Hope is not an emotion; it’s a way of thinking or a cognitive process."
With her recent Netflix special and interview with Marc Maron on his WTF Podcast, I’ve been in a Brene Brown wormhole again.
And something new stuck out to me in her discussion with regard to hope. Hope often feels flimsy and Pollyanna-ish. Hope is sometimes characterized as a weak emotion -especially in our calcified world full of bitter cynicism. We are trying not to hope because it hurts too much when things don’t work out the way we’d like.
But hope is exactly what we need right now, because it will allow for the change we seek. Despair, the opposite of hope, will only get us one thing, more despair.
So, Brown says “no” to Hope as an emotion and “yes” to Hope as a cognitive process. Hope requires plans, goals, steps, and indeed failures. But hope insists that there is opportunity for alternatives. There is opportunity for progression.
I would like to articulate that Creativity is also part of this practice of hope. Creativity allows for envisioning the alternatives and problem solving for them.
What is the outcome we desire?
Let’s hope for that! Let’s have room in our hearts for what we desire, then envision it, and work for it.
Now what steps will get us closer to our desire?
As someone raised by Dominican Nuns, I have long been reminded of the importance of hope.
The Dominican motto is Spes Unica, only hope. Hope was also the only thing left in Pandora’s box after all the evil was released.
Let’s be more hopeful and progressive in our personal and collective lives, and let’s use our creativity to dream the world that we want to live in and creativity in solving to get there. It’s our only hope for change!
Anna Lentz, artist, writer, and creativity coach who blogs about making a creative life connected with nature at Spring Bird.