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Depending on Misleading Hopes

In the same way that self-assurance and reliance on one's efforts and perseverance for the sake of attaining one's goal are the biggest factors behind success, so also depending on baseless hopes and cherishing unrealistic aspirations in one's heart, instead of effort and action, are the result of distancing oneself from realities of life. Sometimes certain pleasing desires and sweet fancies leave such a deep impression on one's mind that one gets captivated by impossible dreams, becoming unable to perceive facts and see realities. Such persons never succeed in attaining perfection and felicity. 'Ali, the Commander of the Faithful, may Peace be upon him, said:

Consider illusory hopes as false, and do not rely upon them. Such hopes are misleading and one who entertains them falls victim to their deception. 2

One of the dangers of relying on inappropriate and illusory expectations is that when they are shattered due to obstacles they give rise to a psychological complex in people. In one of his precious sayings Imam 'Ali, may Peace be upon him, considers failed expectations as one of the factors leading to psychological complexes. He says:

The feeling abasement and inferiority in men arises due to failed hopes and expectations. 3

The psychologists also consider defeat and failure as one of the important causes of an inferiority complex and a lack of self-assurance.

Perhaps no factor is more damaging to one's sense of self-respect than failure and blame for failure. Failure leads a person to consider himself inferior to others, and on facing defeat he begins to imagine that he is inferior to other people. Failure destroys self-assurance and as a result defeatism takes the place of self-confidence. Hence when children and young people face recurring failure. they feel humiliated and an inferiority complex is formed in them. 4

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2. Al-Amidi, Ghurar al-hikam wa durar al-kalim, p. 113.

3. Ibid., p. 405.

4. Marguerite Malm & Herbert Sorenson, Psychology for Living, Persian trans., Rawanshenasi baraye zistan, pp. 247-252.

Adapted from: "Ethics and Spiritual Growth" by: "Sayyid Mujtaba Musawi Lari"

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