What is hope? Why we need hope? Is it a state of mind or an emotion? These are the most common questions that comes to a person mind. To define hope psychologists and theorist have did lots of researches and they have come with different definitions depend on which psychologist or theorist you follow, but based on an article from California State University Northridge what they described for the definition of hope is, “Hope usually involves some uncertainty of an outcome, typically concerns matters of importance, and usually reflects a person’s moral values. Hope is frequently considered a temporary condition that is specific to a given situation and contingent upon one’s skills or abilities” (Dunavold).The topic of hope is not just as simple to be defined in just one or two sentences, in fact today we can find books that have been written about hope and authors have defined it from their own ideology and used their own experiences or someone else from the history as an example of hope.
Hope in the Dark, by Rebecca Solnit is one of those books that has been written about hope. In the book the author is talking about hope and its importance in a person life. She uses different stories from her experiences or stories from the past that changed the world. Also she offers methods with proofs that we should never give up on ourselves and never lose hope. As it mentions in the book about the main reason for the author to write this book was, “Rebecca Solnit make a radical case for hope as a commitment to act in a world whose future remains uncertain and unknowable” (Solnit Book cover). After reading the book we can get that it has a really useful message in it for the reader about hope, but there is a slight problem in the book’s message I believe. I mean the book message contain good stuff about hope which inspire people with hope to never give up, but it also talks about the relation between hope and faith and she mentions that there is no connection between hope and faith which is the problem according to me. As she mentions in the book, “Hope can be based on the evidence, on the track record of what might be possible…..But faith endures even when there’s no way to imagine wining in the foreseeable future; faith is more mystical” (Solnit 12. 64).
I believe if someone does not have faith he or she could lose hope so easily, and becoming hopeless is a big issue between people, in fact being hopeless could cause a person having mental health and that could end up to take his or her life, in other words doing suicide. According to a survey in 2016 by World Health Organization (WHO), each year approximately a million people dies from suicide. In the report of the WHO one of the main reason of attempting suicide is hopelessness, as it mentions in the reports, “Suicide attempts can be impulsive or associated with a feeling of hopelessness or loneliness.” Also in the report it mentions that the most suicide attempters are between the ages of 15-30.
As it shows in the graphs above the first figure shows that the number of suicide in the world is higher between low- and middle-income people than high income people, and in the second figure shows that the second most cause of death between the ages of 15-30 in both sexes is suicide.
Today in the world with this rate of suicide between the young generations has caused psychologists to do researches and find different solutions to stop people even thinking about suicide. According to, Nadine Kaslow, president of American Psychological Association Two of the most common solutions that they have found more effective are using media and social media to preform assistance with people that think of suicide, and teaching members of families, teachers from schools, colleges, and universities on how to help people that has attempted suicide or thinking about it. But I believe those two solutions have problems or they are not helpful to everyone around the world. What I mean is that according to survey done by EMarketer, a market research and business intelligence portal in 2017 from 8 billion people in earth about 2.62 billion people worldwide have access to social media and over 3.5 billion people have complete access to media. So if we do the math we get that over 4 billion people in the world do not have access to media or social media which mean they cannot get assistance if they face a mental health problems. The same problem we face with teaching of teachers from schools, universities, because based on research done by Guardian in 2010 shows that every year 70 million children across the world are prevented from just going to school, which means even teaching families or teachers about how to help young generation to not get hopeless and prevent them from thinking about suicide is impossible. Since one of the main reason of attempting suicide is lake of hope or hopelessness, I believe there is two solution that could help people to not lose hope even if they fail in their goals multiple times and it could help them avoid attempting suicide.
The first and main reason that help people to gain hope is faith. By faith I mean believing in God, which according to Oxford religion has been defined as, “The belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or Gods.” Today in the world it has been estimated that there are 4200 religions, in which Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Judaism are the religions with the most followers. If we study those religions we can find that more than 95 percent of them are giving their followers a type of hope about the future. For instance if we study Islam it offers hope to its followers and mentions that those who does not have hope are disbelievers. As it mentions in the Quran, “O you who believe! be patient and excel in patience and remain steadfast, and be careful of (your duty to) Allah, that you may be successful” (3. 200). We can find the same thing in other religions like Christianity that asks for its believers to have hope for the future, as it mentions in the book of Jeremiah, “For I know the plans I have for you. declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (29. 11). What this means is that hope plays one of the most important role in most of the religions in the world. Although most of the religions are against the hopelessness, but how a person who is already hopeless about the future could gain his or her hope with faith? To answer this question I can give an example of my friend from high school in Afghanistan. After graduating high school Ahmad from my class tried twice to get in to the state university, but he failed both time and lost hope so he tried committing suicide. He was lucky that his family saved his life. When I and my other classmates went to see him we found out that he lost his hope that he could never continue his studies and can never be the person he wanted to be. What we did were that we asked him to believe in God and that not to lose his hope from God and it is a test from God. A couple months ago I contacted him and found out that now he is one of the most successful person in his family. When I asked him about his life and what changed him, his answer was, “God helped me”. From his story what I learned is that faith and hope are always together, in fact we cannot have one without the other.
After faith the second most important solution that could help a person gain hope back is having patience. As I mentioned in the above that when a person become hopeless the only way that the person gain hope for the future is faith, so in that case patience plays the key point in it. To prove what I am saying by using an example of my religion Islam that asks from its followers to have patience. For instance, Prophet Muhammad in the book, Sahih Al-Bukhari, mentions, “The example of a believer is that of a fresh green plant the leaves of which move in whatever direction the wind forces them to move and when the wind becomes still, it stand straight. Such is the similitude of the believer: He is disturbed by calamities (but is like the fresh plant he regains his normal state soon). And the example of a disbeliever is that of a pine tree (which remains) hard and straight till Allah cuts it down when He will” (70. 547). By saying the word patience it does not mean that a person should do nothing and just say that God will do it for me, in fact that is the opposite of patience. Patience means a person who want to achieve his/her goals by trying hard and never give up even it take long time to get a good result. For instance, to prove that how patience plays it role in having hope for the future let’s pretend that there is a man who currently diagnosed with cancer that could kill this person. So he goes to the oncologist and starts the treatments that are needed. When this person tries hard enough and do whatever the doctor ask him to get well is a sign that he has faith on the doctor and that means he has hope, but to get to the final result as a cancer free patience he need to have patience which is only way or else he will lose hope. Patience is not just waiting but acting to, and to be successful in our life we need patience. As Joyce Meyer an American author says, “Patience is not simply the ability to wait – it’s how we behave while we’re waiting.”
As we know Hope is something really important in our life, because its hope that make us to follow our goals and think about future, and without hope everyone will be a failure. Also from the history of mankind it has been proven that it was hope that changed the world, and has been used as one of the most dangerous weapon between the people that brought fear in the mind of biggest empires and leaders, as Joseph Stalin said, “Ideas are far more powerful than guns. We don’t let our people have guns. Why should we let them have ideas?” Because it was hope and ideas that caused revolutions and changed the world like famous French revolution in the 17 century that changed the western world and brought democracy. As it mentions in the book that to have hope you have to have a good imagination, but the problem with the book is that the author think there is not a single connection between faith and hope which I believe is completely wrong. Because I believe not having faith means not having hope and to become hopeless means death. Also it is in every religion that tells to its’ followers to have patience which means hope can only achieve by having faith in God.
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