This article is part of a series called PARADIGMS OF POWER. These paradigms, or perspectives, are tools to be used as mental weapons in the battle against darkness. We have the power and privilege to Neutralize Negative Emotion, Expand our Faith, and actually Become “One” with Christ. These tools can help us accomplish that objective.
To view other articles in this series, see Featured Author Anne Hinton Pratt
There are times in our lives when we will have powerful negative emotion overcome us. These extreme sentiments generally come because of our focusing on the unsettling past or the feared future. We can suffer because of things we have done in the past by recreating and re-living them over and over in our minds. Although the event happened once, we often don’t leave it alone and whip ourselves with it all our lives.
Suffering over the future is a different animal. We agonize over things that haven’t even happened yet. We project what we think the future will feel like, and if it isn’t what we want, we suffer. It’s kind of silly, when you think about it. The future is only a series of thoughts and emotions that rarely materialize the way we think they will.
We may think: “How will I survive this year financially?” “How can I ever get all this done by next Friday?” “What will I do without a job?” “How will I survive after the divorce?” “Why did this happen to me?” “Will my life ever have meaning again?” These desperate questions and infinite others are scenarios that have not yet been lived. They create forceful emotions that make us feel powerless and even hopeless, when we think about them from the context of where we are now. “WHAT WILL BECOME OF ME?” It’s a frightening thought in uncertain times, but that is really all that it is.
God never intended us to handle the future today.
The future is too much to manage in one day! Mathew teaches us “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” (Matthew 6:34) Truth is, this minute you are experiencing right now is the only place you can find peace and solace. We will never find it in the future, because the future never really comes.
In order to deal with today’s emotion, it’s important to set boundaries to not allow your mind to think outside this day. If instead of thinking of all the things you need to do this month or this week, set your boundary for what you need to accomplish today. If you are experiencing extreme emotion because you feel trapped in some way or your future looks bleak, just focus on this day.
It’s important to break down our future into manageable parts. If this day is too large of a boundary, break it down into one hour or even one minute. Don’t allow yourself to think outside those boundaries. Don’t worry about tomorrow or get stuck in the negativity of the past.
What to do on EXTREME EMOTION days:
- Imagine yourself in a room where the wall on the left represents your past and the wall on your right represents the future.
Don’t allow yourself to think outside these walls in either direction. You have no destructive past or difficult future; only this day, at this time. You are safe in this “room.” Only allow the thoughts of what you must accomplish this day in this environment. If this day is too large of a “room” to be in, bring the protective walls in closer to encompass only an hour, or even just this moment in time.
- Take long deep breaths. Focus on what needs doing now, and if nothing needs to be done, tell yourself,. “ I am safe! “I will be OK, no matter what happens!” Keep repeating those words over and over.
- (These “walls” are semi-permeable and can include positive events of the past or optimistic thoughts of the future. Only the negative emotions and thoughts are banned.)
- THINK UP! It is critical during this time of great emotion to not think back, or forward, but instead to THINK UP to receive light! Exercise your faith (positive thought and mental exertion). Don’t allow your mind to go anywhere but up to God. When a negative thought or emotion comes, (as it surely will), flip it outside the room, and then refocus upward.
Imagine angels around you, giving you strength. Pray with all your mind and heart asking for intervention.. Tell yourself that miracles are on the way. God WILL help you through this difficult time! President George Q Cannon has said:
“Now, this is the truth. We who feel ourselves sometimes so worthless, so good-for-nothing; we are not so worthless as we think. There is not one of us but what God’s love has been expended upon. There is not one of us that He has not cared for and caressed. There is not one of us that He has not desired to save, and that He has not devised means to save.
There is not one of us that He has not given His angels charge concerning. We may be insignificant and contemptible in our own eyes, and in the eyes of others, but the truth remains that we are the children of God, and that He has actually given His angels–invisible beings of power and might–charge concerning us, and they watch over us and have us in their keeping. ((Collected Discourses, [Compiled and Edited by Brian H. Stuy, B.H.S. Publishing, Woodland Hills, UT, 5 Vol.s], November, 1890; 2: 143-4;)
5. Stay within the boundary of your room until you feel the spirit come back into your awareness. Know that often when you are undergoing excruciating trials, it most likely means that you are just on the brink of passing a well planned out “test” and rising to the next level of spiritual awareness. On the other side of this trial is marvelous light and joy, just waiting for you to experience.
At any juncture in your life, things can change dramatically. You can suddenly be healed, be validated, get another job, or have a financial boon. That is the stuff miracles are made of, and they are in your future. Watch for them. Will today be the day?
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