Hope for Better Days

Some of you who subscribe to my email may know that I recently changed jobs. This was a huge leap of faith for me, I didn’t know if I even had another job before giving my notice to the former. But finding opportunity when hope seems lost is a necessary endeavor to keep human spirit not just alive, but thriving.

My last job exposed me to many people who felt stuck in their lives. People who no longer felt like they had any options. Even worse when your coworkers make you feel like you’re stuck with them.

Years ago doctors discovered an interesting phenomenon. When our adrenaline increases because we feel threatened our peripheral vision shrinks aka, tunnel vision.

Finding Hope, Opportunity

So what happens next can be explained by science. The brain goes into fight or flight mode and shrinks your vision cutting out everything except the perceived threat. In a slightly irrational state of mind the person generally only sees one or two viable options. Now if we were actually in a life-threatening situation, this response is warranted. But what we are seeing more and more in today’s society is people reacting in the same fight or flight method as a response to chronic stress.

This is extra bad in the sense that the constant release of the fight or flight hormones produces cortisol that packs around our waistlines.

When We Can’t See Opportunity

Here are some common examples :

  •  The company says there might be layoffs after the first of the year and you assume you’ll be one of the first ones cut.
  •  You see a strange number on your boyfriend’s phone and assume that he’s texting or calling another girl. This leads you to say and possibly do things you’ll most certainly regret later
  •  You don’t get the job you interview for and resort to thinking you’ll be stuck in your current job forever.
  •  The creditors are calling and you are sinking further in debt. You give up on trying to buy a reliable vehicle because you can’t get approved for a loan.

Assumption Kills Hope and Options

One of the biggest problems in the above scenarios is the assumption. Assuming can get people into a real pickle. When a text message comes across your man’s phone and you assume it’s an ex or female competitor, suddenly the claws come out, the vision shrinks, and you see one option. Total annihilation. Sadly it’s generally self-annihilation.

Assumption and worry have ruined more friendships and relationships than one could count. When that tunnel vision takes over hurtful things are said, trust is broken, and the assumer generally leaves a category five storm path in their wake.

the claws come out, the vision shrinks, and you see one option. Total annihilation. Click To Tweet

So here is when things get really scary. Let’s talk about the woman who graduated college, got married, had a couple kids, the one who thought she had it all going. Then her husband up and leaves she has to change jobs in order to support her children- who she will probably never see with her stupid hours. Oh and let us not forget her mounting debt she is now in on top of her huge daycare bill.

Or the guy who is been arrested three times in the last year. What started out as a DUI the night he got divorced turned into a downward spiral that cost him his job and his relationship with his teenage daughter. Mounting fines and child support are keeping him on his buddies couch. He certainly can’t afford his own place or counseling, but he does attend the local AA. However, his buddy is always offering him another drink.

Tunnel Vision Dims Our Hope

When life starts dishing us dIrt, sometimes it feels like we take a shovel full right to the face. Then we feel like the shovels just keep coming. Suddenly her feet feel stuck, then her knees, then her waist, and on up. The only thing appearing from that pile of dirt is one little peripheral eye.

Feeling trapped and suffocated, panic sets in, and the buried see only one or two options. Usually, these aren’t good options. They resort to tunneling out using one little finger or just lying there and giving up, excepting what currently is, as their forever reality.

Related Reading: Core Confidence and Breaking the I’m Not Good Enough Lie

The excuses start to pile on. If someone has been buried under that dirt long enough, they start to not even recognize their options. Someone will come along with a good suggestion and they’ll give you a million reasons why they can’t change their circumstances or get out of their current problem.

Hope and Opportunity are Still Present

The thing is, the best response when you feel threatened is to take a step back breathe in and ask yourself what are my options? Hope and Opportunity are still present, we’re just temporarily blinded to them. People are notoriously good at assuming, jumping to conclusions, and playing out every horrible scenario in their heads. They’re also good at flying off the handle and saying things they can’t take it back in the heat of the moment. This doesn’t play out well with people we love or our bosses and coworkers.

Hope and Opportunity are still present, we're just temporarily blinded to them. Click To Tweet

Of course, there are those who don’t fly off the handle and instead, bottle it all up in their passive-aggressive fashion until everything explodes.

What if instead, our response was to recognize our tunnel vision, take a step back and adjust our focus. Often we need to adjust our view.

The “trapped in a corner with no options” viewpoint comes from a place of fear and lack of confidence in oneself.

So aim for better, not perfect. Hope and Opportunity are available to us all. Click To Tweet

Finding Hope

One of the best tips is to pretend like you are talking to your best friend.

  • When life is throwing shade your way, pretend it is happening to your bestie and not you. What advice would you then give them?
  • Meditate or Pray. When life is sucking us dry it’s usually time to sit down for some quiet reflection and perspective. Try to do this uninterrupted if you can. It’s okay to cry, laugh, or be angry, but generally, I have found that I always feel better after either. And I have more perspective.
  • Spend time with someone supportive. Don’t ask for advice if you aren’t willing to take action on it. But just being around someone who believes in and supports you should give you some hope.
  • Volunteer. Something about helping others is so therapeutic. We are exposed to people who are usually in far worse situations than our own and suddenly the light in our tunnel doesn’t seem so dim after all.
  • Journal your thoughts and feelings. If you keep track of this for even one month it should tell you a great deal. If the first day and the 30th day are similar, you aren’t doing enough to make a change in your attitude or circumstances. You should see small improvements if you are actually trying.
  • Force yourself to meet new people. Take a class, join a gym, change jobs if need be. But the catch is you have to actually converse and interact with these new peeps. Meeting new people tends to give us more options and opportunities in life. I’m not saying ditch your old friends but if you are in a funk, finding some new ones cannot hurt. And it doesn’t have to result in lifelong friendships. New acquaintances are nice too.

Life is Meant to Ebb and Flow

Something to keep in mind. Even if you master positivity and optimism, life has ebbs and flows. It’s the natural order of things. Those who are super upbeat have generally figured out how to surf the high tides much longer and spend a little less time getting barrel-rolled.

So aim for better, not perfect. Hope and Opportunity are available to us all.


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