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5 Ways to Cultivate Hope in Your Community

5 Ways to Cultivate Hope in Your Community

Grocery shopping was not on my overloaded agenda yesterday, but I could no longer delay buying peanut butter and milk. Frazzled, harried, and feeling discouraged by recent challenges at home and work, I grabbed my essentials and ran to the checkout line, doing my best to breathe normally.

A woman wearing her grocery uniform stood behind me in line. I looked at her, and she smiled generously at me.

“How is your day today, dear?” she asked, with compassion in her voice.

“Fine.” I responded, not wanting to talk but wanting to be polite. “How is your day?”

“Well, I just clocked out a little early and now I get to go home and rest. I am so grateful for that!”
she laughed. “Lord knows, I need the rest!”

Immediately, I relaxed and smiled and let go of the tyranny of the urgent of my day.

I paid for my groceries, and my new acquaintance beamed, “May God bless you!”

In 1 minute, a neighbor cultivated a seed of hope in me.

I was reminded that I’m not alone and that I am surrounded by people in my community who see me and believe in the goodness of the present moment.

In my role at IDEAS, I regularly hear incredible stories of how communities around the world are being transformed by hope. However, I often forget that cultivating hope begins in my own local community.

Here are 5 ways I’ve learned to cultivate hope in my community.

  1. Be present. Notice your surroundings. What do you see? hear? smell? feel? Who are the people next to you right now? Often I let my agenda and objectives overrun me, and I forget I’m in the sacred presence of another human being.
  2. Make eye contact and smile. We all have the core need to be seen. This simple gesture communicates compassion and acceptance. Plus it’s contagious!
  3. Practice generosity. Be generous with your time, gratitude, resources, and encouragement, not only with others but also with yourself. Click here to discover the added benefits of generosity.
  4. Do what you love and invite others to join you. What makes you come alive? What do you enjoy creating? There are others who will want to join you in your passion! 
  5. Develop the language of “yet.” This 3-letter-word opens all sorts of possibilities. For example, compare “I can't do that” with “I can't do that YET.”

At the moment, you are my virtual neighbor. I'm looking at you and smiling as I write. How have you experienced the cultivation of hope in your own community today?

About the Author: Deirdre works in the IDEAS office as the Director of Growth and Development. She teaches Hebrew, is an avid runner, and loves silent retreats. Enjoy other blog posts by Deirdre, such as 8 Gifts of Gratitude.