Every year on September 21st the world takes a moment to celebrate International Day of Peace. In honor of this great day, it is the perfect time to evaluate how to bring more peace into your personal life.
There is a common misconception that living a peaceful life means creating a life completely absent of anger, drama or fear. An image of a calm, uneventful and slow-paced life comes to mind. Some people may crave this sort of life, while others want to avoid it because they love the energy that comes from a more fast-paced life. This image, however, is somewhat impossible unless you live a life in complete seclusion with zero human interaction. Human relationships are messy and human beings are full of messy emotions. Living a peaceful life is about how you manage interactions with others and how you balance your life. Being a calm and content person regardless of the situations you are in is what creates lasting peace in your personal life. In order to do this, we need to find ways to balance our lives and our emotions so we are able to enjoy and learn from everything life brings, not just the good stuff.
As with all things, finding your way to a peaceful life is also a very personal journey. Some of us need to work more internally and some need to work on how we interact with others. If you are looking for ways to bring more peace into your life, here are a few suggestions on areas that may help you.
- Relax – I am often astonished at the number of people that don’t know how to relax. It isn’t a personal flaw, but more a symptom of society that labels any moment of “unproductive” time as a waste or being lazy. We go, go, go until we are exhausted and then we search for an effortless activity, such as watching TV, for relief. For some this is genuine relaxation, but for others it is the only thing they have energy left to do. To feel more peace in every area of your life, your body and mind need downtime that works for you. It may be playing music, reading, taking a bath, socializing or taking a walk. Whatever may speak to you, integrating a routine of relaxation into your life is key to balancing your energy and emotions.
- Process your emotions – We tend to numb our emotions. Some of them are bitter, painful and unpleasant. Some, on the other hand, are beautiful and wonderful. All of them are necessary. Numbing one means numbing them all. Trying to cut out anger, frustration and fear to simply glide through life would also mean cutting out all the wonderful emotions of love, joy and excitement. All emotions need to be embraced and explored in order to experience the type of inner peace that brings a blissful life. Holding emotions back or avoiding situations that may bring these emotions causes inner chaos that blocks inner peace from entering your life. When you are in a situation that causes some of the “negative” emotions, take a moment to acknowledge them instead of avoiding them. Then take steps to work through them in a constructive manner. This may mean journaling, addressing another person in the situation or taking some minutes in silence to understand what is triggering the feeling. Every person will handle this differently but a key to peace is facing the emotions directly.
- Be yourself – One of the most stressful things we can do to ourselves is trying to live up to who we are supposed to be instead of being who we truly are. If you are not living your truth, you will never feel completely at peace. Accepting who you are, loving who you are, and living who you are is critical in feeling constant peace. It is not always easy to be true to who you are, but the work is worth it. Spend time alone, learning who you are, what you want and what you like. Make a commitment every day to honor that and remove the things that do not. You are beautiful and perfect the way you are. The more you live that way, the more peace you will feel.
- Practice forgiveness – We all know that conflict is the opposite to peace, but many do not understand how holding grudges or anger towards others can be a key blocker in feeling inner peace. Forgiving others and yourself is the single most empowering act you can take. This is appropriate in all situations, even if it is not someone who has harmed you personally. This can be someone who you disagree with, such as a politician or a manager in the company you work. This may be someone who has harmed a friend. It may also be someone from many years ago that you have almost forgotten about. Holding anger towards any of these people, regardless of how small or how distant they are is going to keep that conflict in your life. Make a list of anyone who you haven’t forgiven yet. You may be surprised of the names that come up once you get started. Work through the list, one by one, and forgive them so you can be at peace.
Creating peace in your own life is the first step in creating a peaceful and loving world. I wish everyone a wonderful International Peace Day and hope you can create permanent peace in your own lives.