Hope, Honesty, Curiosity, and Love / by Michelle Cowan

Never underestimate hope, honesty, curiosity, or love. When in doubt, choose one of those.

Hope. Some would say that hope is weak, that a person should do more than just hope. As long as ideas, dreams, and desires remain hopes, they remain unreal. But I counter that sometimes hope is all we have.

While individuals like the homeless desperately need food and shelter, they also need hope. Without regular reminders of life’s potential goodness, how will the disadvantaged feel motivated to pursue anything? How can a person strive for something they have never been made aware of? People in difficult circumstances many times do not have the access, knowledge, or mental/physical capacity, to actively make life changes. But if they have hope, at least their lives can be a little more bearable right now, until the appropriate access, knowledge, or help does come along.

Honesty. Relationships hinge on honesty. I don’t feel clean and free unless I am fully myself, not hiding anything. As long as I hold back something that needs to be said, I only partially express myself. Honesty means more than telling the truth about events or feelings; it’s about being one’s true self at all times.

I want to live my life without the need to hide anything. To achieve this, I will spend less time worrying about what other people think and more time saying the things that get caught between my heart and my lips. I can also respect who other people are and cherish it when they share honestly with me. Honesty breeds honesty, which leads to deeper, more fulfilling relationships. Disagreements I often avoid can lead to meaningful meetings of the minds.

Curiosity. I can usually infuse any emotion I’m feeling with curiosity and get a beneficial outcome. It’s as simple as asking questions. Say I feel afraid. Instead of cowering or trying to escape, I can ask, “What do I fear? Why do I fear that? What belief is generating this response? Can I let go of that belief?” If angry or resentful, I can ask, “Who am I angry with? Am I angry with myself? Is there something I can create with this anger? Is there something that needs to be said?”

Asking questions usually yields more fulfilling results than yelling at someone or sending a nasty email. Practicing curiosity helps me become a better listener and learner as well as fostering an increasing understanding of myself and others.

Love. All of the above open us up to loving more and better. When we catch a glimpse of the bright side, we can share that with others. We can grow love as a community through shared hope.

Honesty uncovers buried layers in people, allowing us to appreciate the hidden treasures in ourselves and others. By committing to honesty, we become more courageous and free to do all the loving acts we’ve always dreamed of.

And curiosity helps us find love in unexpected places. By remaining inquisitive toward the world, we see love where we thought only resentment existed.

Choosing to love can seem daunting. Sometimes, I need to choose one of the other three in order to make it there. It’s always worth it.