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Episode 188 - The Hope Paradox

Updated: Mar 24

I'm notoriously not-so-organized, but I've definitely improved over the years. One day I was catching myself in an old thought pattern (something like, "why can't you just do your routines on time each day and keep the house tidy?") when I had a totally new thought:

What if I was NEVER going to be tidy?

What if, after 120 years, I went to shamayim and the check-in angel (is that a thing?) chuckles and says, "but you were NEVER going to be tidy. That wasn't the life you were given--you didn't go into a brain that DOES tidy."

My first reaction would be: "ohhhhh I wasted a LOT of energy."

I don't mean the energy spent on figuring stuff out. I love figuring stuff out.

But the energy invested in wishing I would change. HOPING I would change. WAITING for it to click...

It's not a resonant, grounded, faith-full hope, it's a "if I squeeze my eyes and hope hard enough this thing I hate could go away!" hope.

What if your kid was NEVER going to be a good student and you could just drop the whole thing and focus on helping her be a great PERSON?

What if your husband was never going to be traditionally romantic--it was NEVER going to happen? What about him could you discover if you dropped that?

I don't believe hope is always a problem. But it can be weaponized. Sneaky little feeling.



  1. Shiluach Haken

  2. The Hope Paradox

  3. Emotions

  4. Hope

  5. What Do We Do?

  6. How Does This Apply?

  7. Your Homework


  1. Want to take this work further? I would love to coach you inside my coaching program, How to Glow. It's a no-commitment monthly program where you can get coached every week and be part of an amazing community of women. Ready to give it a try? Join today at

Ep 188 - The Hope Paradox ===

<00:00:00> Kayla Levin: Episode 188, the Hope Paradox.


<00:00:16> Kayla Levin: Welcome to How to Glow, where we get real about building the marriage of your dreams. I'm certified coach Kayla Levin and I help married Jewish women go from surviving and overwhelmed to thriving and connected through practical tips, real life inspiration, and more than a little self-awareness along the way.

<00:00:34> Kayla Levin: Hi ladies. Okay, we've got some really good stuff. Today we're gonna be talking about hope and where you might be using it to make your life a whole lot worse than it needs to be. It's gonna be really interesting.

<00:00:50> Shiluach Haken ---

<00:00:50> Kayla Levin: But first of all, we need to talk about what happened to my house last night.

<00:00:54> Kayla Levin: I just feel the need to share this with everybody, so my, it's not related at all. My husband's friend has a bird's nest in his house, and so there's this obscure mitzvah called Shiluach Haken, which some of you know about, which is to shoo the mother bird away and take the eggs.

<00:01:13> Kayla Levin: So apparently it's a segula for a home. We're still waiting for the keys for our apartment. So he thought like cute, we'll do this. It's a segula. He'll take the kids educational experience. So my husband goes and takes the kids. So nice, right? They came home with the eggs. The eggs are now like in a warm area. I don't even know if it's warm enough.

<00:01:34> Kayla Levin: I'm hoping it's not in my house. And I'm a little convinced that one day when I go make my coffee, which is like right next to where they are, the thing's gonna come out. I'm like, imprint on me. So basically the point of this is to say if you live in Israel and you could be my backup, cuz I'm gonna have to move out.

<00:01:49> Kayla Levin: If that happens, I'll just come live with you for a while. Okay? Cause like not okay. It's gonna be like a baby pigeon following me around or something. This is not like, why do we do this? Why? So that's my life. I hope your life is so much fun. I, I have been thinking a lot lately and been talking to several of my clients about this, this phase.

<00:02:13> Kayla Levin: So like I, you know, I think there's this really long stretch phase, for some of us, depending on, you know, if your family journey is, relatively traditional of like being in the kid years and, it's so easy to slip into believing that this is like a grind.

<00:02:28> Kayla Levin: This is a really hard time of life. And I agree that I think it's like physically demanding. But I think whatever we can do to. Allow this time to be sweet, to be cute. Enjoyable. Yummy, delicious. It goes so far cuz we spent so many years here. And we just, I just wanna encourage all of us to just catch ourselves when we're slipping into that mindset of like, ugh, this is just such a hard time.

<00:02:53> Kayla Levin: It's like, I don't know if that's the story we wanna be telling ourselves.

<00:02:57> The Hope Paradox ---

<00:02:57> Kayla Levin: Okay. But I wanna get into the hope paradox. What is this idea? So, There are emotions. As a coach, I'm very focused on your mindset and the feelings that that mindset creates. Okay? So whatever we're doing, however we're showing up, right?

<00:03:17> Kayla Levin: Because the goal of coaching is for us to, to do better, to accomplish more, to be more the way that we wanna be, right? To be able to be proud of ourselves. We go to bed at night like, wow, that was great, right? And the way we get there, Is we check in with our emotional state, okay? Because if I'm resentful and furious at all the people in my life, or I'm feeling drained and burnt out and like a martyr, I'm really not sustainably gonna be able to show up the way I wanna be showing up.

<00:03:45> Kayla Levin: Okay. And this is what we always try to do. We always, we always try to, you know, like, I'm such a martyr and I'm gonna do all the things, but like, really it's gonna end up with you losing it on everyone. And then we're like, how come I did that? Like, I'm such a bad person. We wanna move earlier. Earlier in this, in the series.

<00:04:01> Kayla Levin: Okay, so before you lost it with your family. You were feeling resentful and drained. Okay. Why were you feeling resentful and drained? I'm not talking about the physical tiredness. I'm not talking about weariness. I'm talking about the emotional state of feeling resentful and drained. Okay. Why were you feeling that way?

<00:04:17> Kayla Levin: It's because of the story you're walking around telling yourself about your life. Okay. Or the people in your life. No, no one helps me. We've all been there, right? No one helps me. No one takes care of me. I have to do everything myself. I'm always the one who has to be the bigger person. I'm always the one who has to keep my temper.

<00:04:35> Kayla Levin: I was like to overcome my husband's behaviors or whatever. Like we, we go and we, we can slip into these stories and we think the place where we need to be careful is down the line when we yell at everyone. But where we need to be careful is in the beginning when we set the train down the track by telling ourselves that story.

<00:04:55> Kayla Levin: And I know that feels like more work, but like I've said to you recently, it's way more work on the other end. Cleaning up the mess from screaming at everyone, dealing with your own shame spiral because you showed up in a way that feels so gross to you. That's a ton of work. And now you yelled at everyone, right?

<00:05:09> Kayla Levin: We do the work in the beginning of being more intentional, what is the story I choose to tell about this? This is why we get so inspired by stories of people who overcame crazy, ridiculous, difficult things and they're out there being the motivational speakers. How is that possible? They should be the ones depressed and curled up in a ball in their bed, and instead it's us who have like relatively good lives and we're like lying in bed scrolling.

<00:05:33> Kayla Levin: Like, I can't deal like, like. What is going on, right? And it's because the mental discipline now, maybe it's possible, your situation is so difficult, you get pushed to a wall and you realize, I have no choice but to think better about this. Maybe that happens for some people, but I think for every one of us, we have the mental discipline of deciding how am I gonna tell the story of my life?

<00:05:54> Emotions ---

<00:05:54> Kayla Levin: So the emotions are so helpful because whatever that story is, is gonna dictate our emotions. And our emotions are gonna determine how we behave. And so there's most emotions are pretty straightforward. I know if I'm feeling resentful, my behavior's not gonna be good. So let me go back and tell my check on my story.

<00:06:10> Kayla Levin: I know if I'm feeling angry, my behavior's not gonna be so good. Let me check on my story. I know if I'm feeling shame, I'm gonna be hiding. Let me check on my story. Okay? There's certain emotions that are pretty straightforward. I know if I'm feeling grateful, I love how I behave. Don't need to check on my story, keep going, right?

<00:06:25> Kayla Levin: If I'm feeling loving, if I'm feeling generous, if I'm feeling abundant. These are gonna create some pretty great behaviors for me. I'm gonna keep those stories, but some emotions are slippery. Okay. One of them, and I think I've talked about this before, but we probably could do another episode, is acceptance, right?

<00:06:46> Kayla Levin: Because we use the word acceptance to sometimes talk about a wholehearted, like I, I accept you, but we often use the word acceptance to mean. I'm signing up to deal with this, but I fundamentally wish it would never have happened in the first place, right? Like I, I, I am accepting this, but it's like, there's like a disappointment laced into the acceptance, but that's not the one we're talking about today.

<00:07:14> Hope ---

<00:07:14> Kayla Levin: The one we're talking about today, is hope. Hope does something very similar. And what's interesting is that unless you're really tuned in with your body, you're not gonna be able to tell the difference. It might feel good both ways. I might hope that my husband would change and become more romantic, and that hope if I'm not being really, really tuned in, feels like a positive emotion.

<00:07:46> Kayla Levin: Maybe that hope even keeps me engaged in like offering up opportunities for him to be different. Hoping for it, thinking about it, anticipating it, right?

<00:07:59> Kayla Levin: It's very different than a hope that comes from loving what is and hoping for more, which I would say would be sort of, when we think of the word , which means trust or faith in, in, in Hebrew, that's a very different energy, right? But it could be used in some ways in the same as hope, right? Like believing for something more.

<00:08:24> Kayla Levin: So the reason I got into this whole idea other than sort of, you know, dealing with it with clients was for myself, because I caught myself in this place of like, one day I'll be the kind of person who like is very routine and very structured and my house will like basically always be tidy because I, I really hope that one day I'll be like that.

<00:08:43> Kayla Levin: And then I had this thought, what if it's like been 120 years and I'm looking back over my life? And I never did, I never became the person. Who was like that and my initial response was, oh my gosh, I would've wasted so much energy. Not in the trying to make things work. The actual practical, like looking for solutions and things are often helpful.

<00:09:09> Kayla Levin: The emotional energy of maybe one day, maybe one day, maybe one day would've been such a waste, not so helpful. Right? It's the same thing if we think about money. It's like an interesting exercise to look at for yourself. What if it's been 120 years and you find out you were never supposed to have money?

<00:09:33> Kayla Levin: Okay. Obviously, I'm talking to somebody who's struggling financially, but just imagine a person who's struggling financially and then she finds out after 120 years it was never part of the story. The narrative was never gonna be that you would have money. That wasn't the thing you were supposed to work on.

<00:09:46> Kayla Levin: Changing the thing you were supposed to work on changing was how you were gonna show up in that scenario. Cuz we don't know the scripts, like we don't really know how the story's gonna end and some of these things are outside our control. So what if the story was we were never gonna have made it. So based on how you're dealing and thinking and feeling about money in your life, for some people that could have been okay.

<00:10:11> Kayla Levin: And I know that I made my best effort. Fine. Uh, I could be proud of myself. I did my hishtadlus I did my best. And for other people it would be a feeling of like, oh, like I had with the neatness one, right? Like, I would've wasted so much energy. Because really, and this kind of does tie back into the acceptance piece.

<00:10:31> Kayla Levin: Where does that kind of hope come from? It's a resistance to what is now. It's not okay that we have debt right now. It's not okay that, you know, we can't take that kind of vacation right now. It's not okay that our friends are able to do this and we're not. And therefore, my hope is really a resistance of what is now.

<00:10:50> Kayla Levin: And it's kind of this like pretty icing that we put on top of a rotten cake. It feels nice, but again, this is why I talked about if you can feel, if you can become really sensitive to your feelings, you'll feel, you can sense the rotten cake underneath. You can sense the piece of you that's hoping in a yucky way, in a way that's not resonant, that's not confident, that's not grounded.

<00:11:14> What do we do? ---

<00:11:14> Kayla Levin: So what do we do? Okay, so something, so hopefully at this point, like if this is a situation for you, then something's coming up for you, or you'll notice something come up for you in the course of the next week as this idea sort of percolating for you, right? Like a place where you're just feeling that.

<00:11:27> Kayla Levin: Hopefulness, and I think I gave you the three examples where I see it the most. I would say maybe it would also add, our own bodies. Like if a person wishes she could lose weight or she could become, usually it's weight, but, you know, let's say become stronger or something like that. So it's a resistance to, to ourselves, right?

<00:11:43> Kayla Levin: A resistance to our husbands or a financial situation. Those are the ones that I see the most. But it could be anything. Anything where I'm holding onto this hope. But it's really coming from a place of not being okay with what is. So number one is I want you to just tune into your body. How does your hope feel?

<00:12:05> Kayla Levin: Does it feel good? Is there a desperate or a resistant energy to it? Or is it coming from a place of strength? Does it feel like emunah and belief? Think about what you do believe in. What do you believe will happen that's better than what is now? And how does that feel different than the scenario in your life?

<00:12:30> Kayla Levin: You can even do the same exercise. You can imagine for yourself having that conversation, you're told, oh, but sweetie pie, you were never gonna have money. That wasn't, that, that wasn't the journey you were supposed to take. Would that feel like you had then wasted all the energy, or would you feel like, oh, I did what I was supposed to do.

<00:12:56> Kayla Levin: If your hope is getting louder, when your doubt gets louder, I start to have doubt, and then I start piling hope on top of it. It could be better, I believe, and it's this kind of pushy energy. And check in with your hope, or is your hope coming from a place of this is what is, I can accept what is, and I can still hold space to believe in more.

<00:13:24> How does this apply? ---

<00:13:24> Kayla Levin: I think this could be some really interesting and exciting work for some of you. Let's talk about how this could apply with a husband. Okay, so I like this romantic example. Like I hope that one day he'll be more romantic. I believe that one day, you know, and I think so, unfortunately, I feel like so many people that we play on that, right?

<00:13:42> Kayla Levin: Like if you're a person trying to make money, just find that desperate hope you're good to go. Right. I can tell all of you, I can get all your husbands to treat you exactly like you want. Oh my goodness. That'd be an easier sell. Then maybe I can get you to behave the way you want, which is what we're really doing here if we're honest, right?

<00:14:05> Kayla Levin: So if I'm saying to myself, I hope he'll be different, I hope I'll change. Am I showing with what is now? Have I gotten to a place to be accepting and wholehearted with what is now and here's why. It's really a paradox. I was doing this little like, fun thing one day. I was just kind of doodling and I was, I was playing with, you know, the journey that I see my clients go through.

<00:14:30> Kayla Levin: And I was like, Ooh, wouldn't it be cute if the letters of glow spelled out like the process? So I'm like looking through where does it start with G? Where does it start with L? And I'm like looking through it totally didn't go. There was no way I could not make it work. But what I did find is that Glow can spell out and literally I sound like a second grader, like, right?

<00:14:51> Kayla Levin: Like these are acrostics, but Glow can spell out for traits that really create the kind of energy that we're looking for in showing up. What are those traits? Growth oriented. So how does Hope relate to, you know, I'm gonna run through them and then I'll go back and explain how hope relates. So growth oriented L is loving.

<00:15:13> Kayla Levin: Always optimistic and W is wholehearted. I've been using this and checking in on myself with these ones Growth oriented. How does hope relate to that? Well, we have to have hope in ourselves. We have to have belief in ourselves that we could do better, that we can change, that something could work for us that maybe hasn't worked before.

<00:15:33> Kayla Levin: How does Loving have to do with hope? I don't know. I think it's almost the opposite, right? I think when we think about Loving and Hope, they're a little bit contra. Contraindicated, right? They're a little bit in in conflict with each other. Cause I wanna be loving somebody. And one of the things that we talk about a lot is like, what we want is the experience of unconditional love.

<00:15:55> Kayla Levin: And unconditional love can only happen outside your conditions. We need the people in our lives to do something that makes us crazy. If we wanna experience unconditional love, but we think in the moment that what we need is for to stop doing the things that make us crazy. It's like this really crazy thing, right?

<00:16:13> Kayla Levin: So loving, I don't think has to do with hope. See, hope can go both ways. Optimistic, of course, has to do with hope. What gets us outta bed in the morning, what gets us going? It's there's a belief that there's something good on the horizon. Maybe not better, but something to look forward to. Wholehearted, again, I feel like wholehearted and loving go into sort of the same category.

<00:16:41> Kayla Levin: Wholehearted. Am I willing to be vulnerable? Am I willing to go all in on my marriage? Even though it is the most vulnerable relationship of my entire life, Benny might not respond the way that I want him to, and I am showing a part of myself that's extremely, extremely raw and vulnerable, and sometimes it's not the right thing to do.

<00:17:03> Kayla Levin: But when it is, am I willing to go all in and be completely wholehearted? Where does hope play into that? It's tricky. It's tricky because if I'm wholehearted and I'm all in, because I hope he'll respond this way, could be setting myself up for some disappointment and hurt if I'm wholehearted, because I believe, and I hope that showing up fully in my marriage.

<00:17:31> Kayla Levin: Can only take us to the next level, and I don't know what that's gonna look like, and I don't know what we're gonna have to go through to get there, and I don't know how we're gonna stumble over each other as we change the dance steps. I think that kind of hope can be really powerful.

<00:17:46> Your Homework ---

<00:17:46> Kayla Levin: So again, we wanna be checking back in.

<00:17:48> Kayla Levin: That's my assignment for you for this week. So look for the places where you have hope in your life and see what kind of energy is it really? How is it playing out for you really? And is there a place where you need to step back to reevaluate your story if it's not serving you fully and if it's not having you show up the way that you want to?

<00:18:12> Kayla Levin: That's what I got for you this week. I can't wait to hear from you. I love getting your emails, how you're using this material, how it's coming up for you, and I know I'll be talking about it for sure, inside the How to Glow community. All right, have an amazing week everyone. See you next week. Bye.

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