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We’ve all heard the wise advice “Don’t believe everything you hear.” But there’s also wisdom in a similar idea: “Don’t believe everything you think,” because some false information may come from our own thoughts.

Editor's note: “The Spoken Word” is shared by Lloyd Newell each Sunday during the weekly Mormon Tabernacle Choir broadcast. This will be given Aug. 13, 2017.

We’ve all heard the wise advice “Don’t believe everything you hear.” But there’s also wisdom in a similar idea: “Don’t believe everything you think,” because some false information may come from our own thoughts. We may think things about ourselves and others that simply are not true — thoughts like “I can never change” or “I can’t forgive this person” or “I’m not good enough” or “She doesn’t like me.”

The danger of such thoughts is that they don’t stay thoughts for long. They can quickly harden into beliefs that affect the way we see the world. Soon those beliefs become actions that can limit our progress, damage our relationships and hinder our happiness.

So how do we prevent this? One approach is to treat our thoughts the way we would treat other information we might encounter. We can ask ourselves, “Is it true? What evidence do I have? Does it square with other things I already know? Is there another explanation?” We can listen to our conscience and to trusted loved ones. It takes courage and humility to evaluate our thoughts in this way, because it might mean admitting that we were wrong!

Not long ago, some teenagers decided that a beautiful young woman at their school didn’t like them. She hardly ever looked at them, and whenever she did, she squinted at them. They concluded that she was vain and conceited. What they didn’t know was that she had poor vision. Even with contacts, she had to squint to see people. Once people actually got to know her, they realized that she was very kind and wonderful. But for too long, people who could have been her friends avoided her because they believed their incorrect thoughts.

Is it time to debunk some myths in your own mind? A good place to start might be those negative or degrading thoughts — about yourself and about others. You can change, and so can others. You can forgive, and so can others. People might like you more than you think. And you might like them more than you think. Give your beliefs and actions the firm foundation of true, uplifting, charitable thoughts, and remember, don’t believe everything you think.

Tuning in …

The “Music and the Spoken Word” broadcast is available on KSL-TV, KSL Radio 1160 AM/102.7 FM, ksl.com, KSL X-stream, BYU-TV, BYU Radio, BYU-TV International, CBS Radio Network, Dish Network, DirecTV, SiriusXM Radio (Channel 143), mormontabernaclechoir.org and youtube.com/mormontabchoir. The program is aired live on Sundays at 9:30 a.m. MDT on many of these outlets. Look up broadcast information by state and city at musicandthespokenword.org/schedules.