By Nancy Virden (c)2021
Our emotions are the result of what we think or believe about ourselves and others. Does that surprise you? Read it again- it is true.
If I think a woman down the street is a murderer (I have no neighbor like that, fyi), what will I feel when she walks past my home? My heart might race, maybe I will jerk the curtains closed. Fear or anger may seem to control the moment.
What if I believed no such thing about her? Those emotions would not appear. Clearly it is my thoughts determining my emotions.
The same principle applies to depression, anxiety, and any emotion. During a group therapy session, one woman said, “Am I depressed because I won’t let my problems go?” She was told yes. I felt angry. How could depression be my fault? At the time, I was steeped in passing blame.
It took time and practice, several years actually (two years after therapy ended) that I fully grasped the concept. Instead of depression being my “fault”, it was my responsibility to choose what life I wanted. Challenging our beliefs, acknowledging our thoughts, can open the door to healthier control over our emotions and less impulsive or even compulsive behavior.
I used to believe depression owned me. I was a mentally ill person; depression was recurrent and out of my control. That is blatantly false. I am not a victim to depression. I held myself victim for over 50 years blaming circumstances and people for how I felt. Truth is that some people hurt me. Significant people betrayed my trust. Neither they nor the harm they did decides how I feel today.
My process (a process that works)
- Introspection with the help of God (by asking him in prayer for insight). This is how my hidden, false core beliefs came to light.
- Challenging self-defeating thoughts with healthier ways to perceive circumstances, others, and myself. Even the automatic negative thoughts wore down and disappeared.
- Questioning emotions: What was I thinking just before I felt this anger? What do I believe about this situation that brought on anxiety? Why does what so-n-so said make me feel depressed? By taking the time to answer, it soon became clear that every difficult emotion derived from my thoughts, perceptions, and beliefs.
- Purposely thinking about the situation, person, or myself with truth, positivity, and a more hopeful point of view. Instead of, “He hurt me and I am now damaged,” I chose to think, “He hurt me and now I am one of the overcomers.”
Throughout this process, prayer played an integral part. If we have faith in Jesus, the Holy Spirit will help us in our weakness. He reveals what the Word means (beyond intellectually), points out where we need change and repentance, and draws us to the love, forgiveness, and healing of God. – COMMENTS ALWAYS WELCOME
Today’s Helpful Word
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.
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Always the Fight Ministries (ATFM) has been displaying compassion for those fighting mental illness, addiction, or abuse since 2012. Nancy is the founder and voice of ATFM and openly shares her emotional resurrection from despair.
NOTE: I am not a doctor or a mental health professional, and speak only from personal experiences and observations. In no way is this website intended to substitute for professional mental or behavioral health care.
If you are feeling suicidal, or concerned about someone who is, in the U.S. call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or for a list of international suicide hotlines, go here.
If you are suicidal with a plan, immediately call 911 in the U.S. or go to your nearest emergency room. In the EU call 112. (For other international emergency numbers, go here ). Hope and help are yours!
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