Hopes and Fears

“The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight” goes the famous Christmas carol. However, it’s not just at Christmas that people have hope and fear mixed together inside them and it’s how you use the former to overcome the latter which will dictate how happy and fulfilled you feel.

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Hope can be a great motivator for change, while fear will hold you back; so you also need to be able to use the strength of hope to overcome your fears. However, hopes and fears can also have negative connotations.

  • Hopes can be overly ambitious or born out of jealousy, meaning that you either will never achieve them or that you won’t appreciate them once you reached the goal.
  • Fear is a natural feeling evolved over the millennia to stop us from doing stupid or dangerous things. Fear only becomes a problem when it gets in the way of our goals or holds us back from normal behavior.

Using Hope as a Motivator

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On your path towards self actualization, you’ll find yourself contemplating your hopes and fears a lot. When you think about your hopes, you’re actually thinking about how you want your life to improve.

You might hope to have a better job, a more fulfilling marriage or a healthier lifestyle. Using these hopes can help to motivate you in these ways:

  • Goal setting – setting yourself realistic goals that culminate in the realization of your hope will allow you to make your dream a reality. You’ll need to think carefully about breaking the overall goal down into small steps that you can achieve regularly.
  • Keeping perspective – having a picture of how you want your life to eventually be will help you keep perspective during the hard times. It can be difficult to keep going when you feel that you’re not making any progress on the goals so your hopes will help buoy you back up again.
  • Visualization – visualizing your final goal through your hopes on a regular basis will keep you focus. It will also make sure that you channel your hopes to make them concrete and achievable.

Removing Fear as a Barrier

When you’re thinking about your hopes and fears, you’ll often find that the fears seem much more prominent than the motivational power of hope. This is because at the start of your journey your self esteem may be quite low, and in this situation you are much more likely to think negatively about your life and your future. To try and tackle your fears, you might try:

  • Facing fears head on – in psychological terms, it’s known as desensitization and is simply a question of putting yourself in the situation that causes you fear over and over. The idea is that your brain slowly adapts to the situation and you learn how to cope with it.
  • Getting professional help – millions of Americans go to therapy sessions each week to help them overcome their fears. A trained psychiatrist will help you find the root of your fear and will help you think about ways to remove these barriers.
  • Goal setting – in the same way that setting targets can harness your hopes, you can use the same logic to overcome your fears. Break down your fears into small steps to overcome. For example, with a fear of talking to new people, you could talk to a friend of a friend first, then someone new at work and finally a stranger at a party.

On your journey to self actualization, it’s important to see both hopes and fears as positive aspects of your personality. This way, you can use them both as motivators for change for the better.

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