To Act or Be Acted Upon

“This is where you and I disagree.” My dear friend said to me.

“I believe that some feelings just happen.”

Ok” I said, “if that is true, why does everyone not have the same reaction to certain things?”

She was upset because she felt like her parents should behave differently. She felt like they should want to spend time with her and her family.

Their lack of attention in her life just created hurt and anger, instantly. She had no control over it.

I continued, “if that is true, then why are there people who experience the same thing and they are thrilled that their parents don’t spend time with them? In fact, they are relieved.”

The circumstance is exactly the same. The only difference is the thoughts the adult child is choosing to have about their parents.

She replied, “I am not having any thought when they do those things. The feelings just happen.”

My sweet friend is not alone in her belief.

So, if you believe that a feeling is just spontaneously happening in your body let me explain why it feels that way.

Our brains are speedy quick and very habitual. It is so fast that you don’t even have time to recognize “thought” has occurred.

I promise there is always a thought connected to a feeling. And why would you want to believe otherwise?

If that were the case, then we in essence, just hand over the control of our emotions to someone else. We are saying that we will always be at the mercy of other people’s actions. You would always be a victim.

I have been asked, “how does this make room for the Holy Ghost in your life?

Obviously, I don’t know exactly how this works, but I do know that I have felt promptings and confirmation of truth from the holy ghost. I believe they appear in the form of thought and we have a feeling that accompanies it.

We read in Doctrine and Covenants 8:2, “Behold I will tell you in your MIND and in your heart, by the Holy Ghost.”

Perhaps the spirit whispers, “this is true” and you have a feeling that accompanies it, like a “burning in your bossom” or whatever way you feel the Holy Ghost.

We are also told that we are created by God and he created us to “act and not be acted upon” 2 Nephi 2:14. This is a confirmation to me that all of our feelings must be a result of something with in us. Otherwise we would always be “acted upon” by other people.

This is agency. We get to choose, always what we think and then consequently how we feel.

“I am not saying you should not feel sad that your parents don’t put forth the effort to change and spend time with you. Just be honest about where that feeling of hurt comes from. It is coming from your thoughts and not their actions.

I am just saying, you get to be in charge of how you feel. Decide if that sadness is helping you create the relationship you want with your parents. If it is, by all means, keep feeling that way. If it isn’t, then intentionally make a choice to believe something else so you can feel differently.”

Good luck sweet friend. I love you.

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