The Hopeful Romantic: 3 Reasons to Keep Your Hopes Up
I AM A HOPEFUL ROMANTIC.
there is really nothing poetic or revolutionary about what i just said. why?
Let's re-read a couple definitions of the word romantic:
conducive to or characterized by the expression of love.
of, characterized by, or suggestive of an idealized view of reality.
on the other hand, let's talk about this commonly used expression:
Being a hopeless romantic is an oxymoron. I don't even understand why people say it. I know it's used to describe someone super romantic or idealistic, but, given the definition above, we should probably stop calling these people hopeless.
for the purposes of this post, when i use the word "romantic," i'm not only talking about my love life. I am romantic (or hopeful) about all aspects of my life: applying to schools, my personal growth, this blog, finding my soulmate, etc. and There is nothing wrong with being hopeful. i don't even think there is such thing as being "too hopeful." As a matter of fact, we all get our hopes up from time to time, and more of us need to start getting comfortable with keeping them there.
Don't believe me? Check out the following polls I conducted on Instagram this week:
2 MAIN TAKEAWAYS FROM THIS DATA:
1- most of us are hopeful
2- many of us wish we weren't
truth be told, I used to resonate a lot with the 60% of people in the second poll. I used to enter any situation with 0 expectations, and i used to advise others to do the same because I never wanted to be disappointed. clearly i wasn't alone. MY IG POLLS LED TO MANY CONVERSations with different people. all in all, people in this 60% were all there for one reason: fear. but we are all afraid. even us in the 40%. so Why do we continue to hope in the face of fear?
now that i've experienced life on the "brighter side," here are my three reasons to be a hopeful romantic in any situation:
1- WHAT IS YOURS WILL ALWAYS BE YOURS
I USED TO BE SO AFRaid to hope and to dream because i was low-key traumatized by feelings of being hurt, disappointed or shocked. we'll talk more about those feelings in #2, but first let me tell you how i learned to eliminate them altogether. i began to deeply understand the idea of fate, destiny and accepting that what has been written for me may not match this hopefully romantic fairytale that i'm drafting (and will continue to draft daringly). "what is yours will always be yours" is for my pragmatists, the people who scoff at optimists or dreamers. there is no room for disappointment if you understand #1 on a fundamental level.
when a door indefinitely slams in my face, i smile, thank god and walk away gracefully. i'm so serious. part of dealing with "rejection" peACEFULLY IS UNDERSTANDing THAT YOU CANNOT GET REJECTED FROM SOMETHING THAT WAS NEVER YOURS TO BEGIN WITH. that door slammed in my face so i could stop wasting my time knocking on it. S/HE NEVER ASKED YOU OUT? S/HE WAS NEVER YOURS. THANK GOD FOR not allowing you to waste your time. DIDN'T GET THAT DREAM JOB? WAKE UP, BE GRATEFUL THAT IT DIDN'T WORK OUT AND START day DREAMING ABOUT SOMETHING ELSE. YOUR BUSINESS PLAN FAILED? MAKE IT AN EPIC FAILURE BY LEARNING FROM IT AND APPLYING IT TO YOUR TRUE LIFE'S PURPOSE.
If you think i'm crazy, that's okay. at least i'm not going crazy stressing over things that i have no business stressing about. THIS IS SERIOUSLY HOW I THINK NOW. I AM ALWAYS LOOKING FOR MORE CLARITY AS TO WHAT THIS PATH IS SUPPOSED TO LOOK LIKE. I'M NOT AFRAID TO VISUALIZE EVERY SINGLE THING I WANT NOW. I THINK about ALL OF IT. IT'S NEVER TOO EARLY TO START DREAMING OF THE LIFE YOU want. i just couple my hopefulness with humility. WHILE MY LIFE IS ONE BIG DAYDREAM, I know that i don't ALWAYS KNOW WHAT IS BEST FOR ME. WHAT IS MEANT TO BE WILL BE, so don't feel dejected by doors that were never yours to open.
2- DREAMS WARD OFF ANYTHING LESS THAN WHAT YOU DESERVE
the key word here is "deserve." I used to think i was so wise and cool when i had zero expectations of other people. now that i think deeply about it, this mentality indirectly meant i had zero expectations of the life i deserved to live. i completely understand that we cannot control the behavior of others; i understand that some people are dealing with their own demons and cannot always be trusted. especially not with our hearts. i know all of that. being hopeful doesn't mean i'm oblivious. not for a second. it just means that, through being hopeful, i am choosing to create the life i want to live instead of allowing others to create it for me.
and, if they can't act accordingly in my world, well, why would i let them stay? by having no expectations, i was unconsciously allowing people or things admission into my world without holding them accountable to any ground rules while they were here. and honestly, having no expectations does not even protect our feelings. as you see reflected in the polls' data, even the biggest proponents of "0 expectations" get their hopes up from time to time, even if they think they shouldn't. we think that we are bypassing feelings of disappointment or heartache when, in reality, we are welcoming and enabling them by not dreaming of what we deserve.
let your heart hope and dream for those things that you know you want. if nothing else, being a hopeful romantic will ground you in what you deserve. in my time as a hopeful romantic, i've found that one of three things will happen using this approach:
- i get what i want, and i'm ecstatic. somehow, getting my hopes up never desensitizes the feeling of getting exactly (or even more than) what i hoped for. it actually encourages me to keep dreaming.
- i land among the stars instead of on the moon, and i'm still ecstatic. who wouldn't enjoy being in the stars while they continue to reach for the moon? (or decide the stars are a better fit altogether)
- whoever or whatever hinders me from getting what i want will peacefully leave my space (either on their own because my STANDARDS SHOW THEM THEY DON'T BELONG, or because i have physically removed them myself).
3- DARING TO DREAM GIVES OTHERS THE PERMISSION TO DO THE SAME
I THINK THIS MAY HAVE BEEN THE GAME-CHANGER FOR ME. I USED TO LET MY FEAR AND MY EGO (THEY'RE REALLY ONE IN THE SAME) DICTATE MY EXPECTATIONS. EXPECTATIONS OF MEN I WAS DATING, OF JOB OPPORTUNITIES I WAS APPLYING FOR, OF MY ABILITY TO DO THIS WHOLE BLOG THING, ETC. I KEPT PLAYING IT SAFE, AND WHILE I DIDN'T EXPERIENCE ANY HUGE MOMENTS OF disappointment, PLAYING IT SAFE AND SILENCING MY DREAMS WAS A SURE WAY TO LIVE IN CONSTANT DISSATISFACTION WITH THE STATE OF THINGS, SPRINKLED WITH THAT OCCASIONAL HURT AND HEARTACHE YOU WERE TRYING TO AVOID TO BEGIN WITH.
I KNEW I COULDN'T "SETTLE FOR SAFE," SO I STARTED STUDYING HAPPY PEOPLE. I FOUND THAT THESE PEOPLE WERE ALL DREAMERS. I JUST COULDN'T UNDERSTAND HOW THEY COULD BE SO FEARLESS, EVEN IN THE FACE OF FAILURE. EVEN AFTER HEARTACHE. AFTER studying A BIT HARDER, I REALIZED THAT THESE PEOPLE WEREN'T FEARLESS AT ALL. THEY WERE SCARED, JUST LIKE YOU AND I. THEY JUST KNEW WHAT THEY DESERVED AND DARED TO DREAM ABOUT IT ALL DAY. TO THEM, THE FEAR OF LIVING A MEDIOCRE, MISALIGNED LIFE WAS SO MUCH MORE DAUNTING THAN THE FEAR OF OCCASIONALLY FAILING OR BEING LET DOWN.
THESE PEOPLE INDIRECTLY GAVE ME THE PERMISSION TO DREAM DARINGLY DESPITE THE FEAR. WITH TIME, I, TOO, BECAME A HOPEFUL ROMANTIC. I NEVER WANT TO COME BACK DOWN TO GROUND 0. I'M RIDING THIS WAVE FOR GOOD. I REALLY HOPE THAT YOU DO THE SAME. IF NOT FOR YOU, THEN FOR THE PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE WHO ARE WATCHING YOU: YOUR MENTEES, YOUR LITTLE SIBLINGS, COUSINS, neices, nephews, YOUR CHILDREN, EVEN YOUR SIGNIFICANT OTHER OR YOUR PARENTS. EVERYONE NEEDS A DREAMER IN THEIR LIFE, WHY SHOULDN'T IT BE YOU?
I HOPE THAT YOU DON'T SILENCE YOUR DREAMS. I REMEMBER WHEN I USED TO DO THAT. I WASN'T BEING MYSELF, I WASN'T ASKING FOR WHAT I DESERVED, I WASN'T LIVING A LIFE THAT I KNEW I COULD LIVE.
I'M GLAD I PUT AN END TO THAT NIGHTMARE BY DECIDING TO DREAM DARINGLY.