It may have been a teacher in college who first put this idea into my head in a way that I could understand it. Somewhere I was told of an idea that emotions can be 100% controlled. In other words, we are not as connected to our emotions as we often think we are. And I pondered that. I'm not sure about this idea, but it has lead me to find more understanding on the subject throughout my life and I think that this idea was beneficial to me in a way. It gave me a little more power than what I had ever given myself. So let me just jump right in and explain.
In 2 Nephi 2:14 it states,
And now, my sons, I speak unto you these things for your profit and learning; for there is a God, and he hath created all things, both the heavens and the earth, and all things that in them are, both things to act and things to be acted upon.
(thank you lds.org)
As I ponder this scripture I know that we have been told we are beings who "act", and we are not "to be acted upon." And I wonder if this counts for emotions. I imagine that it does, and I feel like in my life it became the scriptural slice of the sweetest truth pie I've ever tasted. Because it too gave me power. And it's origins were way ahead of anybody else's idea of emotions being more in our control than we often assume.
Life experience: I only have so much. However, I will share a sliver of my life that is unpleasant to revisit, but is of vital importance because it took a large role in shaping me into who I am.
When I first married Colten, I was so overwhelmed. There were a million joyful things, but truthfully I struggled to be happy. The only people who really knew how I was feeling at the time were my mom, my husband, and a few close family members. But, most of my family didn't even know. Which was exactly the way I wanted it, because it was so hard to admit that I was depressed. I struggled enough that my mom bought me professional tapes to listen to with guidance on anxiety and depression, and I sought out natural remedies to lift my mood so that I could function more normally. And even though there was a long list of things to be happy about, I found myself laying on the floor crying and trying to talk through it with my mom. Even my husband never saw that, and I didn't want him to.
Let me make something clear as can be, Colten did nothing wrong. He was and is and always has been an amazing husband.
My mom made it clear to me, that the next step was therapy. We were both afraid I was in too deep, and that I couldn't make it out alone. That word, therapy, scared me. And being that I have my mother inside of me, there was a stubbornness that would not let me seek help beyond my family and my Heavenly Father. And thank goodness for that strength left in me, because I decided to pull up my bootstraps so to speak, and climb my way out of the hole I was in. (I do believe therapy is vitally important for millions of people, but I just didn't need it).
I engulfed myself into the gospel. I took as many Institute classes as I did college classes. I had already taken a lot of religion classes which I believe helped tremendously prior to this chapter of my life, and they gave me a great foundation of knowledge. And one of my teachers in college (not Institute actually) helped me to take ownership of my emotions. Rather than letting them destroy me, knowledge of truth helped me to gain back power. It was a slow process, but I eventually gained enough power back that I could start to see things a bit more clearly. I stopped taking natural remedies to lift my spirits. I just didn't need them.
I started to look at myself with eyes that were no longer cloudy. I saw a girl who judged others quickly. I saw a girl who couldn't see the blessings in her life to save it. I saw girl who assumed that many people around her had vicious intentions, and I was a victim in too many stories. I was shocked. And it hurt. Who knew that I was in the wrong in so many areas? This new information didn't push me back down the hole though. I was in charge now, and I had also finally realized that I was most definitely not alone.
I started to take ownership of the judgments I made. And I started to turn them into love. Love is the only thing strong enough to overpower any of the other emotions I was feeling. The second I sincerely loved those around me, the second I started to give more power to myself, the stronger my relationship was to the Spirit, and to my Heavenly Father. This is a life goal: to continue to replace false judgments with love. We all work on it constantly. The more we work at it, the better we become--true in many of life's endeavors.
I started to see the blessings that the Lord had given me. This, probably above many other things, humbled me. Depression had not humbled me. Depression had made me sick and lonely. Gratitude humbled me. Humility gave me strength. Humility was the gateway to joy and happiness. Pure and true humility came from realizing the Lord knows me and He wants to help me get through all trials, and He blesses me in spite of me.
I studied the Atonement. I took classes, I read talks, I read scriptures, I listened, I sought it out.
Matthew 11:28 "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest"
I slowly but surely found that that which I gave power to became the strongest in my life. I had given power to unhappiness, loneliness, anger, confusion, frustration, etc. It wasn't workin' for me.
So I found power, the right power, within me and from my Heavenly Father, and I put my energy into that. I sought out good things in people, and wonderful things about life.
I am no longer in the hole folks. I am so far away from it I don't even remember where it went. But it's gone. Thankfully.
Do you wanna know what pushed me the last little bit above ground?
Colten and I got pregnant. :) This came with ups and downs. Right after I had Camry I could tell the hormones in my body were leading me to jump back into the hole. So I just tried the same remedy that had worked so beautifully before. I sought sunshine and it warmed my heart and soul. I looked for and found blessings everywhere. I trusted in the Lord and had faith that my body would work through the changes, and it did. I also started to understand the meaning of being selfless. Continued service day in and day out for a little body who was completely dependent on me for survival---there's humility in that. And there's dependence on the Savior there too. There's no way I could do it on my own.
I don't claim to understand what those around me are going through. As I said earlier, all I have are my experiences and my limited understanding. I have no idea if this helps anyone. I don't have anyone specifically in mind that I could be writing this for. All I know is these thoughts have been jumping around in my head every day for a little while now. And this morning they finally wouldn't let me sleep. So I acted and here they are.
I have found that ownership of my emotions has worked for me. I have found that actively seeking good things led me to Christ. Moroni 7:16 says, "For behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil; wherefore, I show unto you the way to judge; for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ; wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God."
I'm thankful for the power to act and that I am not just a thing to be acted upon. That knowledge, when I gave it power, changed me...and it continues to change me everyday. I no longer depend on my emotions to dictate how I feel, they are not strong enough to keep me above ground. Real strength comes from our Savior, Jesus Christ---and it's connected to whether or not we are willing to come unto Him.