Warning! This essay may not be for everyone! However, it may have relevance to a friend or relative. If so, print it out or share it on FaceBook or Twitter. If it helps one person become depressed or unhappy due to making a rash choice, it will have been worth the time to type out my thoughts. It is written in a way that encourages thought and offers suggestions on how to view our world differently.

Cope Not Hope

Those of you who follow my Facebook page will know I enjoy a daily walk. It is something which has two benefits. One, it is good for my health, and secondly, it gives me thinking time. I am away from the phone and internet, free to think about progress and the day ahead. 

One reason for long-term problems is people fail to plan or think about the requirements or implications of their commitments. My daily walk allows me to think carefully about my choices.

Consider this example of a poor or rash thought:

It is easy to say, “Do you know what? We’ll have a Christmas meal at my home” Imagine it is a spur of the moment comment. Is there a possibility of regretting the invitation later? A casual and grand gesture has now added an extra burden to an already busy schedule. 

Once the invite is made, it is difficult to retract. Guilt will play an important part in not reversing the offer. For examples of guilt sources, you will know those invited are released from a heavy burden: you have taken responsibility from them: and guests will be looking forward to the occasion.

Some of you will say: “I’d never do such a thing, John” So, a reminder, this is for those who make rash choices, and many people do so; spontaneous decisions can cause hours of guilt, pain and possible long-term psychological problems. At this time of the year, our resistance to say ‘no’ is at its lowest. There is unbelievable external pressure to spend more than is available and make difficult commitments. Therefore awareness of the problem should be discussed.

The is NO suggestion we should not enter the spirit and enjoy the festive season. There is no inference that we should not have family gatherings and social interactions. I am guiding readers to: “Think carefully about what is within your means. Consider the implications of what the commitment will mean financially and how much effort will be involved. It is wise before making any responsibility to respond to doubt. If there is doubt or knowledge, a choice will overburden you, do not commit.

This essay contains life lessons, not Christmas lessons!. All can be learned and used throughout the year. In fact, it is an insight into aspects of my work and courses. 

With many problems, a solution is discovered in the ‘why of the issue. Knowing ‘why’ it has occurred helps us understand the problem. The reason for the decision is the ‘why’. For example: Why does a fictitious man enter into debt to buy a watch? If it is because it makes him feel wealthy and is a status symbol? Or may help in his quest for success? If so, he could run into trouble. Before making the purchase, he should consider the ‘how’ of choice: how will he pay for the item if he ignores the ‘how’ of purchasing the watch and is centred on the ‘why,’ his choice could cause future problems.

It is a prudent lesson to ask ‘why’ do I need this or ‘why’ should I buy this? And then ask ‘how’ can I buy this? And this counts for buying presents and entering into agreements. 

Return to the meal example: 

It is a great idea; the family will come to the table, everyone will enjoy the three or four hours. The gathering is the reason or the ‘why’ of the invitation. Now consider the ‘how’ of the decision: How much will it cost? How much commitment will it take? How much will the preparation and result be enjoyed? The ‘how’ must always come before the ‘why’!

Another lesson is now considered: 

On a deep psychological level, if the invitation is in reality beyond one’s resources, stress will result. The inner self knows the truth; the outer self makes excuses and poor choices. And because the inner self is ill at ease, stress is the result. 

To clarify: The knowledge of ‘why’ the invitation is made could be one or all of the following: the joy of a family gathering,  a celebration. However, by ignoring the ‘how’ in the long term, the celebration is short-lived.

Is there another way of avoiding this type of problem? 

Yes, there is:

Ask these two questions:

“Do I hope the meal will go well.”
“Can I cope with the commitment?”

When listening to clients, I could hear something like this “What hope is there, John?” It is almost as if they feel there is a magical ability to give a specific answer. The question is answered in this way. “If we change the word hope for cope, and then consider the aspects of the situation, answers will be discovered”, Ask this question instead “How do I cope with this John?” Soon we will be working through the options and life changes that transform the client’s life.

A commitment to reality helps us cope with a situation. For example, our wages do not increase during Christmas. The festive overspend will have to be paid for in the months ahead is a reality ignored by many. 

So we return to the questions: 

“Do I hope the meal will go well.”
“Can I cope with the commitment?”

If the answer is: “I hope the meal will go well” there is a possible problem.

If the answer is: “I can cope with this meal”  there is no problem.

Here is a fantastic life changing question “Do I hope or can I cope?” 


When making a choice (any choice), consider the ‘hope’ to make the decision work. And then ask can if you can ‘cope’ with the decision. Try this next time a choice is considered. You will be surprised at the effectiveness of the questions.

Let us take this further:

Do not believe I’m saying everyone is in this situation: Of course not! This is not an essay of doom and gloom. It suggests we should think about those around us and consider their situation. My suggestion is this: If you have a friend who is overreaching themselves, tell them you don’t need a present or expect them to spend unnecessarily. Demonstrate compassion and care for those who have less or are in difficult situations. Guide them how to cope, not live in hope.

You may say “Yes! But we all need hope John” My answer is “A possible solution may give us hope, however learning to cope with the situation will see us through the day, week, month, year!”

Let us consider how to find a solution to a problem. The problem is a choice has overburdened the mind. (there are many situations where we can use the same idea). 

The solution to the overburdened mind is to talk truthfully about the mistake.

Consider this situation: 

A friend calls and says, “I cannot fulfil my obligation because the truth is I have not the ability to see the promise through. My resources are low, and I am worried about letting people down. The guilt is hurting me, and I cannot sleep”.

Think for a moment and ask how you will reply. Most of us will understand and respect the truth and have encountered a similar situation. I would answer, “No problem, what can I do to help” There would be no anger or frustration; compassion and caring take over. I would free my friend from any obligation without a second thought.

We can surmise from this if there is a need to apologise or cancel an engagement, people will not be as upset as believed. Always think about how you would receive the news you are about to give. This is key to being free from guilt when there is a need to reverse a situation.

Final Thought:

What if a person has little money and is considering entering debt to buy a present? How could he deal with this situation? On the one hand, he wants to give a present. On the other, he cannot afford to give one. A possible answer is he could write a card and give the gift of truth in a written sentiment. 

How would these words affect you, as you read the friends own made card?

“I cannot give you any more than my love, friendship and support. I may be poor in the pocket today, But I’m rich in friendship forever Much love XXXX”.

Would the words mean more than a trinket never to be used, or not liked? Would the words become a treasured memory? 

And how do the words help the person who wrote them? Let’s find out:

“I cannot give you any more than my love, friendship and support” These words are written by someone who has found the meaning and reason for happiness. They show human compassion and the understanding of genuine relationships.

“I may be poor in the pocket today” These are words of the future, they are words of coping and understanding. The words say ‘this is not where I will always be, there is, and will be a better future’.

“I’m rich in friendship forever,” These words say ‘There is no better wealth than loyalty’. If a man values friendship and love beyond possessions. It would be impossible possible to buy his needs, this is a wonderful realisation.


This essay contains thoughts and ideas for consideration. Nothing is set in stone. To make progress during life it is wise to seek other perspectives. Thank you for reading my words.

Enjoy Your Day

John Richardson

Note: The way to work with and understand the inner self is an aspect taught during my courses. Remember, when sifting through a problem: the initial question should be ‘why’ did I make a choice?” Once the ‘why’ is known, the issue begins to unravel in the ‘how’ the choice was acted out. 

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