Friday, August 3, 2018

Help for the self-doubters

On your bad days, are you a self-promoter or a self-doubter? By that I mean, are you more inclined to find that everyone else is at fault except for you?  Or are you more likely to link all the problems in your life to your own weaknesses?

I am the latter, and I used to think there was some nobility in it. It's the polar opposite of pride, isn't it? Humility to the extreme, in a way. But both schools of thought-- blaming others or blaming yourself-- has you thinking about yourself more than you think about anything else. And that will never leave you happy. Elder Kearon states that "thinking wholely about yourself will always lead to misery."

The truth
It's not right or true that all of your problems come from your personal shortcomings. As I've studied some of the issues in my current life, I'm starting to uncover the good that is there. I struggle feeling I am doing a good enough job as a mother. But then I remember how much I struggled with Cheyenne when she was younger, and that those things aren't even an issue anymore. And I read old things that remind me how well Ephraim and I connected when he as younger. It's good to remember I haven't always been like this, and our lives won't always be like this. You can forget when you are right in the middle of it, but there are seasons in life. Seeing the truth of your current situation, acknowledging seasons and recognizing the difficulties of the things you do everyday-- that's a gift from God you can ask for and work to see.

Your divine nature
There's no nobility in seeing yourself as broken, unfixable. You cannot worship a Father in Heaven and find your own self, his offspring, as the culprit of all your problems.  Because the greatness in you is not at all dependent on how well you can do this or that-- it's His greatness. His greatness is perfect. In order to honor the Father that you worship, you have to recognize your own divine nature. 

The Atonement works for you, too
Telling yourself that you are failing is like saying that the Atonement doesn't work for you. It's saying I'm not able to repent and change. Believing that Jesus Christ lives, believing that His Atonement is real means you believe there is no failure that is un-fix-able through His redeeming love. That's exactly what the Sacrament is for. To examine where you might have "failed" this week, repent, and ask for help in those areas in the coming week. And to never stop trying. Jesus has promised to forgive us until "seventy times seven"--indefinitely, as long as we are committed to keep trying. Don't shortchange yourself, He doesn't!

Where to focus your new-found energy
So what do you do when you've removed self-doubt? You don't want to replace it with pride, so what else can you fill your thought time with? I learned a lesson from the missionaries recently that really helped. What you pray about, fast for, and study the scriptures about is a key indicator of where your priorities lay. Is there a particular person in mind when you are in the scriptures, looking for answers? When it comes to the deepest yearnings of your heart that you fast for, is it other people or a change in yourself? When the missionaries gave us this counsel, I realized my own faults had been taking up the bulk of my prayers. I've been trying to reverse this trend in the past few weeks and it does help. It's filled the void that was taken up by self-deprecation. I've started to notice the positive self-talk in the scriptures. Nephi only spent one out of fifty-five chapters lamenting his weaknesses. Those are pretty good odds, and it's time for me to make them my own. 

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