Note: this is the 14th in our series What Is Love?- A New Testament Reply based on Paul’s descriptions of love and informed by the relational and behavioral sciences.
Synopsis: Love’s Hope and hope itself are quickly, freshly and rather deeply explored here with probes into a new defining of hope; ways to keep hope alive; an introduction to co-hope love relating; listening to your own hopes “all things” insights; cultural conditioning pro and con; and the results of love’s hope.
The Miracle of Love’s HopeLove gives birth to great hope! Let’s look into that. Love’s Hope is of incredible importance. Every love relationship starts with hope and grows with hope. The hope of love gives both joy and power to love relating. Sharing the hope of love bonds and brightens us as we love. In down times we are lifted by hope and in up times hope helps us soar. But do we understand the nature of hope?
Is not Hope an enthusiasm for the future, a sort of pre-happiness that future happiness can and will occur? Does not love’s hope encourage, inspire and empower us to go forward even when there is little or no reason for optimism.? Is it true that with fear held at bay by love’s hope, love’s hope sustains incredible endurance, achieves victory in the face of overwhelming odds and cheers up the most dreary of our days?
Is the following a truth about hope? Hope and love have a circular relationship with each other. Love breeds hope which then in turn feeds love which then in return feeds and breeds more love and more hope. To grow love, grow hope and to grow hope, grow love.
Research shows Hope to be one of our most powerful psychological forces for surviving and thriving. Hope has been found to be wonderfully assistive in helping our biological and our psycho-neurological processes be and get healthy. It also is a major factor in the dynamics of all types of love relationship and love relating well. Suppose it is for those reasons that hope and especially love’s Hope exists.
What Is Hope Actually?Hope is an emotion that occurs in higher order species and much like love is a natural, often vital process assisting survival and advancement toward well-being. We can define hope as an elated, positive suspicion that a desirable, positive something can or will happen. In addition, Hope creates the elated, positive suspicion that when positive results occur, positive feelings will accompany them. In effect, hope is a positive emotion about the possibility of future, positive emotions brought on by future, positive occurrences.
Hope is thought to be processed in the limbic system of the brain which activates and involves our good feeling neurochemistry and neuro-physical brain regions. It also is thought to frequently, quickly activate when the brain’s love processes activate.
Simply put, hope can be seen as a happiness about the chance for more happiness.
Hope From, With and For LoveGiving love contains the hope that the love given will be helpful, nurturing, enjoyable, perhaps bonding and, when needed, healing. Hope is pretty much vital to joint love action. Hope gets people to cooperate toward mutual goals, motivates giving, getting and sharing love experiences and works to heal love relating wounds when they occur. Love’s Hope can come from love, with love and work very much for love’s health and well-being.
When love relationships get mired in difficulties, it is love’s Hope that keeps the people in those relationships trying for repair and recovery. When things get so bad, for so long, hope can be lost and then the love relationship itself can be lost. Keeping love’s Hope alive, therefore, is a major concern for all love relationships having troubles.
Keeping Love’s Hope AliveWhen couples, or any close or intimate love relationship, are having trouble it helps if the people in the love relationship decide to be lovingly co-supportive as they work on their troubles. That helps them work as a team against problems instead of against each other. Whenever couples or others go against each other, their connection with each other loses and hopelessness tends to grow.
When love relating is suffering, hope can help a lot. It can make more love-hope happen by sincerely making encouraging remarks, mixing in statements of affirmation and appreciation, taking a break to do shared enjoyment, practicing loving listening skills more than talking, and showing loving care for a loved one’s pain no matter where that pain came from or who caused it. Making a mutual goal of getting past the troubles and back to happy love relating also can help get love’s helpful Hope going (see “Dealing with Love Hurts: A Dozen Love Hurts to Know and Grow From” and “Conflict, Power and Love Success”).
Co-Hope LoveDo you hope for your loved ones to receive what they hope for? One way to use Paul’s “Love hopes all things” is to include hoping for what your loved ones hope for. Then show it to them in a sharing way.
Let’s think about this a little. Do you seek to know and understand what your loved ones hope for? Do you help your loved ones discover and understand their own hopes? Do you share your hopes with them? In sharing hopes, will you do it in a way that is joyful, celebratory and love bonding for you both? Doing those things is doing co-hope love .
Here is one of the better ways to love someone via co-hoping. Joyfully agree to co-share your more outlandish, whimsical or intimate and perhaps secret hopes and dreams. Then do so sweetly and tenderly. That often accomplishes doing some Self-Disclosure Love and sometimes some Affirmational Love too. Both are major ways to communicate Love (see “A Behavioral (Operational) Definition of Love” in The Definition of Love Series).
As you do co-hope, it is important to remember not to go negative. Any hope is best enjoyed together before and without it being realistically analyzed and/or its down sides being discussed.
Worries and fears are sometimes aroused when hearing what loved ones hope for. When that happens it usually is best to first examine our own feelings before trying to change those of your beloved’s. What a loved one hopes for can represent and reveal deep, cherished parts of themselves. I suggest such revealing is to be not only cared about but enjoyed, even if you do not like the subject matter.
Generally for good love relating – celebrate first, critique later and do not mix the two.
The Importance of Listening to Your Own HopesLet’s say you notice you are hoping for something. Where did that hope come from? Maybe it came from deep inside your own inner wisdom. Maybe it is a message that is telling you something you need for your own well-being which is coming to you in the form of a hope. Perhaps it is a message about someone you love and what they need. Is your subconscious talking to your conscious via your hopes? It probably is safer to conclude the answer is yes than no. It can be good to delve into your hopes to see if they are telling you things you would do well to know. So often hidden in our hopes and wants are our needs. This has to do with healthy self-love so do not be too quick to dismiss even your wildest and strangest hopes as merely idle and frivolous thoughts. Remember, we are talking about hopes ALL things.
All Things- Good?Translating is tough. Perfectly interpreting one language’s word into another is like all other earthly perfection --impossible. Some words in other languages carry or suggest different and additional meanings than our own words for the same thing and vice versa. For instance, let’s look at our words for believing and for hope. In English, the word believing does not automatically connotate believing good things but our word hope does. The word hope, by definition, suggests looking forward to something desirable, or in other words, something good from the point of view of the one doing the hoping.
Some people in language studies posit the ancient Greek words for both believing and hope may connotate a good things meaning. Therefore, making both believing all things and hoping all things more easily logically sensible and not mysteriously open-ended. Then perhaps Paul’s words can be accepted as meaning all things good i.e. positive, beneficial, constructive, helpful, healthful, virtuous, holy and sacred. But that is only a maybe.
These semantics are important because they may help us to more fully understand Paul’s teachings about love. Thus, Hopes All Things connotatively may mean love automatically goes toward the well-being and benefit of the loved and, perhaps, never against them or it.
Consequently, if you get upset at a loved one and start to want, and/or to act toward hurting or harming that person, according to Paul’s teaching, those destructive feelings did not come from real love. In fact, they may have come from love-destructive-factors inside you. Remember, it is posited that healthy, real love always works for and not against well-being.
Not everyone believes love is so purely constructive. When I worked with law enforcement, I found many who thought there was a strong, dark side to love that caused people to do violence and even murder those they supposedly loved. Some quite openly saw Christian teachings about love to be wrong or at least ill-informed and incomplete. Then there are those who see love is a sick thing.
I suggest destructive actions come more from the under-loved, miss-loved, the brain and heart wounded, and the psycho-neurologically malfunctioning than from those who have real love. I also suggest those who would contemplate or do violence operate from non-love, anti-love and the various forms of false love. They often manifest things like jealousy, hate, possessiveness, fear, frustration, desires to control, etc. and not the manifestations of healthy, real love. To this concept, there is the possible exception of mercy killing. What do you think?
What About Love’s Hope and Cultural Conditioning?Let us not forget that along with family conditioning, many are conditioned by their culture to be either non-loving or anti-loving. Love’s hope seems to have little conscious or collective significance for them. In the more love-positive cultures, spousal murder, physical and psychological child abuse are rare. Stress illnesses are much less severe and less frequent. Generally speaking, the more love-positive a society is the more physically and psychologically healthful it is.
The people of love-positive societies are those who teach and model frequent use of the major known behaviors that stimulate love processes in the brain, love feelings in the emotions, and love actions in responding behavior patterns. In such groups and living conditions, those people exhibit much hopefulness about many things small and large, short-term and long-term and they exhibit the evidence of having healthy and happy love relationships of a number of different kinds. One of those kinds tends to be good self-love. You can read about all that in Love and Survival by Dean Ornish M.D. and in The Meaning of Love in Human Existence by Ruben Fine PhD, both of which I highly recommend. For the major behaviors of love, I proudly recommend my book Recovery Love.
For more knowledge about love’s hope and hope itself, I suggest you check out The Power of Hope: Overcoming Your Most Daunting Life Difficulties--No Matter What by Anthony Scioli, PhD and Making Hope Happen by Shane J. Lopez, PhD (which stems from three interrelated, really interesting, meta-analysis projects).
Love’s Hope Gets ResultsWhen love and hope together work their motivating magic love, relating tends to bloom, broken relationships recover, love happiness mounts and love’s endeavors come to fruition. Not only that but via love’s hope, causes become victorious, breakthroughs are discovered, potentials get actualized, advances attained, wrongs righted, and even lives saved. Of course, it doesn’t always happen that way but because of love’s hope it happens more often than it would without love’s hope. So, with your love, hope for all things (good).
One more concept. Some good things might happen if you talked all this over with some friendly, positive others. If you do that, perhaps mention this source and site and, thereby, maybe help to spread some positive knowledge about love.
As always – Go and Grow with Love
Dr. J. Richard Cookerly
Quotable Question: If your hopes bear little action, will your life likely have much actualization?