The Hope Paradox

This may seem like a negative thing to say about hope, but I’m going to say it anyway.

Hope is good. We are wired for hope. Hope provides motivation. But as shouldaholics, we have to be super careful about what we then do to hope with our hypervigilance and perfectionist tendencies.

Hope is designed to keep us motivated through challenging times. 

But if we accidentally let hope get caught up in our spiral of shame, the thing we hope for becomes a defined goal. But not just any goal. It becomes a goal we want achieved NOW (unrealistic timeline) and we then beat ourselves up for not meeting this new expectation in a timely manner.

So during this journey, this tough hard journey, where we need hope to help get us through the tough moments, we shouldaholics add a layer of shame and guilt just because we aren’t quite there yet. Remember, it was a hope, designed to help us keep going, keep learning, don’t worry about failure and mistakes, there’s hope, we can get there… etc. But instead, it’s now why aren’t there yet. This is now the new unreasonable expectation we place on ourselves.

When we spell it out like that, it doesn’t make sense anymore – taking hope and turning it into something for our ever growing to do list of impossible things.

But… we do it all the time. We do it unconsciously and we add a special layer of stress in our lives that only Shouldaholics can perfect.

C’mon Shouldaholics! Join me in taking hope back and making it what it was supposed to do in the first place: give us inspiration and motivation to keep going. Not judgment and criticism that we aren’t there yet, which then makes us lose our momentum.

Doing the Work isn’t meant to add another opportunity for us to bash ourselves. 

You’ve got this, okay? And if you need a little boost or help, you know who to contact.

Published by Sherry Yuan Hunter

Sherry Yuan Hunter is a certified trauma recovery coach and certified parenting coach. Taiwan-born American-Canadian Chinese, married, working mother of two, Sherry identifies as a Sandwich Parent, Third Culture Kid, an untigering Mom, and Recovering Shouldaholic. Based in Toronto, Canada, Sherry has been working in student success programs at University of Toronto for 20 years, supporting students, young professionals, new managers, working moms, and new immigrants to success.

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