The blog challenge prompt for today is: What do you do or say to help others have hope?
This is a tough question. I never know the right thing to say to people who are struggling. Our culture is full of phrases designed to help others hang onto hope. Phrases like:
- God never gives us more than we can handle.
- She's in a better place now.
- Everything will turn out as it should.
- Things always work themselves out.
- It could always be worse.
- Don't give up
- Stay strong
Phrases like these have sort of become platitudes and can feel more dismissive than helpful. In the right context, from the right mouth, at just the right time I bet these phrases can still be helpful but that's pretty rare.
Unfortunately, that leaves me right back where I started. I never know the right thing to say. What I usually end up saying is specific to the situation and person I'm speaking with. Though I don't know that it is ever terribly helpful.
So what do I do to help others have hope? Well, I sure want this blog to be something that helps others have hope. Connecting with the chronic pain community over the years has inspired me and given me hope. I sure want my journey to do the same thing for others. To that end, I have always been very open and honest on my blog.
I guess the long and the short of it is, I don't think I'm doing much to help others find hope.
Then I tried thinking about this question from a different perspective. How do others impact my hope? Then it became more clear. People who are nasty or impatient with me negatively impact my sense of hope. But every kindness, every person who really looks at me and recognizes my humanity positively impacts my ability to hope.
Now feeling hopeful takes more than nice people, it's just more complicated than that. But people can help create the right environment within my spirit for growing hope. When it comes down to it, hope is a pretty fragile and personal thing. As hopeful as I may feel today, I may feel completely overwhelmed and lost tomorrow.
Perhaps the best any of us can do to help others is to see them and be kind to them.
The Migraine and Headache Awareness Month Blog Challenge is organized by the American Headache and Migraine Association.