Today's near enemies highlight the difference between being hopeful and grasping. Often, when we feel we are being hopeful for things and situations to resolve themselves in a certain way, we are actually grasping or wanting something to occur that may not reflect the reality of the situation.
Being hopeful is a virtue while grasping is not. Grasping is actually a form of denial or sometimes even of trying to exert control over people or situations where no control can or should be exerted. Being hopeful sees reality for what it is, doesn't try to control or manipulate what is happening, and yet still stays open to a positive outcome.
Looking at Some Examples
Marcia hasn't heard from Lucas for three weeks. They had three dates that she thought went really well. She likes him a lot and feels they really have a connection. She periodically checks his online dating profile to see if he has been recently active and he hasn't logged on since their last date. She's sent him a few texts that he hasn't responded to but she says she is still hopeful he will call. In this situation, Marcia is grasping -- not being hopeful. There is an element of denial occurring here.
Ben's daughter calls regularly asking for money. He knows the money is actually going to support her addiction. He feels stuck. If he doesn't give her money, he is afraid she will resort to illegal means to get it. But he also doesn't want to enable her addiction. He doesn't know what to do but isn't willing to let go yet. Ben may be an enabler but he is actually being hopeful as opposed to grasping. He doesn't have any way to manipulate or control this situation and, while he does want a positive outcome, he is accepting and seeing the situation for what it currently is.
When someone is grasping they often have an internal dialogue that says, "As long as I do not doubt this belief, it will happen. I just have to hold on, not doubt, and I will get what I want," or "If I just change my approach or do everything perfectly, then I can get what I want."
The person who is being hopeful has an internal dialogue that looks more like, "I've already done all I can. I am open to the positive outcome but I know I must accept this situation for what it is. I know what I can do and cannot do without crossing the line into trying to force my will onto something that I need to accept."
The difference between being hopeful and grasping really is that sense of denial and wanting to force our will onto the situation through manipulation, bargaining, or coercion. Being hopeful accepts what it is and understands that some things cannot be forced. Grasping comes with a personal sense of blame that if only something different had been done or could still be done that things could be altered in the preferred direction.
You Can Only Do What You Can. You Can't Force Your Will Onto the World Around You.
This week's near enemies are often hard to distinguish because they are a balancing act. Accepting reality and not pushing for our own will all while remaining hopeful that a situation may resolve positively can be a hard internal place to find. It is, however, an important mental space to figure out.
Learn the difference between being hopeful and grasping.
Mondays – Near Enemies
Many virtues have a near enemy. These near enemies masquerade as the actual skill and are often unhealthy or unhelpful in the long term. Near enemies create a false separation. A true virtue creates a closeness to others or even your best self.
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