Hope is only for the passive.
Some consider that if a person is hoping, they are not doing anything active to realize their hopes. In the early phases following the trigger of a trauma (Bomb Drop), a person may be relying or surviving only on the breath of Hope. But this is due to the shock of the trauma and subsequent fears. Is Hope your crutch? There is nothing wrong with utilizing it as such an aid in the beginning when you are using your crutch to lean on while strengthening yourself. If you are using it as a permanent crutch, you are clinging in the Shadow of Hope. Hope does not seek reliance and when it is abused as such it cannot grow beyond a small flame amidst darkness; it is thus Prometheus' Blind Hope. A gift only if you use it to strengthen yourself. As the sole means of survival it provides only a shadow existence.
Some believe that Hope is for doubters. This seems odd. Many believe--and dictionaries support the belief--that Hope includes an expectation of an outcome of success. How strange that some then feel Hope is only for those who do not believe! You do not need to hope the sun will rise tomorrow because you likely have confidence that it will--regardless of the temperature. I had Hope for the reconciliation of my marriage, but because I also had confidence in reconciliation, I did not rely on my Hope. There were times when my reliance on it was greater, but my confidence enabled my Hope to remain in the background--ever-present even in the absence of doubt.
Is Hope real? or How can I know my Hope is real?
Pardon? Hope is within you. You get to create it. It is neither belief in nor prediction of an outcome. The level of one's Hope may not match the probability of success or failure; it is not about the odds. Hope is not Faith, which is linked to confidence in an outcome--even in the absence of evidence. You can Hope for something while believing the probability is unlikely. It would not even make sense to revise the queries to insert belief for Hope: How do I know if my belief is real? Belief is also not a tangible or predictable thing. A more appropriate question would be Is my belief realistic?
What are you doing with Hope? Are you allowing it to point toward solutions, or are you allowing it to enable you to remain passive with the idea that Hope will solve the problem for you? What are you doing because you hope? Are you clinging to Hope and thus enabling yourself to wait without growth, without searching yourself for responsibilities? Or is Hope something you keep as a small but significant flame while you go on with your life? Better even than asking about the realism of Hope, consider how you are using it. Am I using Hope appropriately? Am I abusing it by relying on it to solve my problems? Or am I using it to strengthen myself above despair where I can recognize my problems and the solutions?
Is Hope enough?
This seems an irrelevant question. Enough what? Hope is not a problem solver, as a belief in possibilities, it is not in itself active. Allow Hope to do its job. Let it be the seedling, the small flame that illuminates the darkness, revealing your path.
Penelope hoped for the safe return of Odysseus. But as Queen of Ithaca and mother to Telemachus, she also had responsibilities. She did not stop living because Odysseus would some day come home to rescue her.