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The fear of hope

Often I hear clients tell me what they ‘hope’ will happen in the future.  Working with someone in London, it became clear that hope in this case was really the ‘fear of expressing the fear’.  Rather than saying ‘I fear that this will happen’, they were expressing ‘I hope that the opposite will happen’.
 
Hope is not a bad thing – when it is based on realistic optimism.  However, when it is the only way that someone can express their ‘fear’, then their ‘fear of their fear’ only catches them deeper in their situation – and puts another layer between them and their solution.
 
Often, from a strategic hypnotherapy point of view, I see such clients running external locus of control (they are not in control, something else is), powerlessness and a stable attribution style (nothing can change) and negative expectation (only bad things will happen).  Sometimes our fears do come true, but not as often as people like to imagine.  Working on realigning their cognitive filters often allows people to see their fears in context. 
 
Hope is great when there are two important support pieces – a strategy and skills.  Being optimistic and motivated is only start of getting what you want – having an appropriate strategy and the skills to work toward it are vital.  In hypnotherapy, sometimes helping individuals with their strategies and building skills is what turns ‘hope’ into ‘optimism and action’.
 
What are you hoping for?  Is it fear of fear, or optimism?  What strategies and skills do you need to make it happen?
 
Live Well,
 
Philip Owens