What is a feeling you couldn’t live without? Not an emotion, but a feeling.
Arguably, the three, most important feelings (and gifts, according to the bible) are: Faith, Hope, and Love. Each one having their own strengths and rite. Each of these feelings are intertwined with each other. If someone were to lose one of these feelings, they lose all three. As essential and important as all three of the stated feelings are, this essay will elaborate on Hope — something that seems to be vanishing from the world, albeit the other 2 seem to be disappearing as well. To describe Hope as a ‘feeling,’ one must first differentiate a feeling from an emotion.

What is emotion? What is feeling? [Emotions are lower level responses occurring in the subcortical regions of the brain, the amygdala, and the ventromedial prefrontal cortices, creating biochemical reactions in your body altering your physical state. They originally helped our species survive by producing quick reactions to threat, reward, and everything in between in their environments. Emotional reactions are coded in our genes and while they do vary slightly individually and depending on circumstances, are generally universally similar across all humans and even other species.] For example: sadness, anger, happiness.

While, [Feelings originate in the neocortical regions of the brain, are mental associations and reactions to emotions, and are subjective being influenced by personal experience, beliefs, and memories. A feeling is a mental portrayal of what is going on in your body when you have an emotion and is the byproduct of your brain perceiving and assigning meaning to the emotion. Feelings are the next thing that happens after having an emotion, involve cognitive input, usually subconscious, and cannot be measured precisely.] For example: joy, gratitude, love.

Putting it all in layman’s terms; emotion is the state of being, while feeling is the reaction to that state of being.

Hope is defined as: “to cherish a desire with anticipation — to want something to happen or be true” Hope is an essential aspect of life. It is the drive that bounds us to live better, to live easier, and to live freer. Without hope, there’d be no innovation. We hope to have robots make our lives easier; and therefore, we have built, and molded robots to do just that. Up until the 19th century, people hoped to fly, now we have extensive air travel worldwide. Hope is the strive for something better, something different. When you hope, you hope for something good — a better scenario than the current one. One never hopes for a worse scenario, unless they’re disturbed and/or malicious.

Where there’s hope, there’s humanity. That is to say, as humans, we are imperfect. And it is our hope to always become better people. To hope is to recognize the imperfections that surround us and acknowledge them, rather than ignore them and pretend they didn’t exist. It must be made clear, it is the individual that holds hope; not the collective. If a group of individuals hold hope for something, the fact that they do it collectively is irrelevant. Straying off topic slightly; the collective is just a group of individuals — each with their own individuality. Therefore, each individual holds his/her own hope.

In tough/dark times, this is when we hope the most. This is primarily because it takes dark times for us to acknowledge the imperfections and want change for the better. We have hope for great leaders, great innovations, and great solutions. Our leaders give us hope for safety and stability. Our innovations give us hope for convenience and satisfaction. And our solutions give us hope for freedom and prosperity. The truth is, we shouldn’t rely entirely on these. If you truly want hope, be the hope you need. Make some sort of change to give you hope. Likewise, with change, be the change you want. Even small steps create profound change and hope. So long as there is hope, there is a future.

On the flip side; One of the worst feelings is hopelessness — the lack of hope. In many cultures hopelessness is portrayed as a demon; leading to despair and ultimately death, usually by suicide. Hopelessness has become an epidemic stemming drug & alcohol addiction rises as well as the heroin and suicide crises littered across the nation. When one loses hope, they lose all self-worth, and respect. This is where substance abuse comes into play. Something a person, normally, wouldn’t be involved with; but if there’s nothing to live for — who cares? To demonstrate the essentialness of hope; think about our greatest tragedies throughout history. To have hopelessness is to accept the way things are and that things will never change. To have hope is to acknowledge the way things are and that they will change. What if you were to tell the prisoners in Auschwitz, “That’s the way things are and they will never change.” or the people under Stalin, “That’s just how it is.” The scenarios are endless, But the principle remains the same. Without hope, all is lost. I would rather die with hope, then live in hopelessness. For hopelessness is a fate worse than death.





Suicide and the epidemic of hopelessness