Meaning and Hope

Hi everyone,

I am wondering if you have thought about what keeps us going in life. We all have our ups and downs. What motivates us to go up when we are down instead of just staying in the down? I noticed two things that help me with this: meaning and hope. And I often discover that those are already within me and I might lose sight of them at times.

My down times are often characterized with a sense of meaning loss. That is when I feel I don’t have an idea of what I am meant to do and so I can’t do anything. The more I can’t do anything, the more down I feel. Then it becomes a loophole, until I find a meaning somewhere. And somehow, I find that meaning within me. For example, I might go down when I lose the vision for my writing. I write to discover more about myself, others and about human nature more generally. That is always a good motivation and meaning for me. But sometimes I can come to a point where I am like, meh. Let’s say at the same time I lose the meaning I find in my job and maybe in my relationships with people. So, overall, I don’t know what life is supposed to be for. Somehow, those times make me turn to myself and eventually find the lost meaning again. I remember why I was writing when I discover the intricacies of human nature again. I remember why I am in my job and why I keep in contact with people. All of these relate to my need to connect myself to the universe at the end. As long as I can remember that connection, I feel I have meaning in life.

Loss of meaning leads to hopelessness. If you don’t have motivation to do anything, what are you going to hope for, right? Finding my meaning again gives me hope. But there is one more step regarding hope. Even if meaning exists, it is a bit general. The statement ‘I want to discover human nature’ is too general for hope to arise, at least for me. I need to say something like ‘One day, we will discover the human nature’. Now, this one is a bit more specific in that it focuses on the day when we will (hopefully) know a lot more about the human nature.  This idea of a hopeful future gives me motivation to work towards that today.

I kind of rambled here, but I want to know your thoughts. What makes you go up when you are down? Are you as obsessed with finding meaning as me? Does hope motivate you too?


61 thoughts on “Meaning and Hope

  1. Gratitude and Generosity…I am not mine, I jump at opportunities to share what I have been so gracefully given, without merit. No good I do is of me, It arises from God’s Love

  2. I’ve never thought about it quite like that before – a loss of meaning leading to loss of hope but it makes perfect sense. I tend to think that people don’t act motivation more than they lack clarity. If you have clarity motivation isn’t something you have to work too hard to create. Regarding hope I believe action is crucial. If you hope without acting – a bit like clinging to happiness – it can lead to a sense of hopelessness and despair. Act to improve the things that you can and accept what you cannot – is a motto I try to live by. Thanks for sharing Betul – wishing you well 🙏

    1. These are great thoughts! I think clarity comes with a meaning for me, but people’s definition might be different, of course. And I agree that if we have clarity, however we define it, we will have motivation. I also agree action is needed in addition to hope. Good thoughts there too!

      1. Hi Bertul! Viktor was in a concentration camp and the general lesson in the book was that our greatest desire is to find meaning in our lives and when we do, this brings us hope and the will to survive anything. He helped other prisoners find meaning under the worst conditions. I highly recommend it!

  3. What you’re feeling is very normal for those who seek higher knowledge. There’s ebbs and flows.

    I have found great power in positive affirmations. When I start to feel down I remind myself that I have come through each and every difficulty so far.

    How can a person find encouragement? Remember this: We’re all very loved and cherished by the universe.

    When we feel inspiration or support has been withdrawn from us, we need to remind ourselves that we’re going through a quiet time, that we haven’t been forsaken!

    We just need to sit quietly and know that the universe will bring you your next inspiration!

    We don’t use up creativity! The more we use the more we tap into!

    Peace, Tamara

    1. Really good points! I am a bit of an impatient nature and it might be hard for me to wait at all. But the more I learn this, the more I feel loved by everything around because I am not distracted.

  4. Hope is the unseen Mr Push-up and Mrs This-is-Life.

    They both give us the kicks to keep moving the limbs every day, immediately we open our eyes from sleep. We open only the eye lids without a thought. But push the limbs with an uncaring hope and flattering assurance.

    We face each of life ‘down-times’ with a ‘sleep medication’. With an assured hope that even if the problem persist when we wake up again, we will have to wake up to see it. We feel so assured we will at least wake up to face the problem we slept over. To try another strategy, with not so much of an assured hope, that our strategy may work.

    Back to bed again, having planted a few seeds of efforts and solutions. Life ‘down-time’ gives a nod, it sees our persistence, our little effort.

    It did not rain over night. But the soil need no hope, no assurance that additional effort will come from us. The sun require no hope it will shine each day. The carbon-dioxide and oxygen goes about their daily work, not bothered about our lack of recognition of their presence.

    Yet, we fret.

    We hope the seed of efforts to get our ‘life down-time’ up and running again will sprout.

    Seed time. Harvest time. The weather and nature, all run their course in their time and schedules.

    All hoping that someday, we will learn that they are just there for us. Not to hope, beg, cry or jump up in panic. Hoping we will learn that Life ‘down-times’ are like seed lonely times, in that dark buried space. Unseen, but changing. Only hoping that someone will not abort its growth and new life with unbelief and uproot it as unprofitable.

  5. Such a lovely post. It really resonated with me. To answer your questions at the end, I come up from the downs in one of two ways – turn my thought in a new direction (towards hope, as you described) or I move out of my thoughts (this is taking A LOT of practice to master). I have started listening to Eckhart Tolle a lot and learning to find the space between my thoughts. When my mind is quiet and the drama subsides, there is space for inspiration to come through and I also feel calmer whilst going through the lows. Exercise is also massively helpful for me. I find this changes my energy, both physically and mentally and helps maintain balance and lessen the frequency of the lows.
    Since listening to Eckhart Tolle, I’m less obsessed with finding meaning and I’m beginning to come to terms with the idea that most of what we see and think of as permanent and important is flimsy and constructed. At first, I felt really low about that idea but now I find it quite freeing – the realisation that most of the drama of life (if not all of it) is in our minds and exists only in the past or the future but very rarely in the moment. Even the meaning and hope we love so much are made in our minds through story – collections of past and future tales.
    That said, I’m still motivated by hope and meaning.
    Sorry for the rambling comment. Your post gave my brain a good scratch this morning and I have enjoyed thinking about it. 🙂

    1. I really enjoyed reading your comment too! These are all great thoughts! Finding space for inspiration was a great point! I do feel when my mind is too occupied, I cannot find the life inspiration I need to be fulfilled inside. That is why people often bring up the importance of silence. It is a way of making room for inspiration. I also agree on the role of exercise. It helps me a lot too!

  6. I guess what makes me down is when I feel like I can’t do much in my life and I’m constantly pursued by time. But then I get reminded that I want to do something that I like for living. I wish to work abroad as an editor or a film journalist. I may still have much to learn but that’s what keeps me going

  7. I believe that most of it depends on our inner selves. If we ourselves try to find hope and motivation around us we can always stay enjoy living . But practically it’s not possible to always stay motivated we all face a downward spiral at times all that matters is to show ourselves some self love in such times.
    Also loved your opinion and I agree with most of it. Pretty relatable💫

    1. Thank you for your compliments and comment! I agree that self-love is required for us to have a good check so we can be motivated again. It works every time!

  8. Nice post, Betul. When I’m feeling down, I try to engage with what makes me happy (music, books, movies) and what I’m good at (writing, teaching, listening). Thanks for this reminder that the lows inevitably fade, and highs have a way of coming round again. Be well, my friend. 🕊

  9. I have noticed that I tend to oscillate quite drastically with my ups and downs. In my ‘down’ phases it feels as I am forever stuck in that state of hopelessness, but something that really helps me is just reminding myself that with every low phase comes an upward journey, and that is just the repetitive nature of life, the constant ebb and flow.
    As much as I try to put this into practice, I do often find myself feeling stuck. It’s always a work in progress 💫

  10. It is difficult sometimes to stay motivated; but in times of crisis (like the one we are experiencing right now) we should stop worrying about the things we an’t change and we should focus instead on things we can control. I wrote an article about this. The whole premise of the article is that we should use our new-found-time to find our passion and hone our craft everyday. But what if one has no passion to create something? If you have nothing at all to create, then perhaps you create yourself . To give style to one’s character is a great and rare art. Make your life a work of art! Feel free to check it out –

    1. These are all good points! I agree that we should sometimes just focus on the process (ourselves) rather than the product. Thanks for sharing your article!

  11. This is such a great question! As someone who struggles with depression and anxiety, finding a way to keep going and maintain a more even keel, is a challenge.

    I agree that meaning is important. I phrase it as “purpose.” Purpose keeps me moving when I am in “struggle” mode. I must get out of bed because I have a job (purpose). My family and coworkers are dependent on me (purpose).

    On the other hand, purpose does not always get me out of my “pit of depression.” What usually pushes me to climb up and out, is a light. The light could be inspiration. The light could be a new expectation dependent on my participation. The light could be a radical change in situation.

    As for “Hope,” I call that faith. Faith has eve and flows in my life. I find I lean heaviest on Faith when I’m struggling. Faith keeps me in-tune to searching for the “light.”

    1. This is a great perspective too! I think we really need to get out of the struggle mood and having a purpose has great positive effect on that. I am not sure how hope is identical to faith, however. Can you clarify that a bit?

      1. I think it’s maybe not identical, but it is similar. With hope, you believe something better is coming. With Faith you know something better is coming because you have had bad experiences before and your faith carried you forward and out to something better.

        In both cases, you have a BELIEF that where you are now, is not forever, it’s temporary. Faith in something bigger than you (universe, spirit, higher power, God) fuels hope that each day will be better than the last: either YOU will be stronger (aka: change/growth) or the circumstances will be different, better.

        Does that make more sense?

  12. When I’m down, I try to sit alone and discover the emotional need behind this negative emotion. Am I feeling unappreciated? Unloved? Like a failure? What lead to this feeling? I trace encounters that must have spiked up some insecurities or hurt that must have led to this emotion and I deal with them by acknowledging them and trying to right them, depending on what exactly the problem is.

  13. This is a great thing to uncover strategies for, especially at the moments we are not in a low ebb. When I struggle I turn towards God (which is something I do all the time, so I don’t know if it’s really the ‘thing’ I do to help rediscover momentum for life). I pray, and listen to what is being said to me, and take action to move forward. One step at a time, sometimes it’s easy to climb out of that hole, other times it’s one painful rung at a time, but in all cases its progress.

    This process can be verbal, but more often now it takes the form of writing something and then responding to it. That writing might be a story, or a poem, some song lyrics, or even form the basis of a blog post! When I read over what I’ve written, and listen to what God is telling me about it and about how I’m feeling I usually have those ‘a-ha’ moments where I can figure out what I need to change to get back on my feet. It’s seldom easy but it’s always worth it.

    Thank you for sharing, and asking such a thoughtful and helpful question. 😊

    1. That is a really thoughtful way of approaching this! I think I have been applying something similar in recent months, and it is really effective. In that sense, I am relating to this. Thanks for visiting!

  14. very beautiful….for me sometimes when I’m down changing my perspective helps….most of times we think we are in worst of situations untill we rise above our problems and look around…when we try to help others with what we have got, it adds value and meaning to our lives…even during hardest of times

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