Thursday, 23 February 2012

Hope and Honesty

For several years now I have used my surname as an acronym around ways to make life easier and happier, e.g. in my blog about easing the pain of loss.

Yesterday as I drove home from a wonderful day at the Open University I realised I had been through a 'H' day - hope and honesty.

The event at the OU was to seek approval from the Nursing and Midwifery council on a new pre-registration Nursing Degree. I was invited as part of my role as service user representative on the Nursing Programme Committee. I never realised how much work or scrutiny went into the formation of a new degree course. The gathered academics, practitioners, stake-holders, etc, all met up with the hope that all their dedication and hard work would be worthwhile - with a few tweaks the new degree was approved and praised. Some of the success stories of people who have achieved a degree through the OU is truly inspirational.

Hope is something you can have that something will happen - you do however usually have to make an effort too! The team yesterday certainly had done that and I feel proud and honoured to be part of them.

'Hope doesn't come from calculating whether the good news is winning out over the bad. It's simply a choice to take action'.  
Anna Lappe.

Another aspect of hope brought a smile to my heart yesterday. During one of the breaks I checked my phone for messages to find one about a friend who had delivered two healthy girls yesterday. For many years she and her husband have faced the stress and heartache of being unable to conceive. As a couple they have so much to offer - love, stability, a supportive family. They could have become bitter - why when they have so much to give could they not have a child? Instead they kept hold of hope. They took action. They didn't give up even when their dream was crushed many times. Yesterday twin girls safely delivered! Fantastic!

Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.
Dale Carnegie

In both of the above examples people have made choices, communicated well and cared about the outcome. They have been honest about their goals and feelings along the way.

Yesterday morning I was faced with a decision about honesty. I did something foolish. In getting ready in the hotel room I used my curling tongs. The position of the plug and mirror was a bit awkward and I was rushing (pathetic excuses). I curled my hair, unplugged the curling tong and (yes!) threw it on the bed for a few moments whilst I went to check my hair in the bathroom mirror. When I can back through to the bedroom I realised the stupid thing I had done - sure enough, I had scorched the beautiful white duvet cover. Oh no!

So what could I do? Turn it over and hope the chambermaid wouldn't notice as she striped the bed and tossed it amongst the rest of the linen on the corridor? Surely I would get away with it? I have never, ever damaged a hotel room before. Surely this once didn't matter did it? The hotel are a multi-national chain and must have insurance, so it didn't matter, did it? The Open University were paying my expenses and they wouldn't notice either. So that didn't matter ....

To me it did. How can I speak and write about honesty and authenticity if I don't apply it to myself? How could I spend the rest of the day being welcomed by warm, friendly and professional people knowing I had left 'damage'?  Simply, I couldn't. I had done something wrong. Charged as guilty. It was my fault and I had to take responsibility.

As I checked out and was politely told 'Everything is fine' I confessed that it wasn't! I explained what I had done; how sorry I was and to please let me know if I needed to pay for a replacement. I was thanked for my honesty and left the hotel feeling far better than had I said nothing! As the day progressed I knew that had I not been honest it would have played on my mind all day/week/forever. What if they rang the OU to complain and report me? What if I damaged their reputation in addition to my own?  It was not worth the worry and reputation damage. 

If the cost is for a replacement it is far better than living with the cost of guilt - because I HAD done something wrong.

Being honest cheered me up rather than feeling glum and worried! 

If you need cheering up in another way look at this Cheergiving website

The past is a source of knowledge, 
and the future is a source of hope.
Stephen Ambrose

I have made a decision today too - my new website will launch on Monday 5th March! I am hopeful and being honest!!

What are you hopeful for? What are you being honest about?

Elaine x

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