Not too long ago, I was struggling with stress, boundaries, and feelings of inadequacy at my job. I was also having a difficult time navigating some conflicts in my marriage. I seemed to be completely frozen with thoughts of “I don’t know what to do” and “What would someone ‘normal,’ who doesn’t have these problems, do?”
I didn’t understand why I couldn’t handle conflict well. It seemed like I was constantly in a lose-lose scenario. The lack of confidence I had in myself and the absence of tools to deal with my constant stress made my problems feel all-consuming.
They were all that I thought about.
During this time, my husband and I were meeting with our bishop to learn how to address some concerns we weren’t sure how to deal with, and he invited us to participate in a pilot test for the Church’s new emotional resilience course.
I was skeptical because I felt that I didn’t have the ability to deescalate some of the difficult feelings I was having. The title of the course didn’t proclaim, “Learn how to get rid of your problems today!” or “You have anxiety? End it here!” And subconsciously, I think I was trying to find some magical fix-all solution that would eliminate the pent-up negativity and anxiety I was carrying.
But when we began the course, we discussed a scripture that struck me—John 10:10: “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.” I realized then that I truly wanted to live life more abundantly. I didn’t want to be swallowed up in my afflictions and hardships anymore. I was willing to be open and hear the whisperings of the Spirit and learn what the Lord wanted me to know through this course.
Week after week, I felt the tools and knowledge I was gaining through the course help me slowly shift my mindset regarding my struggles and change my negative habits. And as I have looked over the notes I scribbled in the course workbook, I’ve seen how much I’ve grown from the lessons!
This course changed the way I thought about my stress and reassured me that all the struggles we have aren’t inherently bad. I became more comfortable with the difficult emotions I feel during challenges and have been able to better recognize sweet reassurances from the Spirit telling me that things will be OK.
The second chapter of the manual covers healthy thinking patterns and outlines several exercises that helped me learn how to break down my thoughts, determine whether they are accurate, and root out why some of them are inaccurate. These exercises invited me to look for the negative behaviors within myself that I was never aware of. And in doing so, I realized that on some level, I have always believed that I am exempt from pain. But through the exercises, I slowly started realizing that life was not going to be pain-free—it would always be full of hard times.
Surprisingly, I started feeling a sense of relief in this truth. I finally accepted that it was OK to struggle during challenges and realized that there wasn’t something wrong with me if I needed help. I learned that challenges are meant to help us grow. They are all part of the journey, and the ones I was going through at work and in my marriage were going to help me grow on my path back to Heavenly Father.
For me, the most impactful part of this course, apart from all the positive changes it helped me make, was how all the course materials pointed me to the Savior, Jesus Christ. The course’s format was divinely inspired. From its language to the focus of the lessons, it helped me become more confident in myself and in what the Savior can help me do.
For instance, the course taught me how the principles of the gospel of Jesus Christ can help me work through situations that give me anxiety. I learned to turn to Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ in moments of self-doubt and remember that I am good enough. I discovered that through God we can truly accomplish anything, and if I continued to have false perceptions about who I was or the challenges I was facing, I was only preventing myself from deepening my faith and experiencing growth. As Elder Ulisses Soares of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles taught, “Through Jesus Christ and His atoning sacrifice, we can experience a mighty change of mind and heart, bringing a fresh attitude, both toward God and toward life in general.”1
The course elaborated on some complex topics, but it also taught about simple topics that can improve our everyday life, like knowing how to appropriately respond to someone who is struggling,2 realizing that it’s OK to acknowledge discomfort,3 recognizing signs of depression,4 and understanding how meditation and mindfulness can help us reconnect with ourselves, Heavenly Father, and Jesus Christ.5
By combining counseling and this course, I was able to find the boost of strength I needed to make positive changes in my life. The Spirit taught me that I had the power to advocate for what I needed at work and that having faith in the Lord would help me access that power. I learned to ultimately accept that I needed to move on from my job if things didn’t change and that moving on wasn’t a bad thing. I also gained the courage to humbly and honestly work with my husband to once again foster peace and connection in our marriage.
In my manual, I wrote down a moment of gratitude for an interview I had at a new potential place of employment. I ended up getting the job, and I can remember the feelings of joy and peace that washed over me as I leaned into the discomfort of change. That aha moment came as I recognized that I had grown in a positive way and that my own efforts and the help of Heavenly Father and the Savior had allowed me to find success.
I’ve found that 2 Nephi 2:24–25 has resonated with me lately:
“But behold, all things have been done in the wisdom of him who knoweth all things.
“Adam fell that men might be; and men are, that they might have joy.”
In my opinion, to find success is to have joy. And my success is taking all this new knowledge and moving forward with hope and optimism, recognizing that the Lord helped me learn so I could live “more abundantly” (John 10:10).
I truly believe that living joyfully and abundantly is what the Lord wants for everyone. As the manual says, part of emotional resilience is being able to handle stressful situations and adapt to life changes with courage and faith in Christ.6
The Lord loves us, and He “descended below” all things (Doctrine and Covenants 122:8) so that we could inherit all, conquer our challenges, and have joy. I invite you to take advantage of this amazing course that helped me change my life and realize that while things might not always work out in the way that we want, they can always work out for our benefit because of Jesus Christ (see Doctrine and Covenants 90:24; 122:7).