9 Ways to Restore Hope Now

by Robert Rizzo | Twitter, Facebook,

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“It’s never enough,” he repeated as we sat together in the cubicle of the community services center.

This was a man who had known better times. Late 50s, early 60s, it was hard to tell.

“He was a strong, vibrant man when I first started seeing him, but the COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) has taken a toll,” the needs assessor told me in private.

Nonetheless, the man was congenial and smiled, confiding that the oxygen tank on his back was heavy and at times cumbersome.

With his permission I tested the weight in my hand, it felt like 15-20 pounds, it felt heavy.

“I smoked too much,” he said repentantly and placed his fingers to his lips as if holding a cigarette. He then shrugged and made a face as if to say, “Oh, well. What’s done is done.”

On the desk next to him was a stack of cassette tapes he’d received from the free market at the center.

“I love classical music,” he said. “It calms me.”

As a new assessor at the center, I was there to observe.

Between assessment questions I asked him where he was from, where he lived now, the usual, just making conversation.

It’s never enough.

On paper, that was an accurate statement.

His budget analysis revealed he was basically in the hole $5 at the end of every month, assuming  everything went as planned. And recently it hadn’t.

After taking his car to a local non-profit for a discounted oil change, his car ran out of oil and the engine seized.

Now he’s without transportation.

He borrows a car when he can, then depends on friends, family and the occasional taxi to get to doctors appointments, shopping and so on.

No one’s sure where to place the blame for the oil leak.

He points to the non-profit.

The non-profit claims he signed a waiver.

It’s complicated.

Life is complicated.

The assessor asked why he was at the center today.

He needed help with his electricity payment. He was behind a couple of months and the company was threatening to discontinue service.

Like most assistance centers, they have a budget for these types of needs but it is limited so they have to manage it wisely.

“We try to only help in emergencies not provide maintenance,” the assessor explained, “If a person shows up repeatedly with the same need, then we try to help them identify a more lasting solution to the problem, like using food stamps to free up some food money to pay the light bill.”

At the end of the session, the assessor committed the center to pay the majority of the shortfall if the man can came up with a portion.

The man agreed to pay $50, about 30%.

After some more paperwork, the man was on his way.

He still didn’t know how he’d get his car fixed but at least he’d have electricity another month.

It’s never enough.

As I drove home that afternoon, I kept thinking about those words.

They said more than that his budget didn’t add up.

They were the words of a man who had lost hope… or was on his way there.

I shuddered.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “If you lose hope, somehow you lose the vitality that keeps life moving,
you lose that courage to be, that quality that helps you go on in spite
of it all.”

We all need to hope for something.  Hope keeps us alive, it sustains us.

The Reverend Robert Schuller said, “Let your hopes, not your hurts, shape your future.”

Have you, or someone you know, lost hope?

How to restore hope now

Nine ways to new hope:

  • Smile – Put a smile on your face, your feelings will follow.
  • Be thankful – We all have things to be thankful for and they frequently outnumber our problems
  • Take responsibilityIf you got yourself in this position, own up. Don’t blame.
  • Forgive – If someone hurt you forgive them, if you’ve hurt someone else forgive yourself.
  • See and be seen, hear and be heard – We all want to know that we are seen and heard. We don’t always need an answer but we need to know someone cares. Do you just need to vent?  Can someone vent to you? Listen honestly and attentively. Attention is priceless.
  • Focus on today and now  – The future can seem overwhelming. Focus on getting through today. Tomorrow has enough worries of its own.
  • Help someone elseResearch indicates that giving makes people happier and more optimistic. As we focus on the needs of others it brings our problems into perspective.
  • Laugh  - Studies indicate that humor is another way to increase hope and reduce stress. A funny movie may be just the remedy you need for a feeling of hopelessness.
  • Never Quit – Don’t even allow yourself to think about quitting!

To be able to give hope, you must have hope. So get your hopes up and expect great things to happen in your life today!

Lord save us all from a hope tree that has lost the faculty of putting out blossoms.
- Mark Twain

What are some other ways that you have used to help restore your hope or that of someone else?

Add your thoughts to the comments area.
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Image: Microsoft Photos / iStockphoto

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– who has written 90 posts on Robert Rizzo.

Robert is the founder of RobertRizzo.com | Mediocrity-Free Living. He is passionate about helping people discover the rewards of daily giving.

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