Hopelessness: The Only Real Enemy Worth Defeating
Bill Cottringer

“Hopelessness is a feeling. It's not a fact.” ~Anohni

Hopelessness is the main cause of all the world’s problems and hope is the only real antidote. Thank heavens for the reality of the quote above, that hopelessness is a feeling rather than a fact. This reality alone is worth having hope about in joining forces to defeat the common enemy of us all—hopelessness—or call it by any other name…anxiety, nilism, fear, lack of trust, pessimism, depression, existential terror, war, or whatever else seems to fit.

The only reality worth believing, that doesn’t breed more hopelessness, is that there is a practical reason for hope and that is—It is the only way to reduce the fact of hopelessness to what it really is, just a temporary feeling that often lingers way past its welcome.

There are three things that contribute to a feeling of hopelessness:

• A sense of not being in control of our own destiny.
• No things of value worth believing in.
• Lack of community.


The sense that we are not really in control of our own lives and destiny is a very tempting, alluring feeling. But it is not a fact anymore than the assumed one that undesirable, bad realities needs changing. The real fact is that it is not reality that needs repairing, but rather our faulty, incomplete perceptions of it. The feeling of not being in control comes about by letting our feelings control our thoughts, rather than vice versa as they are designed.

There are basically two kinds of feelings—positive and negative. Positive feelings are just nature’s way of letting us know we are on the right path to where we need to be headed, whereas negative feelings are a gentle warning that our path may not be the best approach to solving a problem ahead of us. This is true about what we focus on trying to control in our lives—basically everything as opposed to what is actually a controllable fact.

Trying to control uncontrollable events in life is a great source of frustration that leads to hopelessness. When we make the effort to slow down and become more present now—allowing memories of the past and expectations of the future to fade from consciousness—we get to the point of understanding what is most controllable in the equation of us and life.

This critical mindful understanding is not the events that happen to us, but rather our personal opinions of these things and the reaction we choose to make in response to what happens. In essence, we cannot control what happens to us in life, until we begin to control our reactions to what happens. Too often we get the cart before the horse. This is also the inherent value of genuine hope, rather than the artificial hope we use to combat feelings of hopelessness, which we mistake as facts.


We all have different priorities when it comes to embracing values worth believing and defending, when that becomes necessary through exclusiveness. For some. it is money, materialism, for others it is religious or political enlightenment, purpose and meaning, or good health. For many it is personal growth, improvement and peace of mind. And for many others, it is choosing a profession or work, where we can make a difference in helping the world to become a better place for us all. Very few people have the same priorities of values or even the same values.

The odd thing about this is, that whatever values we choose to embrace, are automatically assume them to be the right ones, while others are embracing all the wrong values. It is war with “us” against” them as one of the basic conflicts in life. But that is just a feeling and not a fact and when we remember this, then tolerance, acceptance and understanding start replacing the destructive habit of judgment against other’s values not aligned with our own. This inclusiveness is the basis for transforming hopefulness from a feeling to a fact.

Here is some simple, sound advice in choosing your values and their priority in your own life. If the values and their priority in your life, result in what you thought you would gain before you had them, then they might be the right ones for you. But if the money, purpose, meaning, religion, work or other values you rushed to embrace and defend, don’t give you what you want, then consider pursuing other values or rearranging the priority of the ones you have.


Without the inclusive emotional support of others aligned with the values we hold most dearly and jointly pursue with animated passion, the overwhelming feelings of aloneness and alienation cumulatively make life meaningless, empty and dead. We need to be included in a group larger than us alone, with similar values, to feel the fact of hope. We desperately need the assurance that what we value in life is true and worthy of our passionate pursuit.

It is the confident belief in our values being true, that gives us the meaning, purpose and passion that comes from having genuine hope that things are okay now, despite how bad they seem, and will get even better in the future. And there is power in numbers—usually the more the better, in lending the inclusive vs. exclusive support that sustains us.

There is but one caveat about being part of a larger community sharing similar values. This is having the ultimate sense of security—that with or without the value being ultimately true—you are still okay with that fact. When your own chosen security blanket—whether being wrapped tightly around you, or loosely set aside and seen for what it is—still gives you a sound sense of security and well-being, then you have likely made the right choice. If the opposite is true, then use this negative feeling to create a positive fact.

“Always hope for the best outcome, but also have a plan B in your back pocket just in case Murphy’s Law turns out to be truer than not.” ~ The Author.

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is team member PalAmerican Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living on the scenic Snoqualmie River and mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing); The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press); You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence); The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree); Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers); Reality Repair, (Global Vision Press), Reality Repair Rx (Publish America); Thoughts on Happiness; Pearls of Wisdom: A Dog’s Tale (Covenant Books, Inc.) Coming soon: A Cliché a day will keep the Vet Away (Another Dog’s Tale). Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 652-8067 or ckuretdoc.comcast.net.