Your Friday prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “hope.” Use it any way you’d like. Have fun!
“Gee, thanks, Linda. Great prompt.” [heavy sarcasm font alert]
I’m pretty sure I have discussed this before in the blog. I know I have discussed it elsewhere. When I first mention my stance on hope to any kind of mental health therapist, I get a lot of “oh dear” sympathetic noises, but after I make my case most of the time those same mental health professionals are like, “I never thought of it that way, and I think you’re on to something.” So, in that regard, bear with me please.
My stance on hope is not the Dickenson one of feathers and heart tunes. I’m more likely to be cheered by the likes of Marcus Aurelius and other Stoics. For you see, I’m rather anti-hope. What? How can anyone be anti-hope? What sort of emotionless bastard am I, anyway? You probably think I boil kittens for fun, too.
Hear me out.
Most of us would agree that worry is a useless emotion and activity. Worry never solved anything. Worry never added anything good to the mix. Being attached (pay close attention to that word) to worry, and potential negative outcomes, is especially damaging. All of that time worrying can be spent examinining a situation for all possibilities and making contingencies for each. It is ok to be forewarned and therefore prepared for contingencies, but worry? Nah.
Hope is the flip side of the worry coin. Hoping never solved anything. Hope doesn’t really add anything to the mix. Worse still, being attached to the hopeful outcome causes worse psychological damage than worry does. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had hopes dashed, and frankly, I’d rather be on the “got it wrong” side of worry than the “got it wrong” side of hope. I’ve met few (I honestly think I’ve met none, but I’m giving someone the benefit of the doubt here) who hope without attachment to whatever it is they are hoping for.
No, thank you. Neither worry nor hope live in the now.
Keep that hope stuff to yourselves, please. When I notice either worry or hope creep into my thinking, I tell it to back the fuck off. (Um, yes? I’m still not swearing, damnit, guess not so much today.) I’d rather be in the moment, realistic, pragmatic and prepared for various scenarious. I don’t much go for believing in magic wands, even if that makes me appear to be a heartless bastard. Honestly, if I thought you’d actually listen to me, I’d urge you to consider giving up hope, too (and worry) because I think that is ultimately the kindest. It isn’t necessarily “nice” but it is kind.