If you haven’t seen Ted Lasso yet, stop what you’re doing and go binge watch this show. Don’t take breaks, just watch from start to finish. It’s only three seasons so you can absolutely do it.
Now that you’ve seen one of the greatest shows ever created, you’ll likely remember Ted’s speech at the end of the first season about hope (and if you don’t, you can watch it here). He very eloquently debunks the idea that “it’s the hope that kills you” by stating that it’s actually the lack of hope that kills you.
Yeah, I know. If you’re like me and have seen the show several times, you’re ready to interject with BUT IT WAS THE HOPE THAT KILLED US IN THAT EPISODE.
And you’re right. The end of that episode is heartbreaking (sorry, slight spoiler), and as a result, doesn’t really confirm an answer to that question. It was an emotional rollercoaster of hope and then disappointment. So is it the hope that kills you? Or is it the lack of hope?
My answer: Both.
If you’ve ever loved a sports team, you felt the pain of that season one finale HARD. It was the most accurate depiction of the highs and lows of fandom that I’ve ever seen in my life (IYKYK). You never know when the game’s going to end with heartbreak, and you might say that’s why hope kills you. It’s pretty terrible when you’re expecting the best and end up with the worst. The emotional equivalent of a huge rollercoaster drop isn’t really something you look forward to.
There’s a downside to avoiding that disappointment though.
If you never experience the hope, then you never get to feel what it’s like when it does work out. You won’t experience the pure joy when your team is on the winning side at the last second. Or the feeling of knowing you’re in exactly the right place at the right time.
There’s a time and a place to put yourself out there like that. Your heart can only take so many breaks, and it’s unrealistic to expect a person who has been through some sh*t to continue to put their feelings on the line as if those let downs never existed. If that’s what you expect from yourself, you’re setting yourself up for failure. Instead of opening up to everything or closing yourself off entirely, choose when the time feels right to let yourself have some hope.
If you’re always getting your hopes up, yeah it’s the hope that kills you. But if you never do, the lack of it will also do you in.
Like so many things, balance is key. It’s a lifelong process to learn when to wear your heart on your sleeve and when to be a little more guarded. If you’re working on knowing the difference (therapy is a great place for this, just saying), you’re already doing great. Keep it up.