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The Battle Inside Each One of Us

Updated on June 6, 2018
denise.w.anderson profile image

An Education Specialist, Denise teaches the principles of Emotional Health for the establishment and maintenance of high quality families.

The war for our souls is upon us. Who do we want to win?
The war for our souls is upon us. Who do we want to win?

There is a war going on for the souls of men. The battle is fierce and the casualties are high. The enemy is cunning, and the fiery darts of the adversary come at us from places where we least expect them. Many suffer from wounds that are deep, and don't know where to turn for the balm that will heal their suffering souls.

This battle is not being waged in the fields and streets, where blood is spilled by bullets, swords, and grenades. Rather, it is the battle each of us fight within our minds and hearts. The weapons are words and they are coming at us from everywhere. Our only defense is the shield we create within our own selves that allows us to process the information we receive and keep it from wounding our precious hearts.

Should we fail in our mission, the deadly dragons of depression, rage, anxiety, guilt, and other negative self-esteems will take over our lives, and we will become just another statistic that graces the annuls of history. These dragons are big enough to swallow us whole, and the fire they breathe sears our souls, stealing from us our very sense of worth.

The world can at times be a frightening place in which to live. The moral fabric of society seems to be unraveling at an alarming speed. None—whether young or old or in-between—is exempt from exposure to those things which have the potential to drag us down and destroy us.

— Thomas S. Monson

Words feed the soul. From the time we enter this cold, cruel world to the last breath we take, it is words that come from the mouths of our loved ones that create within us the desire to do and become.

The sweet lullaby from a mother soothes us to restful slumber as we are rocked in her arms. The encouragement of a father when we take our first steps keeps our hands outstretched, waiting and hoping to be encircled in his fond embrace. The whispers of romance caressing our hearts from the lips of our beloved brings us peace and happiness, in spite of the troublesome circumstances that surround us.

Words are the stuff of which our thoughts are made. They are the product of our past experiences with those in our world. If the words we heard as children were spoken with kindness and love, most likely, our thoughts will mirror them. If we heard harsh criticism and condemnation, our inner voice will rail us with accusations, belittling our every action.

Self-talk is a large part of our emotional health. Our modus operendi or our default thought patterns become the very desires of our hearts. The war waged within us determines whether we will become what we are capable of according to our divine heritage as God's children, or succumb to the cacophony of a fallen world, steeped in misery and endless woe!

We don't have to allow our default way of doing things to become who we are. We can become something different.
We don't have to allow our default way of doing things to become who we are. We can become something different.

According to Lissa Rankin, MD, in her book, The Fear Cure, we all have dual selves. We have our "Small Self" and our "Inner Pilot Light." She notes that our Small Self is prone to fear, anxiety, and negative emotions, as it focuses on reality, as well as our physical, mental, and intellectual limitations. In contrast, our Inner Pilot Light sees from the more idealistic perspective of what we can become if we rely on our intuition, our strengths, and our positive attitude.

Our Small Self tends to be afraid, filled with doubt and uncertainty, and tells us that we are not good enough or don't have what it takes to be successful. In order for us to overcome these feelings, we concentrate on helping our Inner Pilot Light give our Small Self encouragement, strengthening resolve, and providing incentive to move forward. The table below shows this contrast.

Small Self
Inner Pilot Light
Fear
Faith
Uncertainty
Reassurance
Guilt
Strength
Shame
Confidence
Comparison
Common Ground
Risk
Courage
Lack
Abundance
Abandonment
Companionship

The problem occurs when our Inner Pilot Light is drowned out by negative scripts from our past experience. Rather than giving us the love and encouragement we need, we are pelted with derogatory remarks that drag us down. Like a hailstorm of negativity, it beats us to the ground, robbing our tender souls of the life-giving unconditional love we need for our growth and development.

In order to change this negative self-talk, we have to recognize what is happening. We look for the following irrational thought patterns: criticism, assumptions, exaggeration, doubt, fault-finding, expectations, perfectionism, and complaining.

Our ability to deflect the fiery darts of these thought patterns and keep them from penetrating our inner feelings of self-worth comes from connecting to our power source. Once we realize that we are the literal offspring of a Heavenly Father who loves us and will give to us in our time of need, we build a shield around our inner core of self-worth.

Our identity is protected from the howling winds of circumstantial change when it is built on the unconditional love of God. It is the only sure foundation available to us. Building our identity on what we do, where we fit in, or how we feel is like building a foundation on sand. These things are transient and do not provide us with any kind of stability.

Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.

— Ephesians 6:13-16

What thought patterns give you the most difficulty?

See results

Once we connect to our power source, our bodies are infused with strength. We see the irrational thought patterns for what they are, lies meant to destroy our peace and happiness. We recognize them and refute them with truths that we feel and know in our hearts.

We are able to break off the shackles of pain and misery, and go forward with our heads held high. The dragons fall by the wayside. We are no longer susceptible to the fiery darts they send our way. Our personal power is strengthened with each choice we make for the good.

Unfortunately, life happens. For one reason or another, we are knocked down. Our shield looses its power, and the dragons once again come out of their lairs. Time and again, it is necessary to rally our strength, rekindle our faith, and take once again our sword and our shield in the defense of our souls.

We cannot be lax in this effort. There is no end to the wiles of the adversary. He attacks when we least expect it, when we are in a weakened state and our guard is down. We cannot afford to set aside our faith, even for a moment. Time is of the essence, and our souls are at stake.

If we are not careful, we become our own worst enemy. The thought patterns we allow to mingle in our minds and hearts determine what we become in the end. They feed our desires, feelings, and actions. Every effort we make to keep our focus turned up strengthens the armor that protects us.

Our ability to recognize when we are encouraging ourselves and when we are beating ourselves up is vital to our emotional health.
Our ability to recognize when we are encouraging ourselves and when we are beating ourselves up is vital to our emotional health.

© 2015 Denise W Anderson

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    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      You are probably right, Jan. The simple truths that were taught "way back then" may have been less sophisticated, but they worked! We could all use a lesson in "back to the basics"! I appreciate your comments.

    • JanTUB profile image

      Jan T Urquhart Baillie 

      2 years ago from Australia

      Hi Denise

      It makes one wonder if the ancestors knew more than we sophisticated ones do. The old adage "mind over matter"sprang to mind as I read.

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks, Dianna. Finding peace in this troubled world can be challenging, but it is possible. The Savior tells us that in him, we will find it, in spite of what is happening around us. I appreciate your comments. Have a Merry Christmas!

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      2 years ago

      This is a powerful message on the battle of the mind. We must know what really brings us peace. I love your scripture quotes. Thanks for the information. God bless you.

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      You got it, DDE. Doubt is certainly not the way to go! When we have faith in the best within us, we rise above that which would pull us down. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your words of wisdom.

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      I recognize the Muy Bueno as Very Good, Eric, but I'm not so sure about the Tre Bon, does that mean Very Good also? Thanks for the compliment! I had to recognize the war within myself first before I could write about it, and yes, the victory dance was sweet! There is so much we all need to learn to make it through this life. I appreciate your comments!

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Doubt does not go with me.

      You have an interesting write here. Great power and the mind works in its own way.

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Muy Bueno & Tre Bon and last but not least Awesome! You nailed it and hit a home fun all is one swing. I like this the best "The war waged within us determines whether we will become what we are capable of according to our divine heritage as God's children, or succumb to the cacophony of a fallen world, steeped in misery and endless woe!

      Right on. Although you may change that title to the VICTORY within us as you give hope for the day to day victory and the long run love as children. Thanks

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      You are welcome, Dora. It is possible to win! We don't have to let the dragons of this life eat us alive, for they surely will, unless we do what it takes to stop them. Like a diligent gardener who watches over his beloved plants, eradicating invading weeds, we watch over our own thought processes. Our emotional health depends upon what we do with those that would drag us down, damaging our delicate feelings of self-worth. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks, Michelle. Our ability to nourish ourselves is what keeps us from falling prey to the words and actions of others that can pull us down. You are right in that no one else can do it for us. When I realized this for myself, I felt empowered like I had never been before. I appreciate your comments!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      2 years ago from The Caribbean

      "Once we realize that we are the literal offspring of a Heavenly Father . . . we build a shield around our inner core of self-worth." What a precious thought. Thank you for walking us through this raging battle and showing us how to win.

    • Farawaytree profile image

      Michelle Zunter 

      2 years ago from California

      Great hub - I love your viewpoints and I do believe we are all the possessors of our own power which can become weak and needs to be constantly nourished with our will to thrive. No one can do it for you.

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks, Mel. You are so right! It depends on which wolf we feed!

    • denise.w.anderson profile imageAUTHOR

      Denise W Anderson 

      2 years ago from Bismarck, North Dakota

      Thanks, Bill. A Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Just stopping by for a quick hello and to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!

    • safe-at-last profile image

      Mel Stewart 

      2 years ago from Western Australia

      I all depends on which wolf you feed ;)

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