According to C. R. Snyder, hope is the trilogy of goals, pathways and agency.
Brene Brown says, “Hope happens when we can set goals, have the tenacity and perseverance to pursue those goals, and believe in our own abilities to act.” In other words we choose to say something, do something and be something.
Aristotle says, “To avoid criticism, say nothing, do nothing, be nothing.”
Lots of people who witness abuse choose this trilogy… Do nothing, say nothing, be invisible.
The Buddhist saying, “what we resist, persists” applies here as well. When we resist naming our hurts, when we resist new pathways out of the pain, when we resist claiming our agency… the old pains and stuckness of thought and deed will persist.
Snyder says that “hope is learned.”
If we did not learn hope in our families of origin we must teach it to ourselves as we age and mature. We must, it is not an option.
Brene Brown says, “We have to resist and unlearn old habits and the tendency to give up when things get tough.”
I know I have quoted everyone here, but they say it so much better than I ever could.
I would love to know:
What old habit or hurt do you need to unlearn in your life so you can teach yourself hope?
*Psst.. Did you know you can highlight any sentence in this post to automatically share it via Twitter or Facebook? Go ahead, give it a try!**
Often times, when I least expect it, I get flooded with those questions that I have an inability to answer and they haunt me.
More often than not, those questions have to do with my mission…to end gender violence.
Some of the niggling questions have to do with the relationships between men and women and why women continue to accept abuse and why men continue to think they have the right to abuse.
In my work, my passion for ending Gender Violence, Intimate Partner Violence and Violence against Children, I have more questions than answers.
All the questions begin with WHY?
WHY would a grown man rape a child? WHY would educated women stay in abusive relationships? WHY would a mother-in-law abuse her daughter-in-law? WHYis society still pretending that this is a problem for “others”?
The WHEN question is …
WHENis enough enough? WHEN will CEO’s investigate their managers for domestic violence before hiring them?
WHAT can YOU do?
You can begin by eradicating violence in YOUR home and community.
Here are some classes to help get you started, pass this link around to EVERYONE you know.
Just the other day on a flight home from Trinidad I watched a movie with Vince Vaughn. It was the movie about Google and his character said, “If you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them.”
I immediately began to birth this blog. I have been struggling with some of the language around Gender Violence and I have been struggling with the impatience I feel when people say things like:
It will always be like this.
That’s just the way it is.
How are we going to fix what has always been broken?
In the vernacular of Trinidad, it’s “Whah yuh go do?”
It’s pronounced as one word, “Whahyuhgodo?”
It is usually followed by a shrug and a laugh that means it’s too hard to tackle or a sucking of the teeth. (Which means the speaker is quite done with the conversation.)
I have a HUGE problem with the “whahyuhgodo” attitude!
The line in the movie, “If you fight for your limitations, you get to keep them” made me realize why.
When we give up the fight to make things better, we fight for the limits and we put limits on our dreams for humanity.
Please don’t get me wrong, I am not saying that we can fix all the ills of humanity but when is it a good time to give up?
Should we give up when we are…
What’s the best time to give up the fight for a better way to treat our fellow humans?
Gender violence does not just hurt the women and girls.
Sons see their mothers being pummeled and broken.
Sons hear their sisters and mothers cowering and crying and feel helpless.
Sons are also attacked and made to feel broken.
Often children who are witnessing the violence are told NOT to help or the mother will be worse off.
Often the mother implores the children to “go back to sleep” even as she is fighting for her life.
Children are not stupid.
They know that their house is a war zone.
They know that neighbors know their house is a war zone and they see NO one trying to help them.
Can we STOP fighting for our limitations?
Can we begin to live each day a little brighter than the last?
Can we begin to HOLD dear the possibility that limitations are a coward’s way through tough times?
I do not want to live the life of a coward.
I want to live brave and strong and hopeful and for that I need to identify my limitations. I need to keep trying to find a better way into a world that is free from Gender Violence.
We owe it to every single child, boys as well as girls.
Let them grow up in houses full of love and hope.
Let them have limitations like which new planet to inhabit, not the limitation of wondering if Mom will be “sick” today and who will help with dinner and homework.
I usually write in my gratitude journal right before bed but last night I came home late and was extremely tired. I decided to go to bed and I promised myself that I would write the entries when I woke up the next day. So here I am at the kitchen counter, the house is silent and my coffee is warm and welcoming.
I do a quick scan to remember the main things that I was grateful for from the day before and I easily access a few nice memories.
I wrote them down; happy to keep the promise I made to myself for completing my list.
Then, I pause and I scan my brain again and KAPOW!
All of the other things that I was grateful for all downloaded at once and my brain said “HELLO!”
It was a fascinating experience.
I wrote down all the items that I wanted to capture and then realized that something had shifted internally.
I woke up joyful… so that was not what had shifted.
I woke up grateful…so that was not what had shifted.
I woke up ready to exercise…so that was not what had shifted.
I sat back for a few breaths and finally realized what it was that had shifted.
I seemed to have been filled with hopeful expectation for this new day and wondered in a flash what great things were about to unfold.
Hopeful expectation for this new day!
Can any start to any new day be ANY sweeter?
I think not.
There were so many days in my past when I woke up with trepidation, angst and fear for what the new day would bring. I scoured my world for all the BAD things that would go wrong… and I would find each and every one of them. I found horrible things around every corner, just sitting for me…waiting to be discovered.
I painted my life with all the pain and the heartache I could find.
I coated myself with every single bad memory and bad experience I ever had.
I was miserable.
I could NOT enjoy the positives right before me.
I did not have the training to see the positives in my life.
It was this daily dose of dissatisfaction that finally brought me to me knees and the pain finally got large enough for me to seek help.
Help came in the form of:
1. Intense exercise that lead me to training for my triathlon.
2. Consistent meetings with an amazing therapist.
3. A decision to put the love I felt for my children at the beginning and end of every day and as bookends to everything I did for them during the day.
4. A decision to speak differently to my children. I spoke more softly and kindly. I treated them as the precious gifts they were.
5. I began to fully comprehend the short amount of time I had here on earth with the folks that I loved.
Yes, I did all these things simultaneously. I began to develop the skill of pushing the negatives out of my zoom lens of life and began to zoom in on the good that was all around me.
Now, I have the ability to scan my brain for great memories and they are immediately delivered into my conscious mind.
This is a life affirming skill.
I invite you to try it.
It is not easy but mastery will save your life.
Where should you start?
Go for a daily walk…even if it’s just for 10 minutes. Leave your cell phone at home and just walk. Notice the glory of nature along the way…even if you are in a city.
Even in a city you can hear and see birds and notice weeds popping up between the slabs of concrete.
Look for the messages that say, “You are here…and here is a good place to be.”
Please give this a try. You will be happy you did.
Love and light,
Donate to Indrani’s Light Foundation
Your donation will be used towards eradicating gender violence, training community leaders and sharing behaviour-change tools with people who are ready to leave violence behind and create a brighter, more peaceful world.