“The feelings of powerlessness that often accompany failure start with those all-too-familiar ‘could have’ or ‘should have’ self-inventories. And our fear grows in tandem with the strength of our belief that an opening has been forever closed. Pervasive feelings of powerlessness eventually lead to despair. My favorite definition of despair comes from the author and pastor Bob Bell: Despair is a spiritual condition. It’s the belief that tomorrow will be just like today. My heart stopped what I heard him say this. man. I know what it feels like to be under that rock and to believe, with all of my heart, that there’s no way out and that I’ll be in that exact same spot tomorrow. For me, that feeling is absolutely a spiritual crisis.
In my work, I’ve found that moving out of powerlessness, and even despair, requires hope. Hope is not an emotion: It’s a cognitive process–a thought process made up of what researcher C. R. Snyder called the trilogy of ‘goals, pathways, and agency.’ Hope happens when we can set goals, have the tenacity and perseverance to pursue those goals, and believe in our own abilities to act.”