I am reading the most wonderful book, The Anatomy of Hope: How People Prevail in the Face of Illness. The author, Dr. Jerome Groopman, writes, "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.
"Clear-eyed, hope gives us the courage to confront our circumstances and the capacity to surmount them. For all my patients, hope has proved as important as any medication I might prescribe or any procedure I might perform."