We’ve all heard the saying, “Fake until you make it”, but it doesn’t really work that way. You can fake being happy, or optimistic, but you can’t fake hope. And without hope, you will lack the energy to engage with life and accomplish your goals. Hope is directly related to our sense of wonder and possibility. The greater our perception of possibilities, the greater our hope. Hope is truly a necessity for an optimistic life.

I read something interesting today about hope. If you have an extremely negative childhood, a childhood where you lost hope, you will be more prone to drug addiction. This is because hopelessness affects the brains ability to produce dopamine, and taking drugs will increase the dopamine levels for those whose brains do not have the ability to produce it naturally. You literally self medicate without knowing the reason why.

Hope is what we have when we have a positive relationship with our existence. It answers the question, why bother? Happiness and optimism cannot exist without hope, but hope can exist without happiness or optimism. It is the deepest of the three emotions. It is a serious emotion because it sizes up our life, and our situation of how we are going to survive the present and the future.

Hope breeds hope. What is interesting is how we affect each others hopes and dreams every day. As parents and teachers it is critical that we don’t quash or destroy the dreams of our children. Too many children are told they aren’t good; that they aren’t capable of achieving their dreams; not smart enough; not pretty enough; etc… We need to look out for each other and build up the hopes and dreams of each person we meet. Give them the hope and confidence to get back up and try one more time. To re-awaken to their hopes, dreams, and possibilities of accomplishing a great life.

Hope engages our creativity and problem solving skills. Looking at the possibilities renews hope and gets us creatively engaged in the business of creating our life. It helps us to realize that life is an experiment to see what works, so there is no failure, only opportunities to learn. It is the meaning of “progress, not perfection”.

So as the article written by Maria Hill said: look for ways to bring hope into your life and the life of others. You can support the hopes of others, even if you don’t see how they can achieve their dreams. It isn’t our job to find the answers for them, it is our job to provide the support so that they can find the answers themselves. Renew hope everywhere you go – like Johnny Appleseed, you will leave behind real treasures.

Sheryl Silbaugh

I am married with 4 grown children who are all married and currently have 14 grandchildren and two great granddaughters. I work fulltime as a Director at Bank of America and I am the founder of LemonadeMakers.org, which is a website and Facebook page dedicated to personal transformation and growth. We all have life's lemons show up in our life, this website helps us to make them into lemonade.