4 Tools for Finding Hope When Life is Hard

Finding HOPE in Hard Times

On nearly a daily basis, I find myself thinking, “Life is hard for everyone.” As an empath who is deeply connected to what is happening in the collective, I have an acute awareness that we have ALL been living in a pressure cooker for the past 4 years.

The ravages of war, the financial pressures of everything costing too damn much, the reality that we are devastating our environment — all teamed with the fact that our political leaders don’t seem to care about solving any of it. It is enough to send anyone into a helpless state of panic and despair.

Those are the places that used to be my norm. So, I am a bit surprised, and quite relieved, that I rarely hit those depths anymore. Sure, I feel scared and frustrated. But I have learned to accept those feelings and let them go before they spiral out of control.

What’s my secret? Hope*!

Throughout the most challenging periods in my life, I have always had hope that things can and will get better. The power and intent I have put into that belief have raised my vibrations, improved my health, and attracted more loving connections.

I hope 😉 that the following tips will offer you the same ability to shift your perspective and feel better about your future. 🎥And, you can find a video on Tools for Finding Hope here

1 – Maintain Perspective

Realizing that everyone suffers – EVERYONE – is a transformative shift in awareness. It is empathy at its finest. Even those who look like they have it all together, and oftentimes especially those who look like they have it all together, still experience the pain of loss, illness, fear, or loneliness. Challenges are one of the constants of life.

Over a decade ago, when I was experiencing a perfect storm of multiple deaths, narcissistic abuse, panic attacks, and chronic fatigue, a friend shared an email that really gave me clarity. The email told a parable of how villagers had assembled in their town square, and one by one, each person shared pieces of paper on which they had detailed their personal struggles. After reading the challenges of others, each person willingly grabbed back their own problems. At the time, I could see that, as difficult as my experiences were, I was capable of handling them.

We are all uniquely qualified to handle our challenges. Furthermore, we often have no idea what others are going through. Everything in life exists on a spectrum. Recognizing that life can be worse can be as comforting as realizing that it can be better. It is all a matter of perspective.

2 – Try a Daily Gratitude Practice

In terms of perspective, it is far healthier and more empowering to live with an energy of gratitude. It is fuel for hope.

I have talked about gratitude many times on this blog. [Here is an oldie, but goody: “10 Guaranteed Sources of Gratitude.” My latest focus was on the dangers of gratitude. But, please don’t let that dissuade you from using this powerful tool!

There are many ways to harness the power of gratitude, including keeping a gratitude folder or a gratitude display representing all the things, people, and places you are grateful for. The blog “Easy Gratitude Tools” provides straightforward, practical advice on how to begin.

One of the simplest gratitude tools is to think about three things you are grateful for right now. You can turn to this at any time. I have also been writing in a daily gratitude journal, where I share all the things big and small that I am grateful for in my life. I can’t believe how powerful it has been in shifting my energy towards true contentment, while also supporting my hope for the future.

3 – Remind Yourself of Past Successes

Unfortunately, our brains tend to recall all the criticisms and perceived failures we’ve encountered, rather than our positive achievements. In some ways, this is meant to protect us by keeping us focused on improving. However, it often leaves us disheartened and feeling less than we really are.

It is incredibly important to periodically remind yourself of everything you have accomplished. And yes, I mean everything! We tend to get fixated on big accomplishments like graduating college or landing your dream job. But, as someone who has achieved those major milestones, I can tell you they are not the things I am most proud of.

We can define success according to your own metrics. It is often the littlest of things that make for a successful life. Reflecting on your personal accomplishments helps you find hope for the future. You have succeeded MANY times before, and you will continue to do it over and over again.

Some questions to ponder:

  • What achievements are you the most proud of? Think back to childhood and work your way forward.
  • Did you overcome hardship(s) that you never thought you would?
  • Do you have long-term, meaningful relationships?
  • What have you created – art, writing, photography, woodwork, delicious meals? Every act of creation brightens the world in some way.
  • Do you try your hardest? [SPOILER Alert – that’s what it’s all about (not the hokey pokey as we’ve been told!)😂]

4 – Look to the Helpers

Mister Rogers famously told us to “look for the helpers.” There are always people around us who are willing to offer support and guidance. I have a small crew of helpers, led by my unconditionally adorable cats, who are always able to lift my spirit.

*It bears noting that my mom’s name is “Hope.” So, my love for that word and the concept in general truly has a dual meaning. I am fortunate to have a mother who is one of my “helpers.” She always reminds me of how capable and strong I am. Everyone needs that kind of support in their lives.  

If you don’t have a team of people supporting you, set your intention on calling in your tribe. Stating out loud to the Universe that you desire more loving, like-minded souls has the power to draw such people in. I have done so in the past, and, while it didn’t happen quickly, it did happen. Have faith that your people are out there, waiting for your call.

If you aren’t able to quickly align with supportive friends in real life, seek the wisdom and support of those who resonate in the online world. Your online tribe will likely differ from mine, but here are just a few suggestions of people who share their compassion and wisdom freely:

An Important Note About Victimhood

In this discussion of the collective trauma we’ve all faced, I want to warn anyone who falls into the trap of, “Yes, but, no one is struggling like I am.” This belief traps us in victimhood. It makes us feel separate and more important than others. This can be a normal instinct when life is especially challenging, but it is an inherently narcissistic perspective.

While it may seem like your struggle is much worse than everyone else’s, that is unlikely. We can never know the full nature of someone’s life. Additionally, there is no value in trying to compare our miseries. We all have crappy stuff happen to us.

In my opinion, it is much better to accept that, “Life is hard for everyone.” It reminds us of our commonality as humans, a much-needed reminder that is more likely to foster compassion and connection than cruelty and competition.

As always, I hope this information helped you! Please share in the comments below any insights or tools that you have used to find more hope in your life.

Michelle Gibeault Traub is a health writer, compassionate coach, and the author of Free From Narcissists and Online Dating for Sensitive Women. Her mission is to help women be their best in body, mind & spirit. Sign up for Michelle’s FREE Gifts The Natural Healing Toolkit and 33 Ways to Add More Joy to Your Life.

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