Hope is an emotional belief in the possibility of positive outcomes related to events and circumstances within one's personal life, which may regard a minor issue or an extremely important matter. Hope implies a certain amount of perseverance —ie. believing that something is possible even when there is some evidence to the contrary. Beyond the basic definition, usage of the term "hope" follows some basic patterns which distinguish its usage from related terms:
Faith - Hope is subordinate to faith in that while hope is emotional, "faith" carries a divinely-inspired and informed form of positive belief. Hope is typically contrasted with despair, and because despair connotes an ignorance of religious faith, hope likewise carries a connotation being informed, when compared to despair. (In some religions, despair is considered to be a sin.)Optimism - Whereas "optimism" refers to a positive view at a conceptual or intellectual level, "hope" refers to a positive belief at the emotional level. While "optimism" may be rational and informed by facts, "hope" may lack a strong connection to reality.
The term "false hope" refers to a hope based entirely around a fantasy or an extremely unlikely outcome.
Positive thinking - Hope is distinct from "positive thinking", which is a term ofpsychology for a "therapeutic or systematic process of undoing negative thinking (or pessimism)".
Examples of "hopes" include hoping to get rich, hoping for someone to be cured of a disease, or hoping that a person has reciprocal feelings of loves. Examples of "false hopes" include hoping for immortality or hoping for the ability to fly.
Hope was personified in Greek mythology as Elpis. When Pandora openedPandora's Box, she let out all the evils except one — Hope. Apparently the Greeks considered Hope to be as dangerous as all the world's evils. But without hope to accompany all their troubles, humanity was filled with despair. It was a great relief when Pandora revisited her box and let out hope as well.