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Hope (and Trust and Faith) Is a Muscle

I’ve been taking pictures of the moon lately. When I snapped this pic, I didn’t notice until later the small green “moon” just to the right of the main one. I’m not sure what that is – a passing UFO, perhaps? But to me, this mysterious picture is exactly what having faith, hope, trust, reliance feels like to me.

“Hope is a muscle.”

When my yoga teacher, Adriene, first said this, I was in the midst of attempting to balance in a pose she calls “humble warrior” and I call “hanging off the edge of a cliff.”

With all muscles locked and loaded – not to mention keenly interested in anything that would keep us from landing nose-first on the hardwood floor – I processed this like, “Hope. Muscle. Uh huh. Got it.”

It wasn’t until later that I realized there isn’t a single muscle in my body named hope…or trust, or faith, for that matter. Adriene talks about this trio a lot in some of our lessons, and currently I have the words “Hope” and “Trust” along with “Reliance” (another form of faith Adriene mentioned recently) written on my dry erase boards just above my writing desk.

It is necessary, so I won’t forget.

Unlike “hamstring” or “gluteus maximus,” hope, faith, trust, reliance and their ilk feel strangely disembodied. 

To me, they are more like ghosts, or desert mirages, or UFO sightings – deeply intriguing, but difficult to verify and nearly impossible to prove. They belong to everyone and no one. They come and go as they please.

So it is very easy to forget about them, to forget there are things in this world that can’t be seen with the eyes or touched with the hands yet have sufficient street credit to be considered real anyway.

I’ve always loved the idea of wild angels. And I inhale any stories I can get my hands on about mysterious strangers that show up just when someone needs them most and then disappear without a trace. To me, these stories are the most tangible evidence that hope and trust, reliance and faith are present, have a presence, are awake and alive and aware to develop a relationship with for those who want to do so.

I would like to consider hope and faith, trust and reliance my mentors. I would like to believe I have hope. I would like to know that I have faith, trust, reliance. But I don’t really know.

There are days I genuinely wonder, “Will I ever be happy again?”

“Will things ever get better – feel better?”

“Will I ever stop hurting?”

“Will I ever feel really proud of myself, really glad I am me and not somebody better, stronger, braver, smarter, more giving, more generous, more loving and kind?”

This is when I feel like, well at least I have hope.

I must have so much hope.

But the trust, the faith, the reliance parts….for now, all I can really do that feels authentic and practical is to dangle my hope like bait and see what happens next.

Today’s Takeaway: Do you have a favorite among these four: trust, reliance, hope, faith? Does one resonate more than the others? Do you find you have an easier time feeling or experiencing or holding on to one? I’d love to hear your experiences!

Hope (and Trust and Faith) Is a Muscle

Shannon Cutts

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APA Reference
Cutts, S. (2018). Hope (and Trust and Faith) Is a Muscle. Psych Central. Retrieved on June 16, 2019, from


Last updated: 31 Dec 2018
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