March 26, 2019
Writer: J.D. Packer
Depression and anxiety are just a few of the struggles we face in this life. However, they are relevant to people’s lives today. Sometimes we can get stuck in the trials and wish they would end immediately. Other times we can be having the best time of our lives and wish it would never end. Lisa Fox, a counselor at the Counseling Center at BYU-Idaho said in her devotional address, this roller coaster of emotions can cause people to forget and miss out on their divine heritage.
Getting counsel for these issues is one of the great benefits of being a BYU-Idaho student. Fox is one of several counselors on campus. She gets to meet students who are looking for comfort in some sort of a way. Finding comfort was one of the themes of her devotional address.
In her interview with BYU-Idaho Radio, Fox emphasized there are different ways of coping with life’s struggles, but one of the most important things is to have the will to move forward.
“We sometimes see the challenging piece, or we are feeling the challenging piece and you think to yourself, ‘Oh no I am not going there. It is way too far outside my comfort zone. I’m not going to do it.’ I think when we can say, ‘Ok, let’s move with these varied feelings and emotions that I have or levels of confidence. Let’s try to move forward to the extent that we can. That’s where the excitement can come from,” she said.
Fox believes the willingness to approach what is happening and what is coming will help us move forward. People are always comparing themselves to others when going through these different phases of the good and bad. Social media can be a catalyst or a trigger on how we cope in the moments that make us depressed.
Fox gave four specific suggestions in her address to help comfort those in need and those who need comforting around you.
The first step is to recognize your shared divine heritage. She said we can more readily know and remember our divine heritage by nurturing our personal relationships with Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ. As we cultivate a relationship with Heavenly Father, we come to know him and know of the love he has for each of his children.
Recognition of influence of empathy is the second suggestion. Fox said empathy can be defined in many ways. “Feeling with people”, and “walking in someone else’s shoes” are examples of empathy. The example she used is “Empathy is seeking to understand another person’s feelings, thoughts, and condition from their perspective rather than our own.”
The third suggestion might seem confusing but it is to recognize that being other-absorbed can be just as harmful as being self-absorbed. The purpose of this suggestion is to make people aware of and prevent people from experiencing compassion fatigue and unhealthy boundaries as you endeavor to comfort those around you.
The fourth and final suggestion Fox taught is to recognize when you need help. Elder Jeffrey R. Holland, a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, gave some insight in a talk given to LDS Family Services that is pertinent to the topic. Elder Holland said, “For those of you who earnestly seek to bear one another’s burdens, it is important that you refortify yourself and build yourself back up when others expect so much of you and indeed take so much out of you.”
Fox concluded her talk with the following statement, “I bear witness of the power that comes from comforting and being comforted. We need each other. No one person is likely to meet all of our needs but ask for help anyway because you don't have to manage on your own.”
She taught life is meant to be experienced with others. Getting the fullness of life comes from the ups and downs. We need to be able to see triggers and things that can cause hardships on our path. With the Savior, we are able to find happiness in the darkness of times.