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Speaking More Positively by Overcoming Negative Thinking

"The spirit of the gospel is optimistic; it trusts in God and looks on the bright side of things." Mormon Insights. silhouettes on bikes.

Photo by Everton Vila

You can build better relationships with those around you when your words flow from optimistic thoughts.

“Even in the golden age of civilization someone undoubtedly grumbled that everything looked too yellow,” quoted Elder Jeffrey R. Holland during his April 2017 general conference address, “The Tongue of Angels.” Even in the best of times or situations, we don’t always think, feel, or speak optimistically or hopefully. Rather, the power to overcome negative, petty, and angry speech comes from thinking positive thoughts. This power is something that can come only from within ourselves through the help of the Savior Jesus Christ.

I have suffered from social anxiety and depression for most of my life, and it hasn’t always been easy to think positively. In the past, it was natural for me to focus on my faults, to criticize my insecurities, and to constantly question my value. Additionally, my depression deeply affected my relationships with those around me, and I found it difficult to connect with anyone.

While I was in this depressed state, hearing Elder Holland’s assertion that “negative speaking so often flows from negative thinking” changed my perspective dramatically. I realized that I had unconsciously projected the negative feelings I had about myself onto other people. I was not following the Savior’s commandment in John 13:34 to “love one another”—a commandment that applied to how I felt about myself too! By striving to silence the negative voice inside me with the Lord’s help, I have been able to develop more love and patience for myself and others.

Elder Holland quotes Elder Orson F. Whitney in saying, “The spirit of the gospel is optimistic; it trusts in God and looks on the bright side of things.” While it is impossible to always be happy or to constantly be a positive thinker, we can be optimistic through our faith that our Heavenly Father will always love us.

Read Elder Jeffrey R. Holland’s full talk “The Tongue of Angels” to learn more about the power of positive thinking.

Source: LDS General Conference

—Amy Conway, Mormon Insights

feature image courtesy of lds media library

Find more insights

Read an Ensign article by Judy C. Olsen titled “The Invisible Heartbreaker,” which details how negative speech impacts relationships.

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