An anchor tattoo symbolic of Faith, Hope and Love. Three years ago today, I got this tattoo. I wanted a daily reminder that I could handle whatever life threw at me. To say I was going through a tough time would be an understatement. I felt as though I had hit a point in my life where I was at rock bottom, but I refused to sink. I wanted an anchor with a heart at the top to represent Faith, Hope and Love. The anchor symbolizes hope and steadfastness in the face of adversity. The cross embedded within the anchor represents faith and the heart is obviously symbolic of love.
Our lives can change dramatically in a blink of an eye. Things can add up over time or life altering events can happen all at once, without any notice. Whether it's the sudden death a loved one, being laid-off from your job, hearing your doctor tell you that you have cancer, or having an injury that reduces your quality of life. These are a few examples of life-changing events and none of us are immune to being on the receiving end.
Believe it or not, difficult times are often blessings in disguise. No matter how hard things can be, hold your head high and keep going. Learn from your past but don't be a prisoner to it. Learn to let go and always keep your eyes looking forward. There is light at the end of the tunnel. If you're struggling to see the rainbow through the storm, I've added somethings I have done when I felt there was no end in sight. Just remember you're not alone and this too shall pass. One day you'll look back and understand why you went through whatever it is that you're personally dealing with. Faith, hope and love, however, are the three things that will last forever.
Express your feelings
During a setback or loss, it can be healing to express your feelings to a loved one or write them down in a journal. This helps release the negative emotions that are causing you to feel less hopeful. When you feel negative emotions arise, try not to judge them. Rather, shift your attention to the future. Can you plan a trip? Indulge in a creative hobby? Although it may not be easy to do this right away, each time you think about what’s possible, you’ll feel a rise in hope.
Look for hope in unexpected places
Did you ever catch a glimmer of hope from somewhere unexpected? A few weeks ago I was watching my son play baseball and a cloud that resembled angel wings rose from another cloud. It was a tough day for me and seeing that in the evening gave me hope that I will find meaning in the challenges I’m facing. Take a good look around you. Hope is in our playgrounds, at our coffee shops, in the books we read, in our friend’s voice and our mother’s caring words.
Do you see the “glass half full” instead of “half empty”? Do you make lemonade out of the lemons life throws you? Then you’re an optimistic person. If you are, you’ll enjoy a higher quality of life and better physical and mental health. It doesn’t mean you aren’t faced with challenges or heartache, you just are able navigate through them.
As cliché as practicing gratitude may sound, it can make you more hopeful. Thinking about all that you are grateful for puts things in a new and happier perspective, which naturally makes you more hopeful. Challenge yourself to a 30 gratitude challenge. First thing in the morning, write down three to five things you are grateful for each day. This in itself cultivates optimism.
Look at the possibilities in your life, not the limitations
When you feel a loss of hope, visualizing a better future can give you the will to find ways to make it so. This outcome must inspire and energize you to go after it no matter what obstacles come up. For example, a compelling vision might be to live somewhere else more desirable to you, write a book or start a business. Thinking about your vision inspires hope.
Have you ever seen a sunrise and felt a rise of hope? Nature has a way of doing this for us. We see that no matter what the sun and moon appear, birds sing, grass grows and the seasons change. We can also rely on a new day bringing us a fresh start, a chance to make a change, get it right and say what needs to be said. What better way to practice hope, than to marvel at nature’s beauty every day.
Do a random act of kindness
Kindness gives hope to others and it doesn’t cost you a dime to be kind. You feel good and so does the person receiving your kind gesture. Any act of kindness will give a rise in hope for the receiver and the giver because it re-instills our faith in the goodness of one another.
Take some time for self-care
Loving ourselves can be a challenge any time but especially during hard times. A job loss can shake our confidence. We can blame ourselves for a mistake we made that caused something unfortunate to happen. This is when we most need to take time for self care. Some ways to do this are to notice your negative self-talk and work to change it, believe in yourself and your capabilities, engage in self-care by meditating, exercising, getting adequate sleep and eating better. Finally, visualize the life you want and commit to making it happen, which surely will increase your hope.
Having faith is an inner knowing that things will work out without any evidence that it’s true. Faith is knowing in our hearts, after staking claim to something, that if we keep focusing on the end result, consistently taking action to make it happen, then our hope will rise.
By making a choice to hope, you put yourself in control of how you react to your circumstances and how you’ll handle what ever comes next. Although it’s not so easy when going through challenging circumstances, hold onto faith when you cannot see the big picture and draw upon hope to see things in a new way.