On Hope in Despair

Posted by Alina Liao on

April is both Stress Awareness Month and the National Month of Hope. When I first learned that, I thought, wow, that actually feels right. And I've been marinating on this Yin Yang energy in my self care journaling.

When I think of "hope," I think back to a conversation I had with a mentor in 2020, when I was depressed but in denial. I expected our conversation to be focused on business, but as I was doing my pitch, he asked, "Alina, are you happy?" Aaaannd I broke down crying. He told me, "For Zenit to be healthy, you have to be healthy" At the end of the call as we said our good-byes, he said, "Don't despair."

"Don't despair." I was surprised to hear that, because I didn't think I was despairing, though I believed it when he said he could tell by my voice, my face, my body language, that I was struggling. I had long identified as an optimist. I was strong! In my past leadership roles, I could pull positivity up from nowhere. But this was different. I couldn't just force it.

It's bound to happen to all of us. Feeling lost, despairing. Feeling like, "How am I even supposed to have hope right now?"

I'm not going to say, do these steps 1-2-3 and boom your hope is restored. No, I know it's not easy. There's no formula for hope. Healing is messy, and it's a journey.

And lately, I'm wondering more in my self care journaling, do we have to try to escape our despair to have hope? Or, can we actively practice hope in the midst of our despair?

For me, reclaiming hope in my despair has been a slow, one-shaky-step-at-a-time process, using my self care journaling in my custom wellness journal to be my own self-guide, so to speak. By naming the despair in my self care journaling in my custom wellness journal, I can start to move through it. I can explore and come up with different options in my self care journaling. My self care journaling doesn't make my sources of despair or stress go away, but it's a space where I can keep taking those one-step-at-a-time steps.

In our Mini-Retreat this Monday 4/11, we'll gather, breathe, and do some guided self care journaling exercises to journal for hope. This won't be about forcing false positivity. We'll have the space to process what we're really feeling and explore how we can rekindle our hope, no matter what we're going through.

With love,
Alina Liao, founder of Zenit
Feel it, write it, Zenit

← Older Post Newer Post →