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Hope and Serendipity

Sometimes the capacity for hope seems to depend on human ability to discover our way in life, whether that is through individuals, thoughts, or things that give us what we are looking for.

It could be said in some respects that all processes, therapy included, are based on trust. 

The substance of Hope can alter practices, behaviors, feelings, perspectives, issues, relatives, friendships, and even the internal organization of individuals themselves. In much the same manner, psychological health and human well-being occur. In other words, we’re all discovering ourselves based on the events we’re going through and developing wisdom along the way. However, life can sometimes be hard, and we may find ourselves in a season where we need some assistance and support to move forward. In this vein, “the instillation of hope” is a significant component of psychotherapy (in fact, the existential psychotherapist Irvin D Yalom calls it the first of eleven ‘main variables’ in the therapeutic experience). (Yalom, 2005). 

The instillation of hope offers a way back in our lives to a sense of possibility when almost everything seems lost. It’s about recovery, relief. And the chance to look forward again, to wonder (and to wander), when we’re in a barren place,what could be over the horizon and to have the strength and perseverance to keep putting one foot in front of the other to find out. It’s also about searching backwards to instill hope in your future. That is to say, it is about looking back to remember how misfortunes or issues like the one you’re currently experiencing might have been addressed before. It helps you to remember the actions, thoughts, and source of inspiration that came to your aid during those moments and to realize that you can get back to them. Looking back can instill hope that you can do it again for the simple reality that you have overcome challenging times before.

In anticipation of the future, Hope builds your life and affects how you feel in the present. Hope generates a positive mood about an anticipation, a purpose, or a potential condition similar to optimism. Such mental time traveling influences your state of mind and changes your present behavior. The positive feelings that you experience as you look ahead, hopefully imagining what might happen, what you are going to achieve, or who you are going to be, can change the way you see yourself in this moment. Your forecast of being pleased with life goes along with hope, and this can have a direct influence on internal and external experiences.

Some say the positioning of Hope forms ways of going through your present position and provides paths to desired objectives; representing a motive to achieve objectives. Better problem-solving skills have been discovered in individuals who are optimistic relative to low-hope, and those who are optimistic tend to be cognitively versatile and emotionally capable of exploring new circumstances increasing their capacity to make change.

Further, Hope does not have to meet the requirements that an emotion does. These criteria include the notion that feelings are automatic and reflexive, that as a consequence of nervous system reactions they trigger physical and cognitive modifications, and that an emotion gives you instant data about a scenario that can lead you to act, based on the sum of your previous experiences. At the same time, although the notion of trust does not fulfill these requirements, some have referred to it as an emotional condition and a resource for coping with desperation. Maybe hope is better recognized then as a cognition that generates some mood — a continuous affective state — lacking the immediacy and strength of reflexive feelings yet capable of determining one’s life perspective.

Cultivating hope can and does actually lead to favorable results. For example, many motivational values are guided by visualizing what you want and imagining desired results in order to begin to produce them in an unconscious way. However, to account for the beneficial impact of hope, one does not need to switch to quantum explanations. That is to say, unconscious theory of thought simply proposes that we can process information to get our brains to function on a problem in an unconscious manner that can lead to increased insight. Moreover, most of our experiences are handled unconsciously. Therefore, taking time to consciously consider your routine before bedtime or the way you work over your to do list, is worthwhile as your brain is susceptible to your immediate perception of potential occurrences and will function unconsciously towards your objectives.

Our mind is like a camera — only what we concentrate on is seen and captured but also background stimulation is recorded and stored.

Hope and serendipity work hand in hand in our lives. The acknowledgment of their presence helps us to focus on- and find what we are looking for, in our internal and external lives. At the moment, serendipity has two associated functions: 1) to look for something and to find something even stronger. 2) Something to look for and find what you need. Hope lies ahead even if only through the Serendipities of life experiences! 

For example, you will likely find new and unique problems when your mind focuses on problems that are created through the imagination. However, when you begin to focus on the beneficial elements of your life, you will see the emergence of fresh possibilities from unexpected places. It doesn’t mean you’re going to ignore your problems, of course. It just implies that you are shifting your attention to discovering an answer to your issues rather than just thinking about them. This is not going to occur in one day. It requires time to change your mindset, but you will quickly begin to notice the ways in which determination along with a real sense of Hope can increase your quality of life.

Don’t avoid your future because of your past

In our minds, the fear of failure is often higher than the real probability of failure. This often means that in the short term, we avoid taking risks, so that we don’t have to experience pain and suffering. However, as some experiences have shown us, we are often able to understand that taking chance and being brave generally pays off when you look at the long-term benefits. Like the saying goes ‘You have to do something different to receive different results. In this case, we’re speaking of ‘thinking differently’. Or specifically, thinking with the important component of Hope. 

Lots of ideas move through your mind when you think about giving up as you attempt to figure out all the potential consequences of confronting your concerns. You may be worried about how you may fail and how you will be affected. Alternatively, when you’re concentrated on working hard towards your hopes and dreams and not giving up, the only thing on which your mind focuses is the work and your fight to keep going, rather than those thoughts of “what might happen.”  

Having hope does not mean fleeing obligations or ignoring them. It’s about embracing what’s going on, on realizing that a better life is possible, and on consequently actively seeking a way to make that happen. 

So put on your hopeful glasses, give yourself a chance to believe and to hope even for a little bit, and from that fresh view, notice how life begins to look like. Hope creates optimism and can easily create ripple effects and make room in your life for happiness in times when you’re too worried or nervous. As a simple first step, do one thing that brings you joy. Create a routine that nourishes your mind body and spirit. Then, remind yourself to stay in the present, to breathe and practice on slowing down your thoughts and appreciating this very moment. These small, yet big, steps along with a growing capacity for cultivating Hope can bring into your life those serendipitous experiences that we all know are out there for us to find. These, in turn, can get us into living life passionately, purposefully and lovingly towards ourselves and one another. And who doesn’t hope for that?


Yalom, I.D. (2005). The Theory and Practice of Group Psychotherapy: 5th Edition.   New York: Basic Books.

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