Almost every morning during my 15 minutes of doing nothing, the word hopeful makes an appearance. No matter what else I’m feeling–frustration, apprehension, happiness, etc.–hopeful flits into my thoughts.
Thinking about that this morning, I remembered a conversation I had with a friend back when I was contemplating changes to my way of living. I told her some of my ideas, such as focusing on fruits and vegetables and exercising every day, and said that I was hopeful I would lose some weight, but even if I didn’t, I’d certainly be healthier. (Little did I know!)
Time fogs up memories, but I honestly can’t recall any time before that when I had used the words hopeful and weight loss together. I was far more likely to begin a sentence with, “I wish.”
I wish I could lose weight.
I wish I could drop X sizes before Spring.
I wish I wasn’t so tired all the time.
Not hope. Wish.
It’s a little bit of a pilpul, or hair-splitter, and it doesn’t necessarily work for all situations, but it does point out to me the trap I was in before in trying to wish the weight away. And somehow feeling mystified and disappointed when it didn’t happen. I wished hard!
The problem is that wishing doesn’t really require any participation. I can wish for anything–a lottery win, a clutter free home, calorie-free foods–but unless I’ve taken some action in that direction, I don’t have much reason to hope for success. Hope is, at its most basic, an expectation. I did X, so I’m hoping that Y happens. Y may be unrealistic, but if I’ve done something toward it (like buy a lottery ticket), there’s at least a possibility that it could happen.
As you can see, I’ve spent far too much time thinking about this today, and it may make sense only to me, but I think that it’s somehow important in figuring out (and sharing) how I was able to fight my way out of the diet cycle and drop my weight once and for all.
In an odd coincidence (or maybe not), my daily email from Martha Beck was waiting for me when I returned home this morning. It read, in part:
The simple act of hopeful thinking can get you out of your fear zone and into your appreciation zone – a habit that can replace anxiety with happy participation.
Wow, that Martha Beck pegged me well: Hopeful thinker, happy participant!
What do you wish for? (Besides wishing that I would get a job so that I didn’t have so much time for thinking) What do you hope for?