Hope: A Different Perspective

I’m not that well read about the Greek mythology, but one story always grabbed my attention me like none other. It’s the story of Pandora and her box. It is said that Pandora was the first woman made and was meant to be a punishment. The Greek god Prometheus secretly gave the gift of fire to mankind which made Zeus angry. So as a punishment to mankind Zeus asked Hephaestus to create Pandora, the first female, created to torment mankind. She was a lovely human and all the gods blessed her with a gift. When it came to Zeus, he gave her a box but told her never to open it. Pandora was adored and lived a happy life but was always curious about the contents of the box. One day she opened it and realised that Zeus had trapped all the evil in that one box. As soon as it was opened all the evil was unleashed onto the word. In horror she closed the box with only one content left, hope. As she laid there crying and lamenting over her mistake, hope whispered from the box and Pandora opened it again to let hope escape into the world as a salvation.

I sometimes wonder if hope in reality was one of the evils that was supposed to stay within the box, away from this world. Hope makes us believe that something better will come, that the suffering will end, that evil will be punished and that our circumstances will one day become better. Hope traps us and keeps us satisfied with an illusion that things will get better. I think that was Zeus’s cruel joke, that Pandora will think hope will somehow help mankind fight against the evil she had released. I think Zeus knew hope was the most dangerous of them all, after all the biggest monsters wear the most beautiful disguises.

I look at my life and realise I never experienced what it felt like to be loved; truly, unconditionally, irrevocably loved. Not by my parents; two unhappy creatures trapped in a miserable marriage, driven by regrets and selfishness. Not by my friends; they never knew who I really was, always moulding me into a person that they could find acceptable. Not by my family; they were too busy in their own lives. All my life I tried to make myself acceptable to these people just so that they could love me. I thought if I could succeed academically, be soft spoken, be nice, always smile, never fight, never argue, maybe they will adore me. And for a while they did. But that person was not me, it was just a persona with no depth or maturity. It was a heavy mask to wear that took a lot of energy to carry. It was breaking me, making me rebel. So bit by bit I tore it, showing the real me beneath. I had hope that they will come to like the not so perfect reality that was my existence. I didn’t know at the time that hope makes a fool out of all of us. It was hope that made me cling to them, it was hope that made me suffer in misery trying to be perfect, it was hope that made me return to them over and over again, it was hope that made me believe they could change. It was hope that kept me in all those toxic relationships. Hope that I can win them over, that one day we could be happy. What a naive fool I was.

The reality is that hope is that beautiful monster that will ultimately end up destroying you. I now realize people don’t change and no amount of hope will ever change a person’s circumstances. Lesson one for survival: Give up hope, it will only drag you down. Hope makes us complacent in our circumstances, it keeps us trapped in an illusion, keeps us enduring everything just on the off chance that things will get better. What I learned is that hoping won’t ever change anything, action will. Unless you become the architect of your own destiny nothing will change. Instead of telling people to hope for the best, I think it would be better to tell them to plan and act in their best interest. Your will to change your lot will shape your future and help you over come adversities not hope.

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