Do you subscribe to the “waiting for the other shoe to drop” perspective of life? In other words, do you consciously or subconsciously avoid getting your hopes up just in case things don’t work out? As a parent, are you trying to protect your children from the disappointments they may suffer in life by tamping down their hopes?
If you see yourself in this picture, it may be time to change your attitude. Why? Because first and foremost, you can’t prevent disappointment. Life is filled with disappointment of the small variety, such as not getting into the movie you wanted to see or missing out on a party due to an obligation. And it sometimes hits you over the head with disappointments of the bigger variety, like losing a job or not getting a date for an important social occasion. The point is that disappointment happens.
Second, the key to recovering from a disappointment rests in your overall attitude. The reality is that lowering your hope in case it occurs doesn’t work. When you are disappointed, it’s going to hurt, period. The trick is in how you deal with the disappointment when it does occur. If you are a hopeful person, you are more likely to recover quickly, knowing that a different outcome may be right around the corner. If you are overly protective, defensive or pessimistic, you are likely to spiral downward for a longer period of time, telling yourself, “See, nothing ever works out for me.” In the end, hope triumphs.
As a parent, listen to the words of columnist and blogger Carolyn Hax (Philadelphia Inquirer 2/24/12):
“Getting rejected is going to hurt no matter what, but when Mom feels compelled to notify you that you’re probably going to get rejected, that’s an additional kick to the confidence. Instead of telling kids what they probably won’t do, teach them what they can do: practice hard, study hard, rehearse daily, treat loved ones well, pursue happiness. Even better, notice and praise their hard work and its (guaranteed) rewards. And be the safe place they can land when the coaches/teachers/employers/directors/sweethearts of the world stick a pin in their hopes.”
So, in answer to the question “To hope or not to hope?” go for the hope!!!