By: J.A., Writer for Hope Instilled
We need to have hope that things are going to get better. That doesn’t mean hoping for unrealistic things, hoping for a magical healing, or necessarily healing. We just need to have hope in what we are capable of, that things can improve, that we can feel better physically or mentally, because those things are possible. Just a change of perception can make a world of difference.
Hope is a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen. – Oxford Dictionary
I think we often lose hope because we don’t know how to handle disappointment. We respond negatively to disappointment. In fact, I just found this after writing this: The Merriam-Webster English Dictionary defines disappointment as “defeated in expectation or hope.”
We tend to see failure as a bad thing. Maybe it has something to do with our education, our culture, or how we were brought up. According to this article on Harvard Business Review, “The way we handle disappointment is related to our developmental history — our relationship with our parents and other early, formative experience (Kets de Vries).” It also states that some people seek to avoid disappointment by becoming underachievers and some turn into overachievers. Of course, some people do cope well with setbacks. Often being disappointed leads to blaming ourselves or others. But, we can change. That doesn’t have to be our future.
Thomas Edison failed at inventing a better form of a light bulb over 10,000 times!
Could you imagine failing at one thing 10,000 times over? I feel like I would probably give up before then. When would you give up on a project that kept failing?
But, he didn’t look at it as disappointment. Thomas Edison said, "I have not failed. I've just found 10,000 ways that won't work. " Do you think most people would see failing that way?
I’m sure there were people who didn’t believe in Edison, or didn’t believe in what he was capable of. Thomas Edison's teachers said he was "too stupid to learn anything." He was fired from his first two jobs for being "non-productive” (UKY).
Our society doesn’t typically support people who are uniquely different. Different is often a bad thing. We are ALL kind of programmed to think of people who are really different as “weird.” But it is often the weird people who end up doing some of the most impactful things in the world. How about Einstein? He was somewhat weird… view these unusual habits of Einstein. Or perhaps more current how about Steve Jobs? 13 Examples Of Steve Jobs Being Crazy. And I don’t think we have to be like yeah that’s cool that Steve Jobs doesn’t shower and walks around with no shoes on. But, we need to be able to see past someone’s weirdness, and know that they could be brilliant in some other way shape or form. And you can be weird and brilliant too.
Ever feel a bit weird as a chronic pain sufferer? I have!
Some people think of chronic pain sufferers as weird for having all these crazy health issues, and sometimes that’s all people see. We may even be looked down on for them, and lose hope that we are capable of doing something great or incredible. Prove the world wrong! People probably didn’t anticipate Helen Keller being a successful author and political advocate since she was both deaf and blind.
Thomas Edison said, "If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves." I think we all are capable of making an impact in the world. It doesn’t matter how small it is compared to someone else. To one person you can make a world of difference, and then they can impact someone else, and then that person may impact hundreds if not thousands of people. We all have something useful to give to the world, something purposeful.
I’m trying to create something new, a new business concept that will be a type of community. Many people have told me how challenging it will be to even unlikely to succeed, and it does scare me, but it makes me excited too. I need the challenge and can’t grow without doing things outside my comfort zone. When multiple people tell me that it is going to be challenging, I just think okay I just need to learn more then. So instead of jumping to do it quicker, I’m spending some time learning more before diving in. They may feel like they are discouraging me, but they are actually helping me.
“What you think you create, what you feel you attract, what you imagine you become.”
You think you will be disappointed so you set yourself up for disappointment, you feel you will be disappointed so you attract disappointment, and you imagine failing so you fail.
We can’t really fail if we don’t try. Of course, we need to have the ability to try. When I got sick I had all these tests done by medical doctors to find out what was wrong with me, and all the tests came back negative. I had zero answers. They just said “we don’t know.” But I just knew there had to be answers out there. I could Google all my symptoms and see there were no answers. Yet, I still had hope.
There is always a reason for something, even if it can’t be fully reversed. There is always a REASON and a CAUSE. And a reason isn’t necessarily a diagnosis. Like cancer for example, I mean it would be good to know it is cancer, but looking at what actually caused it would be the reason. Therefore, even if you remove the cancer, you could work to prevent it from happening again if you understood the cause.
There are ways where you can just set yourself up for disappointment though. For example, hoping that you are going to obtain some magical pill that fixes everything is very unlikely with a chronic illness. Hoping that you find one doctor that has all the answers is unlikely too, but the possibility is higher than the magical pill. I used to have this fantasy that if I found the best doctor out there all my issues would be fixed. Now I see ALL doctors have their limitations. There is no one doctor with all the answers.
It has been almost 7 years for me with chronic illness. If I had lost all hope I wouldn’t be doing 90% of the things that I do today.
I went to a naturopath doctor about 6 years ago. His methods found causes for many of my health issues, which led to reversing symptoms. He told me what foods I was sensitive to, how my liver wasn’t functioning right, that I had high amounts of chlorine in my body, heavy metals, and my hormones were not balanced.
His business taught me how to eat healthier, and it made a difference. The treatments I received over a few years decreased my migraines, decreased my stomach pains and sensitivities to foods, my chronic fatigue was gone, my seasonal depression finally went away, my sleep improved, my concentration improved, and my energy levels increased more than ever before. I was able to feel almost normal. I was happier, working full days, and enjoying my life again.
BUT, I was still having chronic pain.
He also sent me to a hormone specialist. They found I was allergic to two of my own hormones, and my hormones needed treatment. My allergies to my hormones finally disappeared after two years. My hormones also became more balanced with the hormone cream I was given. Then, I hit a wall.
It was disappointing to no longer be improving and still be in pain. However, I knew if I could get this far I could go further.
I chose to see another alternative medicine practitioner, an Ayurveda medicine practitioner. The challenging diet and extreme detox she had me go through fixed another symptom I suffered with for years: ongoing constipation. My food sensitivities seemed to improve, as well. Most importantly, my liver seemed to finally be working right. Then, I hit another wall.
I had told all these specialists about pain in my ovaries and they all assumed it had to do with my gut health. Yet I still have regular discomfort. So then I did some of my own research, and found another possible answer: endometriosis.
From my own research, I also saw a chiropractor in my timeline for ongoing back pain which improved, and then I saw someone for fascial counterstrain and my back pains became a lot less regular. I also suffered from some bad allergies, which has also improved. So yeah, I’ve had over 15 different things wrong with me, but I have healed most. I have found answers.
I covered reasons mostly in that, but causes would be things like diet, toxins, chronic stress, etc. I can’t know for sure the exact formula of why I got sick, but I have a general idea enough to make preventative choices in the future.
Hope is something I’m good at, patience is something I’m not. I am frustrated when things don’t work out, when things take longer, and when I reach a dead end and have to find a new path forward. Over the last 7 years, I’ve had months where my body felt amazing, then all of a sudden didn’t, and then got better again, and then worse again. It hasn’t been a straight path of improvement; it has been jagged with many ditches. Sometimes I felt I was going backward instead of forward. But, I keep on searching and hoping.
You may have gone through countless doctors, seeing countless specialists, and it feels hopeless. Just like Edison you may have been disappointed countless times. But you didn’t really fail, because you found a whole bunch of things that didn’t work. You learned something new about the world or yourself. Disappointment is often a path of growth. Each failed attempt can put you one step closer to finding something that does help. It sucks and it’s unfair, but that is life.
You could be one step away from finding out what is the reason for your health issues, or maybe like myself, just the reason for one symptom in the grand scheme of your health issues. Maybe fixing just one symptom will make life just a tad easier for you. Maybe that will give you a piece of hope. If you can fix one, why can’t you fix one more?
We may think we know everything about something, but there is usually still more to learn. I mean Edison was a brilliant inventor, but he didn’t know everything. He still had to fail countless times before finding what works. Having to fail countless time is applicable to so many things: finding work that we enjoy, finding love, finding decent friends, finding health solutions, and so much more.
Daum, Kevin. INC./37 Quotes from Thomas Edison that Will Inspire Success. Retrieved from: https://www.inc.com/kevin-daum/37-quotes-from-thomas-edison-that-will-bring-out-your-best.html UKY/But They Did Not Give Up. Retrieved from: https://www.uky.edu/~eushe2/Pajares/OnFailingG.html#:~:text=Thomas%20Edison's%20teachers%20said%20he,at%20inventing%20the%20light%20bulb.&text=The%20light%20bulb%20was%20an%20invention%20with%201%2C000%20steps.%22
Kets de Vries, Manfred F.R. (2018, August 22). Harvard Business Review/Dealing with Disappointment. Retrieved from: https://hbr.org/2018/08/dealing-with-disappointment