Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Hope is the Thing with Feathers; It's Also a Verb

I'm not a huge Emily Dickinson fan, but I do like image from "Hope is the Thing with Feathers"--hope brought to life as a bird. Hope is also an action, something we, as humans, can do. Something we should do.

In graduate school, I was fortunate enough to enroll in a course titled "Positive Psychology". The first lesson: most of the historical study of psychology has been focused on finding what's wrong with a person rather than what is right. Positive psychology turns the focus to what is right with a person--protective factors and strengths one might possess, just as a physically healthy person might be able to run several miles or compete at a high level in a given sport. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses--positive psychology attempts to recognize strengths. Hope is one of those strengths.

Research studies have shown hope can help you lead a healthy, fulfilled life. Hopeful college students are more likely to obtain degrees. Hopeful public school students are more likely to score high marks and graduate at the top of their classes.  I didn't need a class to explain what I knew at the core of my being--hope can pull you through some hard times.

Hope consists of agency and pathways, the willpower and the waypower to make something happen. Hopeful people have the energy--agency--and can find ways--pathways--to make their dreams real.

Aimee's death has knocked me down, hard. Once, I hoped for a family and a long, happy life with the vibrant young woman I met in front of the post office. When Aimee was sick, that same hope pulled me through, helped me do what I could to take care of her. She lived life with hope--hope for me, for the boys, for her friends and family. I'd like to think she never gave up hope. I proud of the way we fought together, and no illness can tarnish my cherished memories.

I'm slowly building hope again--hope for my boys, our future, our family, my future... Things I never imagined putting together without Aimee. I also have hope for her legacy and memory. She spread so much hope and love, it can't help but continue.

Hope is a special kind of inoculation; it can't take away Aimee's death or her illness, but it can help with the way forward.  I know Aimee would want us all to continue with as much hope as we can muster.


Cate Gardner said...

Positive psychology - I like it. Aimee would be so proud of you and how you're coping.

Anonymous said...

Beautifully said, Aaron. Hope is indeed a powerful thing.

- Terry W.

Anonymous said...

Hope is a beautiful thing. Stay strong for your boys.

Aaron Polson said...

Cheers, Cate.

Terry - ;)

Anon - Doing my best.

Lane said...

The phoenix hope, can wing her way through the desert skies, and still defying fortune's spite; revive from ashes and rise.

Miguel de Cervantes

Kelli said...

Really love this post. Hope is very powerful. You are doing amazing things for your boys; keep up the good work. Aimee's hope is still very much alive in those who knew her, especially you and your boys. Never give up hope!

JDaisies said...

You are an eloquent writer and your words seem to just jump off the page and into my heart. I love the fact that HOPE is powerful. As you continue to let Aimee's legacy live on in your life, with the boys and in everything else, continue to know that there is HOPE everywhere. I continue to pray for you as you continue to grow without your beautiful friend at your side.
Hugs from Kazakhstan,

Aaron Polson said...

Lane - A great image (and lovely mascot for FSHS).

Kelli - Never. ;)

Jennifer - Thanks--take care.

Anthony Rapino said...

I love the idea of positive psychology. Hope is so important, and I'm glad you are holding on to that.