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Hope is a Curse and a Blessing

“Hope could be more painful than despair.” From Against a Dark Background by Iain M. Banks

Hope is very interesting because it is crucial to our lives. We require hope to survive cancer, to cope with profound loss and to believe we will find a job when we are unemployed. Hope is crucial to enduring hardships in life. When we adopt or bring children into the world it is about hope. There are many reasons to be hopeful. Having chronic pain means not giving up on hope. Growing up in poverty requires a good deal of hope. Gangbangers offer hope to the young men who join gangs which is what makes them so enticing.

The other side is hope as a curse. Hope gets in the way of listening to your inner voice. Hope can lead to partners languishing and becoming invisible because they pretend too much that things are okay when they’re not. Hope can be at the heart of self-deception. “She won’t come back drunk this time,” and, “He wouldn’t let there be a sheriff’s notice nailed to the front door without telling me,” or “There won’t be a sheriff’s notice on the door because I always work it out.” False hope is a way to avoid the harshness of reality. Character builds ONLY upon dealing with reality. Healthy relationships ONLY have longevity by dealing with and talking about hard realities together. Families work better when parents face their children about the vodka bottle in the closet. Hope smoothes out reality so that people can pretend and deflect.

Too often, hope is a way people drown in disappointment. Hope leads you into false expectations. Hope nags at people to want something better. Then we too easily lose track simply, of what “is”. There is an intensity to both ways of considering hope. While we require hope to continue the human race, at the same time, there seems to be a wisdom in animals who only hope for food and a sunny spot to lay down in.

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