In 2021, we celebrated each relevant monthly event through our monthly article
In 2022, we are going to discuss specific topics
FAITH . HOPE . LOVE
FAITH . HOPE . LOVE
When I started writing this article, it was already the third week that Russia invaded Ukraine. Number of cities in Ukraine were attacked by the Russian army, and photos and photos flooded into different social medias, showing Ukrainian fleeing out of their own country. Families separated, babies and children cried and some children were unaccompanied by adults, women and seniors were dragging their exhausted bodies walking miles and miles away from their homes for safety. United Nations indicated that there were already 2.8 million Ukrainians fled to other countries for refuge. There was a video clip showing a child singing in front of people who were seeking protection under the metro station to find shelter. And another woman telling the journalist that there was no time for grief but to help others.
We saw anti-war protests in Russia, and how the protesters were arrested by Russian police because of their cry for peace. A Russian-Canadian was interviewed disapproving Russian invasion, saying that she attended the protest for Peace. This unprovoked invasion led the world to disruption, chaos, fear, frustration, anger, doubt, and helpless.
However, this war had drawn Ukrainian closer, and the world more united. Many countries had tried their best to provide help and support for the Ukrainian, and also stood up to condemn Russia’s barbarian act.
When 2.8 million Ukrainians are fleeing to different countries, they have the same belief – the FAITH that their country will win the war. They will not be defeated. They have the same HOPE – the hope that can bring them back home. And they have the same LOVE – the love that keeps them all united. This war shows the dark side of human beings – power, greed, control, and hate. But it also reminds me of the bright side, the basic of human being – FAITH, HOPE and LOVE. And these 3 basic elements help build our mental wellness, our moral belief and our humanitarian value.
When the power of love overcomes the love of power, the world will know PEACE
- Jim Hendrix
As stated by Wikipedia, ‘Faith’ derived from Latin fides and Old French feid, which means confidence or trust in a person, thing, or concept. In 2014, Rachael Popcak and Dr. Gregory Popcak described the connection between ‘Faith’ and ‘Spirituality’, where ‘Faith’ is an internal feeling, a sense that there is “something more” and ‘Spirituality’ represents the effort to find out what the “something more” might be.
Spirituality is the connection to something bigger, which helps a person in figuring out the greater answer of how they fit in the rest of the world, and understand their interpretation of the meaning of life.
In recent decades, researchers were putting efforts in studying the relationship between ‘Spirituality’ and ‘Mental Well-being’, and recognized that spirituality may in fact serve protective and healing roles in the face of emotional suffering.
Below are some ways to practice spiritual health:
Explore yourself: Who am I? What is my purpose? What do I value most?
Breathe: Deep breathing helps us to relax. Set time just to focus on your breathing without doing anything.
Connect with the nature: When focusing at the nature, we can appreciate the wonder of the earth, and can gain new perspective about our surroundings.
Meditation: A time to connect with yourself, a time to be present and calm yourself after serious thoughts.
Read inspirational articles and quotes: Helps to reenergize and motivate ourselves.
Pray: Prayer is a way to connect with the higher wisdom, and a way to seek for peace.
Journaling: helps to build up our awareness by writing down our thoughts, feelings and experiences.
A 6-year-old child has a great demonstration of FAITH during the war. The child was living with his parents in Ukraine, and his mother was very worry about their safety. This brave innocent child comforted his mother saying, ‘Mommy, don’t cry. God is with us. We will win.’
FAITH is unseen but felt,
FAITH is strength when we feel we have none,
FAITH is hope when all seems lost.
- Catherine Pulsifer
Nancy Colier, a psychotherapist and interfaith minister said, ‘Hope is actually fundamental to our basic wellbeing’. In recent years, researches showed ‘hope’ is a robust predictor of mental health. It provides resilience against traumatic events, and biologically, hope helps release endorphins and lowered our stress levels, and make people more productive. Hope is a resource that people can rely on to cope with all kinds of different stressors.
There are lots of things that happened are not controlled by us. But being hopeful is something we can hold on to and practice. To maintain HOPE, gratitude and appreciation are the most important components. Even though hope cannot solve many challenges or societal issues, it can help people to stay strong and be positive in facing life obstacles. Having hope is to leave room for the unknown.
Hope gives people the will, determination, and sense of empowerment that allows them to reach their goals. Research had indicated that the power of hope can support the wellbeing of humans, even more than optimism or self-efficacy.
HOPE Is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness
- Desmond Tutu
We all know LOVE is the most powerful elements for healing. Abraham Maslow, a psychologist, introduced the concept of hierarchy of needs in ‘A Theory of Human Motivation’ in 1943. LOVE is one of the most important needs after basic needs (physiological and safety needs) are met. Love is a mix of emotions, beliefs and behaviours that characterized by affection, intimacy, passion, care, protectiveness and commitment.
There are different kinds of love:
Friendship: which involves liking and sharing.
Infatuation: which involves intense feelings of attraction without a sense of commitment. That often refers to the early stage of a relationship.
Passionate love: which involves feelings of longing, and an idealization of the other person.
Compassionate love: which involves trust, affection, intimacy, and commitment.
Unrequited love: which involves love that does not expect the return of the same feeling.
The western tradition from the Greeks distinguishes four types of love:
Eros: erotic, passionate love which is about feeling sexually attractive than about the person who is the focus of that love.
Philia: love of friends and equals which is about friendship and lovers.
Storge: love of parents for children which is the most natural kind of love that parents have for their children. This kind of love has the highest tolerance and acceptance.
Agape: love of mankind which is about love that is given whether or not it’s returned. It modeled on the love of God in Christianity. This is the kind of love that is without self benefit. And this is the love that is important in the process of forgiveness.
Based on the study by Stanford University School of Medicine, it suggested intense, passionate feelings of love can provide amazingly effective pain relief. Human sufferings are unavoidable. But LOVE is something we all can nurture and give.
With the Ukrainian war that is happening now, the world is standing up, working together to support in many different ways. Volunteers are everywhere, those in Poland, Slovakia… are staying up to provide as much as they can, those out in North America and other parts of the world are sending out medical supplies, food and necessities, fundraising events are everywhere and donations are coming in. A senior who was taking supplies to a donation centre was crying and feeling pain for the Ukrainians. Our world is united with LOVE.
Where there is LOVE, there is life
- Mahatma Gandhi
Love grows by giving. The love we give away is the only love we keep. The only way to retain love is to give it away.
- Elbert Hubbard
Love is patient, love is kind.
It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.
It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking,
it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.
It always protects, always trust, always hope, always perseveres.
- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
- 1 Corinthians 13:13
A prayer for Ukraine
(from Catholic Agency for Overseas Development)
We pray for the people of Ukraine,
for all those suffering or afraid,
that you will be close to them and protect them.
We pray for world leaders,
for compassion, strength and wisdom to guide their choices.
We pray for the world
that in this moment of crisis,
we may reach out in solidarity
to our brothers and sisters in need.
May we walk in your ways
so that peace and justice
become a reality for the people of Ukraine
and for all the world.