“Having hope in the face of despair, doesn’t mean we’ve extinguished fear or whatever else we’re feeling. It means that we choose to go on in the face of it; we can feel discomfort while also being in touch with other parts of ourselves and our experiences. We don’t let despair, anger, whatever it is, define our entire world.”Sharon Salzberg
Every person alive experiences hardships.
It could be the loss of a marriage, a friendship, or even a job. It could be a demotion or conflict with another person. It could be difficulty on exam or an evaluation. Hardships can be as large as traumas, and involve many people. Conversely, they can be private and unknown to others. But one thing is for certain: we don’t experience life without them.
Many of us try to live our life cautiously, trying to avoid hardships, pain, or sadness.
We may follow the rules, we may try to please others, we may do all the things our parents and the world has taught us to do. But hard things do happen.
The good news is that there are always things to be grateful for as well. It can be as simple as the clouds outside, the wag of a dog’s tail, or a lovely breeze on a warm day. They could be the smile of a baby, the chirp of a bird outside your window. They can be as large as a successful work venture or a committed relationship that brings joy. Life’s gifts are vast.
Often, some of our hardest experiences can bring some of our greatest and unexpected gifts, especially if we are open to them. But in order to recognize them, we have to actively open ourselves up to them: we have to hope.
We have to trust that the difficulties we experience will also bring us back to good things. As the quote above says, despite all the obstacles that we may face, we may the active choice to go on. Rather than letting anger, hurt, or sadness overtake us, we trust that in the moment, and all of our future moments, that we will find strength to learn, and contentment in the gifts of our life.
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