One topic is often unspoken, as if taboo, particularly in the world of leaders and influencers. Yet, I think it’s fair to say that it’s a part of our common human condition to have negative thoughts along with positive ones. It doesn’t seem quite right when someone is able to be optimistic and positive 100% of the time. Can you relate?
And it’s normal to have occasional thoughts and feelings in the realm of sadness, anger, frustration, doubt, anxiety, worry, struggle, loss, fear, shame, guilt, weakness, frailty, what have you. I’ll admit that it’s part of my life experience. While there are many self-help strategies and tactics, or positive-thinking motivational speeches and/or sermons, to battle the dark thoughts, those techniques may rely too much on our own efforts and strength. I’m not that strong to get through life on my own. It’s okay to ask for help and get help. As I reflect on this, I thought of 4 things you can do when dark thoughts come:
- 1. Replace. One very common tactic is to replace the negative thought with a positive thought. Gratitude is particularly powerful. Hope and remembrance can be powerful replacers too.
- 2. Release. Dark thoughts need a place to go. Some of them don’t just go away by self-effort or re-focusing. I’ve found it incredibly valuable to be with someone safe to process out loud the pain and confusion. It’s not quite safe to release dark thoughts into the open internet for all to see, which I liken to injecting poison or spreading a virus onto others. Not helpful. Sometimes talk therapy with a professional counselor provides that release so good for our soul.
- 3. Rx. And for some, mental and emotional health can be facilitated through prescription medication, just as vitamins and/or drugs can bring health for other conditions that affect our imperfections.
- 4. Renew. And not to preclude the supernatural, a miraculous healing can transform a person like nothing else. While not every single person who wants healing gets healing, some do.
So as I reflected and simmered this topic on the back burner, something came across my radar.This new MTV show caught my attention as being particularly poignant and powerful — called “If you really knew me.” The premise of the documentary-style drama series is that each episode will follow 5 students during a one-day program, “Challenge Day.” These 5 students will get honest with each other– get past the labels and cliques, and share with each other the illuminating yet sometimes difficult truths about their lives. A press release describes “Challenge Day’s vision is that every child lives in a world where they feel safe, loved and celebrated.”
Wow! Could you imagine a place like that? Where a person, young and old, can feel safe, loved, and celebrated? What would happen if a church could be a safe and honest place like that?
How do you get help when dark thoughts make an unwelcomed visit? What else would you add about this?
[photo credit: enpenumbra]