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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…
Your site has saved my sanity and my life. Maybe even my marriage. I work part time and have two young boys at home, my husband is supportive of me but until recently I thought I was going crazy. … Reading your writing not only inspires me to pick up the pen again, but gives me nourishment in the deepest places. I will fight for balance. Everything you write is spot on… And wellness is so incredibly multifaceted.  I was ready to give up hope, but understanding myself through your words is bring…
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
I think I want to print out your articles and hand them out as a sort of relationship waiver form. “You want to be my friend?….You are interesting in going out? Here read this first. Sign here to acknowledge that you have read and understand the enclosed material. Thank you.” Seriously. I think it would work. — Guerin Moorman
Guerin Moorman
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
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 …
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
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
During one of the harder times in my life I found Brenda’s website
and reached out to her. To say the least it has been one of the best
decisions I have made. Being an extrovert I never quite understood
what it meant to romantically involved with an introvert. Brenda does
an incredible job listening, giving in the moment feedback, and helped
me understand the how an introvert functions. She helped explain to me
that I am introspective extrovert, and this gave something to identify
with and allowed me t…
Evan H.
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

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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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  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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