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Giving Up Hope

For this second week of August (during some summer holiday time), please find below the fifth most popular blog from 2016. If you are inclined, please provide your comments on why you think this one was so well-received.


One of my favourite quotes about forgiveness – in reference to situations of long ago – is by Lily Tomlin. It goes: “Forgiveness is giving up all hope of a better past”. There’s something profound, for me, about the idea of allowing ourselves to be hopeless about a conflictual situation or relationship that we continue to agonize about. Somehow replacing hopefulness with hopelessness strikes me as a more real place to be as time lapses and misery lingers.

Acknowledging that past disputes cannot be changed invites us to be relieved of the past anguish rather than reliving it. The reality is that for some of us no longer ruminating may not really be what we want.

In truth, it isn’t easy to forgive others for emotional pain we experience from some conflicts and put them behind us. This is often the case for the situations we had high hopes of resolving. However, I like the idea of honouring ourselves as fully capable of putting the past behind us and not letting the memories continue to define the present and future.

If you have a past conflict that you are holding onto – still hoping the situation and/or relationship could be resolved and mended – the following questions might be helpful.

  • What is the situation about that you are holding onto?
  • What is your hope with respect to that situation?
  • How might you rate the reality of that hope happening (your answer to the previous question), on a scale of 1-10, 10 being very realistic?
  • How is your lingering hope in that situation defining you in relation to the other person?
  • If you imagined not having that hope any longer, what would that feel like?
  • If you replaced the hopelessness with hopefulness for something else, what would you hope for instead?
  • What better future do you imagine for yourself without the weight of the past situation?
  • What does that feel like (your answer to the previous question)?
  • How would the better future you described previously have an impact on the other person? On your relationship with her or him?
  • What positive learning do you have from the past situation that will help you going forward?
  • What else occurs to you as you consider these questions?
  • What insights do you have?

Originally posted April 5, 2016

This entry was posted in Conflict Coaching, Conflict Management Coaching, Forgiving, Resilience. Bookmark the permalink.

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