Therapists are relentless hope merchants.
We are so because we very much believe in the human capacity to heal and change.
Hope has traditionally been defined as “a feeling or expectation for a certain thing to happen”. Through this lense, hope is a set up, especially when it comes to relationships because it has a future oriented slant dependent upon external factors. Renown couples therapist, Toni Herbine Blank writes about this phenomenological see saw of hope and hopelessness that couples have for each other in her book Intimacy from the Inside Out. Feeling hopeful and up when they believe the other will “ do this” drops to a sense hopeless and helpless when the other doesn’t.
What if, hope had a present oriented slant? The Greek myth of Pandora which gave birth to the concept of hope unintentionally does. In the myth, Pandora, who was the first female human created out of clay, brought a chest filled with gifts for the human race. It was a trojan horse however, as the gifts inside the chest: sickness, old age, wickedness, immorality and other vices were a revenge package from Zeus. Angry at being tricked by the Titan Prometheus who stole fire from Mount Olympus and gave it to humans so they could cook their food, Zeus placed these maladies in the chest. When Pandora, who didn’t know what was in the chest opened it, they flew out of it giving humankind the eternal experience of suffering. Once Pandora realized what was happening, she closed the chest. It only thing left in it though, which was hope.
Take a moment to think of something you may want or be struggling with in your life. Now ask yourself the question “What if, I had an inner resource inside of me that will keep me calm, curious and compassionate no matter what happens ?” While that may seem impossible, it’s not. What if hope, was an energetic state such as the relaxation response, or the Taoist concept of “flow” that always resided in the treasure chest of the human heart? When connected to that, we can create space and possibility for what can be - which may be the very thing you want.
The creative possibility starts by looking inside yourself first.