Why do I feel hopeless? A question many of us ask ourselves often when every day, all around us we see circumstances that are heartbreaking, difficult, and that reminds us of the ugliness within humanity. We may even look at our own situations that seem so small, but still evoke feelings of fear, loss, and hopelessness. Sometimes, these feelings are hard to shake and we get stuck living in them. That feeling of being stuck is a symptom of the answer to why we feel hopeless.
What if I told you, it all has to do with your brain? Your beautiful amazing brain loves to tell you what to think and that ultimately leads to what you feel. It’s a cycle that your mind and body go through thousands of times a day and sometimes that cycle repeats day after day. It repeats until your cycle is so automatic, so ingrained, you do not even realize you are feeling it and living it, or that you are also thinking it.
When you feel hopelessness your brain can tell you some really ugly statements. They are powerful because you listen even when they are sneaky and you aren’t mindful of them. They carve themselves deep into your patterns until they seem as though they have always been there.
These statements are powerful because as a whole, in society, it is deemed acceptable to believe the bad, the negative, the flaws, and the unattractive about ourselves. While if we acknowledge and rejoice in our good, the positive, or our talents we are perceived as prideful, full of ourselves, and are often on the “outside” of the societal circle. With these observations, you can see society’s contributions to why you feel hopeless.
What your brain tells you:
- Nothing will ever change.
- I have nothing left for me to look forward to.
- What is the point?
- Everything always goes wrong.
- I have no future.
- I am a failure.
- Nobody will ever love me.
- I will never measure up.
These thoughts are hard and difficult. They are labels, generalizations, and they only offer a finalized decisive thought. Circumstances in our lives are always fluid. One may end, but another always begins, and in this truth, we find that there can be hope. This knowledge brings us into awareness and allows us to see where we are being influenced so that we may change that influence.
The influence your thoughts have on your emotions.
When you have a thought, such as, “Nothing will ever change,” it produces a physiological response in your body in the form of emotion, in this case…hopelessness. These emotions are only as powerful as you allow them to be. If you can become aware of the thoughts you are having you can limit, even change, the emotional response.
You may find yourself experiencing a range of emotions that combined create hopelessness. Some of these may be:
- Not feeling safe in the world
While your body may feel:
- Struggling to get out of bed
- Losing the desires to go and do what you once enjoyed
The actions you take or do not take are set in motion by the emotions in your body. Think of a moment when you felt that hope was lost. How your heart ached, how you felt like you were on the edge of falling apart, how your body ached with exhaustion and tears were never far away. When you are physically feeling hopeless you either respond with actions that correlate or stay stuck where you are.
From emotion to action.
When you feel a certain way you act that way. Hopelessness often shows up as inaction. You may find yourself:
- Losing interest in activities that you enjoyed
- Physically feeling sluggish and exhausted
- No longer wanting to try
- Choosing to give up on goals you were working towards
- No longer interested in your relationships
- Withdrawing from living…simply existing
- Not concerned or caring about the consequences of your action or inaction
This is where your cycle really starts to play out. You think thoughts that lead you to feel hopeless and so you act hopeless. This leads to results that are hopeless (in your perception). For example, you think, “Nothing will ever change.” You feel hopeless so you move into inaction and do nothing to change where you are. The result is that nothing changed. This reinforces your thought that “Nothing will ever change” because you just gave your brain proof that that statement is true. With repetition, this cycle creates a limiting belief that your brain then starts acting upon.
Your hopeless belief.
Remember how this all started in that beautiful brain of yours? Well, that is where your limiting belief makes its new home. Since your brain believes that your thought, “Nothing will ever change” is true it uses it to guide you, protect you, and even to provide answers to the questions you think.
This leads you to believe that this feeling of hopelessness carries an undeniable truth within and that the thoughts you think that led to this feeling are definite. And that is the answer to the question, “why do I feel hopeless?”
It will never change. You will never measure up. It’s simply not worth it.
So, why try?
You can find the answer to that question on this blog post. It’s worth a read. Promise.