One of the most prevelant gifts of the Spirit is that of speaking in tongues. In the LDS Topical Guide under the topic “Holy Ghost, Gifts of,” one of the most, if not the most prevelant gift of the Spirit discussed is that of speaking in tongues. I counted seven scriptures in the Bible, Book of Mormon, Doctrine and Covenants, and Pearl of Great Price that talk about speaking in tongues in the Topical Guide.
Reading these scriptures (especially the one in 2 Nephi 31:13 that talks about speaking with the “tongue of angels”) reminded me of a talk given in General Conference last year by Jeffery Holland called “The Tongue of Angels.” I love this talk and I recommend reading it. As I read it again today, this small section of his talk impressed me:
“In all of this, I suppose it goes without saying that negative speaking so often flows from negative thinking, including negative thinking about ourselves. We see our own faults, we speak—or at least think—critically of ourselves, and before long that is how we see everyone and everything. No sunshine, no roses, no promise of hope or happiness. Before long we and everybody around us are miserable.”
I have struggled at times in my life with negative thinking about myself and have found that when I have negative thoughts about myself it trickles into other areas of my life such as negative thoughts about others, society, God, my family, the church, other churches, work, God, etc…and pretty soon I’m looking at everything in a negative and depressed state. I want to share with anyone who may be able to benefit from this and may be struggling with negativity in their lives. The following things have helped me (and continue to help me) overcome negativity:
1. Remember what it felt like when I was positive.
For me, this is the first step…much like Alma’s talk in Alma 32 about having a desire to believe. I must have a desire to become more positive and remembering what it felt like being positive helps me.
2. Trace my thoughts back to where I first started thinking negatively.
Most of us have heard the Proverb “as he (or she) thinketh so is he (or she)”. I’ve found that many of my problems can be traced back to negative thoughts about myself and others. Thoughts (negative and positive) are like seeds and they’ll grow. This can be good if it is a positive thought, but if it’s a negative thought we’ll want to catch them before they grow too big. If I think a negative thought about something or someone long enough eventually I’ll act on it either by something I’ll say or do. If I feel down or if I’m saying things or doing things in a negative way, I’ve found that most of the time I can trace my actions back to a negative thought.
3. Once I’ve identified the negative thought, replace it with a positive thought or something else uplifting
About a year ago, I was having some problems with negative thoughts. One of my friends suggested some cds by James Cox called “Becoming Spiritually Centered.” I HIGHLY recommend these to anyone who may be struggling with depressive or negative thoughts. Listening to these and applying the lessons has greatly helped me. I found that when I traced my thoughts back to an original negative thought and then identified something to replace it with when it popped in my head again, I was able to gradually over time become a more positive thinker.
4. Keep a journal
This is kind of in conjunction with number 2, but for me, it is very helpful to get all the negative thoughts out into a journal. Once they’re all out there I can then identify ways to combat the negative thoughts.
5. Pray for strength
I want you to know that God will answer your prayers and help you. I’m very grateful for this in my life.
6. Talk with good friends, family, and spouse
If I’m struggling, I’ve found that talking with friends, family and spouse is very helpful. Rather than hiding things and trying to cover them up. If they (family and friends) know you struggle with negativity I’ve found they’re more likely to help and it’s good to have support.
7. Avoid Comparing myself to others
When I’m feeling down if I compare myself to other people who seem to never be down, I get even more frustrated and hard on myself. Comparing myself to myself and my own personal goals are essential to progressing in a more positive course.
8. Always keep trying
Overcoming negativity/depressive thoughts can be a difficult thing. It takes time and effort. I’ve found that patience and practice makes perfect…well, I’m not perfect, but you get the idea : )
It has been my experience that as I’ve learned to control my negative thoughts I become more receptive to the Holy Ghost. As I open myself up to more positive thinking and the Gifts of the Holy Ghost, I find my words and thoughts about myself, others, and the world around me are closer to what Elder Holland and other prophets are referring to by “speaking with the tongue of angels.”
I know this is somewhat of a personal topic, but if you feel comfortable sharing your thoughts on what has helped you overcome negativity and be able to have better dialogue with yourself and others, I think there are many people who could benefit from this. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing, I hope this helps you and you can share this with others.