Hope is not just a desire, it can change your life – The Happiness Connection
Inspirational speaker Mike Shaw was the keynote speaker at the inaugural Compassionate Friends fundraiser at Wings Vernon recently.
In the blink of an eye, life can change. I was reminded of this fact when I attended a fundraising gala on Tuesday.
When a skiing accident left Mike Shaw paralyzed from the neck down, he didn’t accept his doctors’ prognosis. Rather than agree with their verdict that he would never have the use of his limbs again, he chose to believe in the possibility of healing and recovery.
His story was even more amazing as I watched him move gracefully across the stage. There was absolutely nothing in his movements that indicated the struggle he had been through.
I’m not saying that everyone who suffers a life-altering accident can recover so completely, but it does happen. Shaw isn’t the only person I know who has successfully learned to walk again. I have a close friend who has done it twice in her adult life.
You may never have suffered a catastrophic accident, but that does not mean that you have never been injured or that you have never needed treatment. Sometimes mental or emotional disasters can be just as devastating.
Shaw’s experiment reminded us how powerful the brain is and how little we understand about its complexity. It is not only the source of amazing ideas, great literature, art and music, it is also responsible for violence, racism, war and drug addiction.
I don’t know why it is possible for some people to recover and not others. But those who overcome incredible odds seem to share a strong sense of hope and conviction.
Shaw remained open to the possibility of proving his doctors wrong. That thought gave him hope.
Hope is not just wishing for something. It brings with it a sense of belief. In turn, belief makes you more likely to look for ways to navigate your way through adversity to achieve your desired goal.
As with happiness, research shows that hope brings a multitude of benefits. Hope has been linked to improved physical and emotional health. This encourages people to adopt new behaviors. When you believe in the possibility of good things to come, it motivates you to develop new habits to support that better future.
Hope will not erase your past. If you break your neck, you may not fully recover the use of your limbs, but that doesn’t mean you can’t create a satisfying and meaningful life.
As long as a person has hope, they can recover from just about anything. He stands up for the survivors in the darkest times. It keeps you from giving up.
Human connection is important if you are looking for hope. It is often another person who stirs up the feeling in you and can support you if you feel it slipping away.
Hope is the key to survival. It allows you to persevere, achieve your dreams of a better future, and achieve what some think is impossible.
In the words of the late South African Anglican Bishop Desmond Tutu, “Hope is being able to see that there is light in spite of all the darkness.”
This article is written by or on behalf of an outsourced columnist and does not necessarily reflect the views of Castanet.