Local News Since 1890 Now Online!

Posts Tagged ‘faith’

Hope in a world of tragedy.

In Health, Holiday, Opinion, psychology, Religion, Senior Lifestyle, sociology, Uncategorized on December 30, 2016 at 10:46 am

Deer In Headlines
By Gery L. Deer

DIH LOGOHope – A small word that carries a great deal of weight. Hope inspires people, gives them purpose, direction, even courage. For some, hope is all they have to motivate them.

If you look up hope in a dictionary its synonyms include: aspiration, desire, wish, expectation, ambition, aim, goal, plan, and so on. But I’m not entirely convinced that these are accurate. In my mind, hope is not a simple thought or expectation, but one of the most powerful of all emotions.

Yes, hope is an emotion. It has no medical or biological origin. It is a complete figment of the heart, which can move the mind and body to do incredible things. Unlike other aspirational emotions, I believe that hope requires the additional element of faith.

The type of faith depends strongly on the individual. It could be faith in God or some other supernatural belief. It could be faith in one’s own character and accomplishments. For me, faith in the integrity, loyalty and support of others is what fuels my hope. If hope is to have weight, faith must be unwavering and consistent.

Action is also needed in the equation in order to move you towards your goal. You can’t just sit idly by and dream of something, you must act. You “hope” your child will be accepted to a good school. So you do things to support that hope by helping her along the way providing, music lessons, math camp, whatever supports the end goal.

Hope without action is merely a wish, void of substance or direction. A wish is fine if you’re throwing a penny into a fountain, but hope is usually focused around a mindset of action.

Sometimes, people still have hope for things over which they have no control. A great many people hoped the 2016 U.S. presidential election would have turned out differently.

Others hope the new president will do all of the things he says he will and meet their hopes for America. Either way, it’s all about your perspective – and that’s often the very nature of hope.

In hope, as in life, perspective is everything. Your hopes are dependent upon your life view. You hope for things that will improve or enhance the lives of yourself and those closest to you. Hope also requires time.

Action is rarely instantaneous, so time is required for hope to be a motivator. That’s hard sometimes, particularly if someone is in dire need. When we hope a sick family member will recover, we have to be patient while the treatments are applied.

Also, we generally “hope” for things to turn out for the best. Our anticipation may grow because of hope. Good news about a potential raise or promotion at work can build hope. It’s not often that hope is associated with something negative.

But again, hope is nothing without faith and action. If you are someone who generally sits idly by praying that God or someone else will fix your problem, I’m afraid you’re in for a big disappointment. You have to take steps towards what you want – even if it doesn’t feel you have much control over it.

With so much tragedy in the world – wars, mass shootings, and xenophobic politicians – how can you find hope? If I had the answer to questions like that, the Dalai Lama would have some competition or his job.

The fact is that we should have hope despite tragedy. Keeping our hope alive is what gives purpose to human beings in perilous circumstances. No matter how well off someone might seem to be in position, finances, love, work, whatever, we all have hopes for something.

Hope isn’t as much about answers but more about questions. What do you want out of life? Have you done anything to move towards getting those things? Are you making a plan to get there?

It’s been said that hope is the desire for something with the expectation of getting it. Well, as I’ve pointed out, I don’t believe it’s quite so simple. If it were, hope wouldn’t be such a powerful influence on human existence.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer. Deer In Headlines is distributed by GLD Enterprises Communications, Ltd. 


Are you happy, or just think so?

In Education, Opinion, psychology, sociology on January 15, 2014 at 9:22 am

DIH LOGOThey say … and I admit I’m not totally certain who “they” are in this context. But they say, happiness is just a state of mind. In fact, the same, “they” also believe all reality is just in your head; that your own thoughts create the authenticity of the world around you. Yes, I know, that’s too much heavy thought for such a short column, but it offers an interesting concept.

If everything we know as reality is determined, not by the people and things around us, but, instead, from our own thoughts then how real is it, really? OK, that’s a bit much to take in, even for me. But suffice to say emotions are created and altered by thoughts. So, are you happy? Or, do you just think you are? In the end, if “they” are correct, it doesn’t even matter.

Most people can change how they feel simply by altering their thoughts or, at least, their perception of a situation. That is, unless you suffer from some type of chemical issue in the brain that causes your feelings to spin out of control no matter what you’re thinking. And we’re not going to get into any of that because I am simply not qualified to talk about the subject.

But for most, it is entirely possible to alter your state of emotion and change how you react to outside influences just by shifting your thoughts. For example, many people get upset when a child breaks or spills something. Unless someone is done physical harm, what is there to get upset about? Have you ever heard the saying, “don’t cry over spilt milk?” It’s a bit of good advice telling you not to whine about the accident, just clean it up and move on.

GDEER-BLUE_SHIRT_FROM_ABOVEIn my opinion, sometimes it’s really hard to get that one, nagging negative thought out of your head. So, I think that altering your way of thinking is more about prioritizing than anything else. In other words, pick your battles.

If you drop a dish or your child dumps Kool-Aid all over that new white rug, does it, in the grand scheme, really matter? Assuming, of course, there is no malicious intent involved. After all, regardless of the political incorrectness of the idea, kids really are just bad sometimes. Either way, getting angry and blowing your top at yourself or the child isn’t going to put the dish back together or “unspill” the drink.

Now what if your husband decided to fire up the new grill he got for Christmas inside the garage? No, I don’t know why someone would even … never mind, just go with me here. In this situation, there is a potential danger to your family so it’s worth getting a bit more upset, but you have to control your thoughts to keep from becoming hysterical.

It will serve you better and help you remain calm if you focus on preventing a potentially devastating situation than to immediately punish your idiot husband. Take the proper steps, ensure everyone’s safety and solve the problem. That’s what I mean by changing the way you think.

Needless to say, altering lifelong behavior, good or bad, doesn’t happen overnight and it’s certainly not easy. It takes practice and diligence. Whenever something happens that throws your day into an uproar, try not to get upset. Try hard to focus on a solution to whatever’s gone wrong and look forward to the positive outcome.

I’ve often argued that people make some of the most important decisions in life based solely on emotion rather than rational thought. Even the faithful are guided almost entirely by pure emotion. Making decisions actually becomes easier, and more productive when done from a logical perspective.

Gery L. Deer is an independent columnist and business writer based in Jamestown, Ohio. More at www.gerydeer.com.