I wrote an article about letting go a while back but something kept niggling at my heartstrings; something that I didn’t talk about then but probably should have. So, here goes…

Women are all about investments. They invest their time, their energy, their love… in general, they give a lot of themselves. The problem is, sometimes they don’t know when to stop hoping. Yes, that’s right. Sometimes you need to learn that hoping, dreaming, wishing, investing, is not good for you. Let me explain:

I had an aunty that didn’t know when to stop. She was in love with a married man. He kept her on the side for years and even had two children with her. I don’t judge her as she was a victim of her emotions. Yes, she made mistakes but she really loved him. She put all of her hopes in the fact that he would one day leave his wife for her. He never did. In fact she gave him two children…but he never left. He had his cake and he was eating it…

One day it was found out that he was abusing their daughter. Her daughter. She didn’t believe her own child… and still, she hoped. The case went to court, the daughter gave evidence and he was found guilty. Yet, she hoped. He went to prison. The daughter ended up in care. Yet she wrote to him, cried over him, waited for him, lost her relationship with her daughter for him…and she hoped. Today he is out and she is still his ‘bit on the side’. Where was the promise of a true commitment? The wedding bells? The faithfulness? Nowhere to be seen. But still she hopes in his love…until today.

Sometimes it is hard to let go because it is hope that gives us the strength to carry on. It is the faith that one day we will live the life that we have fantasised about for so long. It’s what wakes you up in the morning when you really hate that job. It is raising your children to the best of your ability although the newspapers scream about gang violence and murder. It is trusting in the means to an end, whilst your dream of being whoever or whatever, is closely plastered to your heart... But what if hope is hurting you? Surely, you must let it go.

I don’t write this lightly. It is so painful. It requires a strength that forces you to go against you and everything that you have ever believed to be true. But only when you let go of certain hopes will you be able to give birth to new ones. Healthy ones. Ones that will make you happy. I had to give up hope in the love of my life (so- called). Looking back he treated me badly; put me down; it was his way or the highway and in the end he was unfaithful… but still I hoped. I lived in cuckoo land where I could forgive him and we would get married and… NO. That was it. I didn’t really think past that thought. You could almost see the fairies right? I was so stupid. My hope in him, in love and in a future was bright but the reality wasn’t.

It was only when reality slapped me in the face - a slap so hard that I wept from the depths of my soul - that I realised what I was hoping for was no good for me. I was hoping for Mr Wrong. Hoping for a life of pain, misery and divorce. My hope was invalid. A fraud. It was selling me out. My hope would destroy me. I had to let it go.

Letting go of that hope was one of the hardest things I had ever had to do. I was determined that I would marry this guy and thought like this for 3 years. I didn’t know anything else. I had visited our wedding venue, thought out the entire ceremony and even had my wedding dress packed under the bed. How could I ever hope for something new and let go of all of my plans? I cried and cried and then cried some more. I told him it was over. For real this time. And decided to block his emails and change my number. I did these things on impulse and didn’t give them much thought but when I sat down and pulled out all of my suitcases from under my bed I knew then that this really was the end. They had been under my bed in anticipation for my new life and home: rows of neatly folded dresses and stacks of perfectly heeled shoes – ready for the not so perfect life that I was heading to.

So ladies, it’s time to sit down and analyse what you have been hoping for. Have your hopes been a living hell? Look at your dreams; your desires; your ambitions. Ask yourself if they are truly healthy and if they will really make you happy, or if you are simply deluding yourself. Maybe like my aunt you’re holding out for that guy to leave his wife but for years you’ve been playing second fiddle. Perhaps it’s an ex that left you for someone else but you are 100% certain that he will come back. Or maybe you want to be the next Whitney Houston, but you just don’t have the talent. I don’t know. I can’t say which of your hopes are good for you and which are not. That’s up to you to decide. So, don’t delay. Don’t be afraid to analyse what you are hoping for and to face the serious questions. Don’t sell yourself short because God has high hopes for you!

I don’t mean to sound horrible or cold or blasé about the whole thing because I know firsthand how hoping is sometimes the only thing that we have. Sometimes life deals us a harsh hand and letting go of things that are bad for us is really difficult because deep down we hope that it will all work out. However, the wound that gushes with blood today will be closed up tomorrow. It may take time. You may need friends to comfort you like salve or time alone as your protection and sometimes the scabs of healing are so uncomfortable and unsightly… but in the end you heal. You recover. And you hope again. And if you add faith into the equation (God’s instruction for materialising your hopes), you can be sure that you are on the right path to achieving your dreams.

I had no strength to dream after my biggest dream came crashing down and promised myself that I would never marry. I never looked at another man. I wasn’t interested because I feared the feeling of crushed hopes again. But one day, after years of indifference, a beautiful guy stood next to me on the train and as I looked over at him, that strange flicker of a feeling that I had once recognised was there again. Hope: welcome back.

The End.

“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11”

Finding it hard to hope in anything? Or just need to talk? Call this 24 hour helpline for free, confidential, no obligation advice that will put that much needed spring back into your step. Tel: 020 7686 6000 or send me an email.

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