started writing online, I lost a lot of money. You’d think I’d paid my dues; maybe it was how the industry welcomed beginners. It took some time, but I got over it.
Last week, I lost more, and I watched my world collapse in a second. The thing is, this person kept pushing the payment date. You’ve heard this script before; your payment is being processed, someone who is supposed to sign this thing is not around, next week, they promise.
Although everything fell, hope remained. Maybe, they would keep their word and deliver this time. Losing hope was not an option; I had financial obligations, mine, and other people’s, that I needed to meet. So, I kept hope alive; that was what I was supposed to do. I spent a week hoping until I decided I couldn’t take it anymore.
I had done everything I could, and since someone else had the final say in whether I would realize my hope, I did not have any form of control.
Is it the Right Time to Lose Hope?
You can only do as much as you can do. Most times, this sounds like a form of resignation, but it is an acknowledgment of your humanity in essence. Have you ever thought about how hope can be harmful? Yes, it can also be beneficial, but in some instances, it is not.
Hope can be loosely defined as wanting something to happen and then expecting it. When you hope, you allow yourself to create an alternate reality where this thing has already come to pass. Thus, when you are in a hopelessly dark place, every time someone asks you to keep hope alive, you go to that alternate reality. You imagine it, you see it, you live it.
The problem is, reality calls, whether it’s after seconds, minutes, or days. So, when you get back to a place where that thing you want to happen hasn’t happened, you are disappointed. Sometimes hope feels like continually mourning the same thing. You expected payment for a job you did; they say next week, so for one week, you imagine that they will pay you and then they don’t. They promise next week.
Such situations come with two options; you either accept that things won’t work out or stay hopeful. Losing hope might feel like betraying yourself and giving up, but is it? Whatever situation you are in that has you questioning whether to be hopeful or not, you need to ask yourself the following questions;
- What can you do to change the situation?
- What is the worst thing that can happen if things don’t go the way you hope?
- What are your alternatives?
These questions will guide you on whether to let hope go or not. They help you identify the situations that require your fight and those that will only consume you with no positive outcome.
5 Reasons why Losing Hope is Okay
If you decide that a situation is lost on you, it’s okay to lose hope. There is no need to dwell on things you cannot control; things that hold no promise. Here are some of the reasons how losing all hope can be beneficial;
1. Preserving energy
When you lose hope, you conserve energy that would have been used, worrying about whether things will fall into place or not. Trying to keep hope alive while attempting to create a new life can lead to burning out. Therefore, you need to decide where your energy goes. Do you want to keep obsessing over what has happened, or are you looking to get out of that darkness?
It is okay to feel bad about what is happening to you.
2. Breaking the cycle
Every time you convince yourself not to lose hope in a situation that won’t change, you break your heart. Whenever you expect, you anticipate, you prepare, and then when things don’t work out how you wanted, it feels like you are going through the same thing afresh.
The more you do this, the more defeated you feel because this shows how much you don’t have control of anything. Continually failing at the same thing also creates the illusion that you are a failure, which can be dangerous for future endeavors.
Many things helped me get over the disappointment of losing that much money, especially during the current economic times, but the foundation was laid by acceptance. The minute I reconciled with the loss and decided to bury all hope, I started strategizing. I am not saying that things start working out, but it is easier to move forward without letting constant worry hinder progress. Divert from the cycle.
3. Killing the problem
Because I decided to make peace with my fate doesn’t mean the financial obligations ended. Losing all hope of getting paid allowed me to look for other ways to solve my problem. Pastor Michael Todd speaks about how releasing anger opens up your destiny, which is such an interesting concept. He goes on to back his message with an anecdote that you should use for everything, “the people who hurt you might never get to a place where they realize how much harm they have caused, so you will spend your time waiting for an apology that will never come.” This is a loose interpretation, but you can listen to the summon for a more exact message.
If you are sitting in wait for other people to act right, you’ll be waiting for a long time. Most people don’t know that hoping that things work out fans the flames of the problem. You want recognition for the work you do? The problem is that you don’t get recognition, and every time you hope someone recognizes your effort, you realize that people don’t recognize your work. You keep the problem alive by keeping hope alive.
Wouldn’t it be best if you decided to start commending your work? Instead of waiting for others to see you, you need to see yourself and recognize it. Dismiss the hope that someone will come and do it for you and do it yourself.
4. Analyzing the problem
Staying at a place of hurt and disappointment makes you feel like a victim; I am not saying you aren’t, but you might want to change how you look at yourself. I am sorry you are at the mercy of another person. However, if you look at yourself only as passive in the things you go through, you cannot solve any problem. Things happen to you, and they suck, but you have what it takes to get back on your feet.
Sometimes that means abandoning every idea you have on a situation and looking at it from a different perspective. Lose hope in what has happened, let go of the idea that this particular thing will work out, and start afresh.
5. Reconnecting with yourself
It is human nature to want to have the final word, to keep pushing until the final moment. However, do you ever stop to think that this might be the best final moment? Losing hope allows you to understand you are human, that although you can work to prevent bad things from happening to you, you are rarely in control when other people and things are involved.
This way, you can take the lessons from this moment and use them in the future to avoid falling into the same pit. Be gentle with yourself, if you had known better, you would have done better, and now you have the chance to do it.
“Don’t judge yesterday’s mistake with today’s wisdom,” Steven Furtick.