October 15, 2008

Hope vs. Fear

Maybe it is reasonable to have a little FEAR. If you are in danger of losing your job, your health care insurance, your house, your lifestyle....then fear may be an appropriate response.

On the other hand, FEAR can become overwhelming, distorted and lead to dangerous actions. We saw the hatred and bigotry that came after 9/11 when FEAR was used by some to move their own agendas forward.

HOPE, on the other hand, is necessary to keep us moving forward. The main factor associated with deep depression and suicide is hopelessness, the strong belief that things will not get better, so why bother, why not just end things now.

Both HOPE and FEAR are natural human emotions. They have evolved to help us maintain a balanced existence. They can both be abused. FEAR is adaptive if it helps you to confront a danger that needs to be addressed, but it can also lead to rash decisions and behaviors.

Blind HOPE can lead us down the wrong path if we don't stop to ask the difficult questions and follow through with real plans and actions. HOPE can be passive. We cannot make things happen by simply "HOPING" they will.

So, when confronted with critical life issues, we should ask ourselves: On what basis am I making this decision ? Is it out of an irrational sense of FEAR, a blind sense of HOPE, or a reasoned thoughtful analysis of what is best?

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