Let’s Talk About Hope
For the last two weeks I have been waiting on the results of a scan my husband got recently which will show us if his cancer has grown and how much. I feel like it has taken forever to get these results and the only good thing about that is that I have had a ton of time to coach myself on my thinking about the results. My initial thoughts were something to the effect of: Oh, I really hope the scan shows no cancer growth! Then I realized I was using the word “hope” and that word rarely serves us.
That might surprise you, but let’s think for a minute how we commonly use the word hope, especially around sickness and disease.
I hope you get better soon.
I hope the test results are good.
I hope the surgery goes well.
I’m hoping for a speedy recovery.
All of these may sound like innocent thoughts. They are not and here is why.
Why Hope Doesn’t Serve Us
When we use hope to talk about sickness and disease, we use it to refer to things outside our control. In coaching we call these things circumstances. Circumstances are just the facts in the world. The surgery or the test results are circumstances. Circumstances are always neutral, neither good or bad, until we have thoughts about them. When I “hope” for something to be better, then I’m putting all my money on the circumstance changing in order to feel good. I put the power over my emotions “out there.” I don’t control circumstances, but I can control how I think about them and react to them.
The other problem with hope is that it is completely passive. When we say we are hoping for something, it means we are waiting for things to come to us, or to change, or somehow be different then they are. We are letting life happen to us. When we are in the mode of “hoping” for things out there to get better and they don’t then we become a victim to the circumstances in our world. This mentality can easily spiral to into self pity.
Stop yourself the next time you want to use hope. It’s a habit I know, but when you hope for good test results, or good outcomes you give away the power over how you feel to the circumstances in the world.
Instead, think about what is in your control. How do you want to think about test results? How do you want to respond if you get “bad news?” Really think about this as it can make all the difference. For me, after a lot of self coaching, I finally landed on this thought: No matter what, we’ll just keep trying. When I thought this, it made me feel determined and resolute. Just yesterday we got the results and they showed that the cancer spots had grown and spread. As I drove to meet my husband, the emotion I had in my head was of all things determination. It was not the results we would have liked, but I know we we’ll just keep at it till we figure out how to handle this cancer.
So for your own sake, stop hoping! Change your language and change your thoughts. It really does work. It will give you back some control and more important, equip you to be the person you need to be for whatever challenges life throws your way!
I love to hear your thoughts! How often do you find yourself hoping for things?