Column: The benefits of hope

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Commentary by Lorene Burkhart

When you hear the word expectations, what pops into your mind? It may depend on whether you are a glass half-full or a glass half-empty personality.

In a recent article that I read, the author explored the expect-the-best attitude. She explained that if we go into a meeting or social situation expecting a good, positive result, it’s more likely that we will achieve it. She adds that research shows that the human mind tends to search for evidence to support whatever it already believes. I love that idea!

Anyone who knows me would agree that I’m a very positive person. It’s not that I always expect everything to go my way, but I do expect to gain a positive outcome, even if it’s just a surprising learning experience.

It seems to me that the word hope should be a part of this discussion, too. Living in a retirement community provides an opportunity to observe how hope works when hopelessness could be a dominant feeling. I’m thinking of a resident who is an inspiration to everyone he encounters as he faces his final days on this earth. He has no family but has handled all of his dying details with a calmness that is reassuring to everyone around him. He expects peacefulness as he declines, because he has provided for it.

That’s the message, folks. When we do our part for positive expectations, we’ll probably enjoy the rewards. Sometimes our search has been right in front of us. We just need to reassure ourselves that it’s there.

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