I am currently watching CNBC and the DOW is down another 300 points. The riots in London continue unabated, and all this after the debt ceiling fiasco in Washington that lowered government approval ratings to all time lows. Will the bad news ever end?
Its times like these that we might find ourselves in need of a little hope.
According to Kaethe Weingarten Professor of Psychology at Harvard Medical School, hope is not an individualistic endeavor, a tool you have to muster up on your own, but rather something that can be done with others. I like this approach to hope because it is my experience that hopelessness has a tendency to isolate those it afflicts. Weingarten also offers ways to do hope that I think are helpful and would like to share with you in these difficult times:
The number one task is to resist isolation. Withdrawing from others only feeds hopelessness.
Refuse Indifference. Hope is the responsibility of the community. Small actions matter and ripple out in ways we can never predict.
Do hope together. Encouraging and supporting others to resist the powerful pull of fear and hate goes a long way toward building hope in ourselves and others.
Avoid John Wayne syndrome. Individuals are notoriously prone to despair. Asking for help does not equal failure.
Doing hope together is an approach, attitude and collaborative enterprise. Weingarten believes hope is a resource; we hoard it at our peril. Many readers of this blog may find themselves better positioned to imagine hope for those whose resources have been depleted. In these scary times where it may seem like fear and anger dominate the scene. Hope is the crucial antidote.