Hope is one of our central emotions, but we are often at a loss when asked to define it. Many of us confuse hope with optimism, a prevailing attitude that “things turn out for the best.” But hope differs from optimism. Hope does not arise from being told to “think positively,” or from hearing an overly rosy forecast. Hope, unlike optimism, is rooted in unalloyed reality. Although there is no uniform definition of hope, I found one that seemed to capture what my patients had taught me. Hope is the elevating feeling we experience when we see–in the mind’s eye–a path to a better future. Hope acknowledges the significant obstacles and deep pitfalls along that path. True hope has no room for delusion.

Jerome Groopman MD

4 thoughts on “Hope

  1. There are so many ways to define hope. This post is great at deep thinking it.

    I found myself spaced out trying to determine what hope means to me. Great post!


    • Hi Ivory,

      I think that I am going to settle on this definition because it I do see my path and so I can see the connection between a healing path and hope.

      I’m no good at blind faith or trust or optimism. And that is okay.

      Thanks for your comments.



  2. I agree.. Great Post!
    Hope is a lot of the times seen as a bad thing… People often say, I hope you feel better etc… A lot of peole see this as a negative expression and they replace it with something like I trust that you’ll feel better soon.. For me – I see this as a very positive thing. Hope is a very positive word.

    I like the definition you gave.. For me its making a way where there is none! Hope usually is the last option, but its always there!!! Its amazing!


    • Hi Identity,


      I also love the way hope is described in the movie “The Shawshank Redemption.” I will try to find that, I know I have it written down somewhere and post it here as well.

      Good and healing thoughts to you.



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