Why Do We Hope?
Our Reasons for Hope
Why Do We Hope?
All of us hope for many things during our lives.
Sometimes we hope for good things for ourselves: good health, loving relationships, a good job, a livable home in a safe neighborhood or community.
Sometimes we hope for good things for others: our families, our friends, our neighbors, our community, our country, and our world.
Sometimes we wish for big things like world peace, the end to discrimination against any and all human beings, the end to poverty for so many people in our world, etc., etc. The list can go on and on.
Sometimes we hope for more frivolous and fun things. (As a Chicago baseball fan, I hoped for the Cubs to win the World Series once in my lifetime. After a gap of 108 years, they finally won it all in 2016).
Sometimes we wish for smaller things like a beautiful day, a good meal, a car that starts in the morning when we need to get to work. Again, the list can go on and on.
We Hope Because We Love.
I think we hope for a number of reasons.
But I think one of the most important reasons for why we hope is that we hope because we love.
And when I think about love, I think of love very broadly.
Part of the reason I think very broadly about the idea of love is what I learned many years ago from the Greek philosophers. Those ancient Greeks were really good at breaking down complex ideas into separate and understandable elements so that we can see the whole of something more clearly and completely by looking at the different and specific ways we experience and practice love. The ancient Greeks described 6 types of love as set forth below:
6 TYPES OF LOVE
Romantic – Erotic/Physical
Friendship – Individual, Groups, Teams
Playful – Social/Fun, Playing Games, Bar Banter
Long Term – Deep Mutual Understanding & Support
Selfless – Charity for the benefit of others
Self – Caring for self and spreading love outward
In our western culture, romantic love is usually the type of love which gets the most attention. Certainly, romantic/physical/erotic love is a big part of most of our lives. We seek it. We hope for it. And If we find it, we consider ourselves to be fortunate. We try to keep the love alive and growing.
Friendship is something most of us have the opportunity to enjoy. We want and hope to have individual friends. We want and hope to be friendly with groups of people. And I really enjoy the love and friendship which occurs with teams.
Guys generally don’t talk about loving other men.
But one of the things I have noticed continually over the years is that teams of guys who win the Super Bowl, the World Series, or any other team sport championship is how frequently the guys openly and happily talk about how they love one another. They always say that one of the big reasons they won the championship is because they love one another.
And that love for each other and for the group as a whole is because they know that without the best efforts, individual talents and skills, and mutually supportive contributions by and for each other, they would not have the success which they have enjoyed.
Playful love is just having a good time, enjoying the company of other human beings. This type of love is not as deep as some of the other aspects of love. But it points out that sharing good times and good humor is an important part of our lives. The words sharing and mutual are essential elements of many types of the six loves which the Greek philosophers emphasize.
Long term, deep, mutual understanding and support is another aspect of love. Such love is something we seek because with that aspect of love, we enjoy the freedom to share our deepest thoughts, hopes, dreams, and fears. Sometimes we find that with our mate. And we can often find that with friends and family with whom we have long and loving relationships over the years. Sometimes those relationships started within our immediate family, at school, at work, with a neighbor, within a volunteer or community group of which we are a part.
Selfless love is generally understood from the perspective of charity for others. We all are familiar with this aspect of love. As individuals and/or part of groups, most of us are motivated and able to help others who need help. We receive appeals from these groups on a regular basis. We most frequently think of charity for others from a financial perspective. However, we can give of our time as a selfless, charitable gift to others. That gift of time can take many forms. Again, we can do it through a group to which we belong such as meals on wheels, senior companion programs, being a mentor, and/or just being an open and understanding ear for people in need. Finally, we can just offer a smile and a kind word to someone who is struggling.
Finally, self-love, caring for ourselves, is an important aspect of love. We need to do what is best for ourselves from many perspectives of who and what we are as a human being. We need to keep ourselves as healthy as possible physically and mentally. We are born to know and love. We need to grow our minds and our hearts on a regular basis in order to develop into a flourishing human being who is in harmony with the realities of the world. The more we are able to do that, the more we can engage in the other aspects of love listed above.
My perspective discussed above is why I hope for many things. But I don’t have all the answers. Nobody does.
My questions to you are:
Why do you hope?
What moves you to hope for something for yourself, for others, for the world as a whole?