The other day a friend said something to me that I had never heard in quite the same way. She said, “It isn’t the despair that kills us; it’s the hope.”
I immediately took issue because hope seems so positive and necessary to survival. However..
She went on to explain. Despair is a very strong feeling but it ends once we release it. It has an ending and that ending can take time or it can happen very quickly depending on the situation. But hope— ah, that is another issue entirely. Despair is finite. Hope can be infinite. If we continue to hope that things will be different, we hang on to both hope and the despair that often accompanies it.
When we hope that the situation will change, hope that the other person will change, hope that eventually, down the road, soon . . . it will be different, we don’t release. Once we release the hope, we feel the despair and it dissipates.
I had to think on it for awhile . . . had to put it into situational perspective; but once I did, I had to agree. It is the hope that keeps us tied to the pain, the pain of not being able to change something or someone who is hurting us. Once we reach that point of letting go of hope, we feel the pain of despair for a finite amount of time and we move on.
Hope has a positive connotation but when we really think about it, once we release any situation and turn it over to a higher being, our load is lifted and we can feel peace. Particularly in hurtful or negative situations, hope can keep us in pain for way too long. Better to feel the tears and rage of despair for a short while and find peace more quickly.