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For the first time in my life I could truly explain, through your words the way in which I experience life and myself. Brenda… It all fell into place. I had found myself and had such a moment of clarity. It felt like such a big weight was lifted off of my shoulders. Finally I felt like it was ok to be me. I was not the only one. I had found people and a little space where I fit in. … I was at work and crying on the inside. Emotions ran wild inside me. I was ecstatic, sad, confused, motivated, i…
Niko
Because of your blog, I know that it is possible for me to have the love that I want one day and that I don’t have to be alone.  — Indepthwoman  on space2live
Indepthwoman
This is me. This is me from the day I was born. For so long I felt misunderstood and rejected, even by the people closest to me, because they could never understand my need for solitude, and I had no idea how to explain it to them. Even now that I know more about Introversion and have a more informed understanding of my hard-wired need for solitude, it’s still very difficult sometimes to help my loved ones understand this profound craving for time and space all to myself. This is one of the best…
Sharon
Brenda has truly opened up a space for introverted types on the ‘net, and her self-revelations are always inspiring. Her voice is one I always look forward to. She is one of the writers that actually played a part in my return to writing.  — S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
S.E. of Sunflower Solace Farms
your depth of understanding, and talent at sharing it amaze me. Speechless… and for your sharing of it.. Thank you… deeply. *sigh, its like coming back into my body through acceptance….. Sherrie on space2live
Sherrie
You’re so honest in your writing. It’s bold. It’s frank. It’s wonderful. I could definitely see the work you are doing here as a useful book. It could save/make a lot of relationships! — Jimmi Langemo
Jimmi Langemo

“I was struggling with my daughter (16 at the time) and our constant fighting. You said something to me that changed my life! You were speaking about your own situation and you said to me “my child could not handle my emotions”. This was a HUGE “lightbulb moment” for me and it forever changed the way I dealt with my emotions when I was around my daughter!

I am happy to say that things have never been better between my soon to be 18 year old daughter and myself! I honestly never thought we would…

Mom M
Your words are my lifeline.  I sit down to your posts and as I read I can feel my acceptance of myself and my needs grow.  Your words validate my feelings about my life, motherhood, relationships and it is something I hold onto.  And during the times when I feel like I am not able to be a mother or a wife or a sister or a friend or whatever someone needs me to be, I go back to your words and find some peace…I send your posts to my husband when I need him to understand that I love him but I need …
D.R.
I met Brenda and took the MBTI… I had a fairly good understanding of these types before the meeting but was impressed by the depth of knowledge that Brenda shared with me. She clearly has a passion for this work and a gift in imparting the information. There have been doors opened for me because of our talks… — Alan Hintermeister
Alan Hintermeister
THANK YOU….. you just summed up my swirling thoughts into something i can read with out everything else in my head meshing with it. I finally feel like i can explain what happens within without getting distracted. I’m an Introvert with ADD and it makes it so hard to explain quite what im feeling sometimes. — M.G. on space2live
M.G.

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Adding Hope to Your Life: It’s Not a Passive Venture

child peeking through hole

At the start of a brand new year, I’d like to talk about hope. It seems appropriate as the possibilities of 350+ new days lie before us. If we can muster hope, we have a greater chance of fulfilling our goals and getting through tough times. Why? Because, according to positive psychologist, Charles R. Snyder, our positive mindset gives us the will to get where we want to go and the ability to create strategies to get there. If our mind is relaxed, we have a better chance of tapping into our prefrontal cortex — the reasoning and thoughtful part of our brain — and taking action.

When there’s no hope

I’ve been around people who have lost hope. My mother exemplified hopeless behavior later in life. She often spoke hopeful words to my sister and me. She told me to “Take it one day at a time” or “Brighter days are ahead”. In her own life, she gave up hope and settled for unhappiness.

She had experienced enough disappointment and hurt in her adult life to make her skeptical of hope. Sadly, she relied completely on external circumstances and people to give her hope and happiness. I have a feeling internal optimism eventually felt useless to her. Life had burned her too many times.

If you weren’t raised to be hopeful…

My mom had not been taught how to endure frustration. As a child, she had been given lots of positive surface attention and material goods (read: she was spoiled), but had not really been taught how to struggle and survive. Her parents did not show her how to deal with disappointment. They did not teach her hope. They gave her food (my grandmother was an ace baker) and expensive clothing to keep her happy. Her parents were busy in the community and with her three significantly older siblings. She was given material things but not really taught how to delay gratification or rely on herself.

As an adult, if she didn’t make progress on her goals quickly, she gave up and assumed she couldn’t achieve them. For example, she spent decades of her adult life severely overweight. She did not have the hope or tenacity to change her lifestyle and lose weight. She tried Weight Watchers and a walking regiment for two or three months, but when she didn’t see quick results, she gave up. She lowered her expectations of herself and lost hope.

My mom used food and unhealthy relationships to fill up the emptiness where hope and true fulfillment might have been.

Internal hope

According to Julie Simon in her book, When Food Is Comfort, we have to suspend our pessimistic voice of reality and think about an issue as if we have hope. We need to try on a child-like mindset where anything is possible. Yes, we have to fake it until we make it.

She suggests using a mixture of I and We optimistic statements when we speak to ourselves to comfort our old worrying/doubting selves. Here are a few of her suggested statements:

I know you’re going to be okay.

You’re doing everything you can. It will all work out.

You have lots of resources at your disposal.

We’re going to get through this together.

Brighter days are ahead.

Let’s keep up the faith.

These are statements meant to affect our internal feeling self. How do we feel when we use hopeful language? Usually, lighter and uplifted.

Action feeds hope

I’ve found that taking action also breeds hope. In How Hopeful Are You? The Keys to Getting Unstuck, I wrote about taking steps to find opportunities and surrounding ourselves with hopeful/growth oriented people. Both lead to optimism and relief.

I believe actions dissolve the fear and resignation we resort to if left to our old patterns and wounds. Small actions such as looking at a new job site when we’ve been unemployed for a while, give us that breath of hope that sustains us.

Dr. Judith Orloff, author of Emotional Freedom, says hope reduces stress too. It relaxes our gut, blood vessels and bronchioles.

Basically, I’ve determined that hope is not a passive state. It is active. We have to speak hopefully to our internal selves and take actions externally that give our lives space for hope to enter.

How do you inspire hope in yourself? What gives you hope? Were you raised with a hopeful mindset? 

Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash

Photo by Dmitry Ratushny on Unsplash

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2 Comments

  1. Michael Buley January 5, 2019 at 11:32 am - Reply

    Well, Brenda, I posted a somewhat long note … click ‘post comment’ .. and poof! Gone! I will try to re-construct! Happy New Year! Let’s have lots of laughter and do great stuff this year — having fun and joy every step of the way! Maybe not possible to have it EVERY step … but let’s aspire to that!

    • Brenda Knowles January 7, 2019 at 2:35 pm - Reply

      Hi Michael! Happy new year! Good to see your face and name. I hate that when our long replies disappear into the ether. I’ve developed a habit of copying any long comments I leave before I hit reply or send. Gives me peace of mind.
      I’m all for laughter and great stuff! Thanks for the aspiration. I love fresh starts. This will be a big year with lots of changes for me. Wedding in the summer, new living arrangements. I hope humor and love ease the transitions. May it be a year of delight for you!

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