What “every thing” is it that will be OK when we say, “Everything will be OK?”
The phrase, “Everything will be OK,” is a vague and sometimes irritating consolation if we’re not in the mood. But it does work.
We make achieving certain things vitally important to our sense of well-being because we fear what it says about our life if we can’t.
Trusting that everything will be OK requires hope. We cannot hope to change the outcome or very nature of that which is inevitable, but hope is still, undeniably, one of the greatest positive life forces that we possess.
Pain also has the terrifying characteristic of making us imagine that it will last forever. We can’t imagine how or when the terrible feeling might stop because we feel incapable of stopping it ourselves, nor see the conditions under which it might do so itself.
Another characteristic of pain is that it is disorienting and confusing. If we cut our finger and it bleeds and it stings, we are clear about the course of events that led up to the event of cutting our finger. We understand the cause.
Emotional pain isolates us from the world and our fellow man, leaving us feeling alone and abandoned. It is often because something that we have come to depend and rely upon has been taken from us, and we have no recourse to change or affect the course of it.
I hope that I am going to have a full and productive and happy life, but I am also in the process of living it, right now. I’ve just wasted a nanosecond thinking about it, that’s all, instead of just getting on with it.
Hoping gives us something to think about, to occupy our minds, until we know, and we hope for a whole series of things to not happen, as well as do happen. This doubles the number of things that we can hope for.
Hope is lovely, but we sometimes misuse it to attempt to conjure into actuality the existence of very particular physical facts in the world, based on no greater justification than our own personal preferences.
Let us suppose that I have decided to buy a new pair of pants, and that I have recently seen a nice pair worn by a man in the street, and the same ones in only one particular shop window.
Hope will not change that which is or will be, and much of the reasoning we might use to justify having it is flawed. To hope is to express a preference that, all other things being considered, one thing rather than another might occur, and that the power of our positive thinking may in some way affect the outcome.
Yes, some of us struggle with terrible challenges, but many of our difficulties are the epitome of ordinariness. But though they be mundane and insignificant occurrences, they nevertheless have to be met with a commensurately focused response if we are to contest their effect on our lives.
Few of us are oppressed by tyranny or engaged in a bitter life and death struggle for existence. Our battlegrounds are the supermarket and the sidewalk, the boardroom and the bedroom.
What seems obvious is that the nature of Hope cannot be defined. It often defies reason.
There is sometimes something recognisably glorious in failure. A man might not meet his objectives, but the struggle itself could be deemed a success if what he was striving for had become something greater than the issue at hand.
How is it possible, you may ask, that a man can hope for a particular outcome, sometimes in defiance of all expert opinion, all reasonable expectation, and all considered evidence?
As soon as we categorise or label any event as having a particular emotional content, we are then ourselves emotionally committed. We have not only defined the event, but also our relationship to it.
Forming opinions about the nature of events not only helps us to understand how we should relate to them, it also categorises and defines them, thus fixing them in place so that we can keep an eye on them.
This is our domain. We define each event in a uniquely personal way, particular to us alone, and have an immediate, visceral, instinctually emotional response to it.