In general, I think that people would call me a hopeful person. But, Life has taught me that hope can be a dangerous thing. Hope in a hopeless situation can be more destructive than good. It is a tricky thing to determine. How do you know when something is truly hopeless?
The only answer I have found is that a situation is hopeless if hope rests on the chance that another person will change. Taking a year away from relationships has afforded me the time and focus to watch other couples. Some are great! They epitomize all the things that I hope to one day have with a partner – mutual love, respect and trust. Then I see many more who are ill-matched; making it work because that is what they should do – hoping for something to change that will make them happy again. It is distressing.
I find it particularly difficult because I spent years of my life in the same situation. I did the same things: try to make it work; hope things will improve; be supportive, loving and determined; attempt every remedy known to man – only to wake in the wreckage of hope. Yet, even as I stood amongst the rubble of my former life, the tyranny of hope raged on. It would be another three years under its rule before a relapse would lead to the final slaughter of the hope that ruled my life for over a decade. The hope that a person would become the partner I needed. The partner who is best suited to me and I to him. The hope that needed to end so my life could begin.
I will recognize that people do change – I have changed immensely in the past 8 months alone. But at core, I am still myself. My trouble was that for many years I had lost connection to that true self within and built a façade which I presented to the world. I denied my core being. I denied it to accommodate myself to another person. That is a recipe for disaster. Then you sit and hope that since you are sacrificing yourself, the other person should do the same. That is the hope. That is where hope becomes toxic. The other person is who they are. Neither of you can be happy if you aren’t true to that person.
Some may argue that people have fought for years to get people to change – I dispute this. Throughout history, people have never really changed. Slave owners didn’t suddenly realize what they were doing was wrong and release all their slaves through a grandiose moral epiphany. No! They did it because they were told to by a higher power. It was like-minded people who rallied together and stood up to say “this must stop” that exacted the change. Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. did not change the minds of people (at least not the people who weren’t open to the change in the first place), they were a voice to which those afraid to speak could lend their cry. Change came through generations taught that the hatred of the past would no longer be tolerated in the society in which they lived. The change that these history-makers hoped for was not change within the oppressors, but the unification of the oppressed. The hope that if one person stood, others would stand behind them.