The right attitude is not always enough, but hope lives in possibilities

The importance of hope is emphasised at hard times. Read Maaret Kallio’s guest blogger entry!

I recently ended up almost on a collision course with the managing director of a successful company. We sat in the same meeting where the talk at first focused on current themes. Naturally the coronavirus pandemic and its far-reaching impacts soon found their way to our discussion.

I expressed my concern about long-lasting lay-offs and uncertainty of employment and the great worries of families within the walls of homes. Growing waiting lists for treatment, the coping of health care professionals, and later costs of mental health created shadows in my views. The situation of children also causes worry, because when the adults no longer have strength to go on, the children and young people will always have to pay the price – and they represent the future of our society.

The managing director had a very different view. Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, he had spent more time with his family than ever before. When frequent business trips no longer strained his mind and calendar, there was time to breathe alone and together. The managing director’s company operates in a line of business that has just grown busier due to the coronavirus pandemic and has even hired new employees. As the leisure activities paused, the daily life scheduled to the minute had quieted down and there was more time for the family, himself and weighing the values of life than ever before.

“This will have so many positive consequences”, the managing director said, presenting a completely different view. I took a breath and sighed deeply in my mind: that is also true.

Hope shows itself in very different ways in different situations

We are living in many ways hard times that do not treat us equally as individuals or societies. From your own point of view the situation may seem much simpler than the complicated human life and world really are. While someone feels that these times are mostly difficult and destructive, for somebody else they offer above all happiness and joy. Sometimes it’s hard to keep in mind that a contradictory view is often true, too.

Sometimes overemphasis on your own point of view makes you blind to the different situations of other people and the complicated nature of things. The insecurity created in uncertainty invites you to make simple conclusions. If you have ended up in a positive place among great tumult, it may be difficult to remember that part of it is due to chance. On the other hand, in particularly hard circumstances, it’s sometimes difficult to remember that even difficulties always involve a possibility to change the situation. Hope and despair have many faces, but they share the possibility to make a change and the consent to adapt to the present situation.

Sometimes you hear people say that ultimately, it’s all about the attitude. Once you fix your attitude, things will get rolling. The claim should, however, be examined more broadly. The human mind, coping and smooth flow of life are in many ways also based on pure chance, unequally advised in childhood and guided in early stages – but of course also work, persistence and the right attitude. Our starting places and the cards dealt during our life are certainly not determined based on merit.

Hope nevertheless touches all of us

When the situation is particularly difficult, you must focus your vision more precisely. At difficult moments and in difficult situations the key question to ask is: what can I change right now? What can I do at this moment to make me feel stronger? What is the step I can take towards relief at once? From whom can I get help? Hope lives in possibilities that are not barred even in despair. It lives in the thought that at some point these hard times will be just a memory.

Hope also lives actively in good moments.

When you are securely rooted in happiness, it obliges us to share our strength with others and for the common good. When things are looking good for you, you need to remember to ask: what can I do now to strengthen the hope of others? Who could I help? How could I place these good moments deep in my heart in case of hard times? How can I spread hope to others?

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