When I open up my blog each day, I check for comments. You know what I can count on? Plenty of spam. I have a special filter, thank goodness, that separates the real comments from the ones that are trying to get me to buy something I don’t want, or do something I wouldn’t ever do. All I have to do is click on a little button that says “Empty spam.” And it’s all gone. Just like that.
I suffered from depression for years. In retrospect, I have learned that one of the factors that contributed to this was dwelling on negative thoughts or believing false ones. I hadn’t developed my filter well enough to catch the thoughts that weren’t true or that were negative and toss them out. It has been over a process of time that I have learned first to simply recognize that I am having negative thoughts. I have had to “wake up”–to have my spiritual eyes opened, in a sense, to those thoughts that were causing me harm.
But now it is easier to recognize harmful thoughts, and as I work to practice the positive, true ones, the relief I have yearned for over the years has come. Healing has come. It is seriously wonderful.
I didn’t do it myself. Christ helped me learn it, and it came through experience and with others’ help. And I am still learning to do it.
I think that it is like an addiction, in a way. So it isn’t something I could get over in a day. I have had to unravel the mess of thoughts in my brain, to get them cleaned up, so to speak. To break old connections in my mental wiring and create new, stronger ones. One at a time.
Here is one kind of thought that I am learning to filter out. It is the thought that something needs to be done immediately and is accompanied by a feeling of panic. “I have to do this RIGHT NOW or…” It’s a sense of undue urgency that is not based in calm and assurance. It is based in fear. I remember one priesthood blessing my husband gave me. The phrase that stuck in my brain was that Heavenly Father doesn’t work hastily. And He doesn’t give me a feeling of panic. If I have a thought and a feeling of panic about doing something, it isn’t a message from Him. “God hath not given us the spirit of fear…” In that moment, it seems I connected the dots in my mind: “Oh! I don’t have to listen to thoughts that are causing panic in my heart.” What a relief!
I still work on my thoughts. Every single day. Maybe I get panicked about a child not doing something or me not seeming to make any progress in some area. I have to remember (or be reminded) that it’s not the end of the world, that the child is in God’s hands, that I am in God’s hands, and He is in charge. “OK” I say inwardly. “We can do this. We are OK.”
When I recognize that I am having a panic-inducing thought, I have to “cancel” it by recognizing it and then replacing it with a true thought: “Everything is fine. There is time to work on this.” Or “We are fine. Heavenly Father knows what we need and will help us accomplish what is most important.” Or, as President Hinckley put it, “Things will work out. ‘Things have a way of working out.’ ”
I love thinking that last thought. As I have used it, I have seen that he’s right. Things do work out.
P.S. What thoughts or thought patterns have you discovered as untrue and harmful? How have you been trying to filter them out? How is it going? If this is something that you try to do and fail, take comfort. I think it is especially easy to feel badly about our failures as mothers! But truth is, we learn, in part, by making mistakes. It’s part of the plan of happiness. I haven’t met anyone who has mastered their thoughts completely. I sure am still learning, and I’ve been practicing this for years. So, if it helps, please take comfort in my inabilities! Count me as at least one friend at your side. I believe in you! You’ll get better at it if you ask for help and keep trying. “Try, try again.”
P.P.S.: Here are two great scriptures that encourage me: “The truth shall make you free.” And, “If your eye be single to my glory, your whole bodies shall be filled with light, and there shall be no darkness in you.” (D&C 88:67.) It’s true! True thoughts are full of light. When we fill our minds with true thoughts, we cast out the darkness! Awesome!