Finding Peace in Our Lives
By: Margaret MacMillan
Conflict is all around us. It occurs when opposite sides clash in a protracted disagreement or argument. We are constantly being reminded of religious, political, and ideological conflict when we turn on the news, log on to Facebook, or watch a documentary on TV. Conflict doesn’t always spring from hate, but it can certainly cultivate that emotion and can often be born from frustration and resentment.
In our own lives, conflict can occur when we disagree with a friend, family member, or some form of authority. It can also arise when we are defending someone we care about against the actions or words of another. And, it can occur when we are trying to protect ourselves or someone we care about from something we believe is harmful.
We can argue that it is impossible to live in a world without conflict. Perhaps, but, at the same time, we can try to minimize conflict in our lives by finding peace within ourselves and spreading the message of peace to those around us. If we don’t start with ourselves, how can we expect the world to be a peaceful place in which to live? Perhaps by learning to live peacefully, one person at a time, we can create change.
This may not be as far-fetched as it sounds. When you stop and think about it, how much of the conflict we engage in is really necessary? I would argue, very little. Often it is born of misunderstanding, failure to recognize the other side of the argument, and even an unwillingness to look at a problem from a rational stance. If we approach our disagreements from a place of inner peace, we may find that understanding and a readiness to be sensible follow suit so that the matter can be resolved before it turns into conflict.
How do we find peace within ourselves in order to be able to use it effectively in our dealings with others? First, we must understand that finding inner peace is a choice we make. To attain it, we must commit to it. We must also be realistic about it. Inner peace can be achieved without going into seclusion or becoming a martyr. It is a state we can realize in the real world and practise daily.
The following three strategies might help you find inner peace so you can live a life with less conflict:
Accept Who You Are
Adults carry baggage. It’s a fact of life. Difficult memories from childhood often accompany us into our teenage years sometimes making it tough to love ourselves. When we carry this inability to love ourselves into our adult lives, it leads to unhappiness and conflict within ourselves and in our relationships with others. Accepting who we are, forgiving ourselves for the mistakes we’ve made, forgiving others for the mistakes they’ve made, and believing in ourselves causes the conflict within us to subside. It is replaced by calm self-confidence that allows us to approach every decision we make from a more rational viewpoint.
Accept that You Are Loved
Loving yourself allows you to accept the love of others and to love them back. A heart filled with love is content, trusting, and peaceful. Experiencing all these different kinds of love allows us to approach life from a more open and caring place. We will be less likely to find fault with ourselves and others and more open to finding positive solutions to problems that arise. Love contributes to our inner peace by making us more content.
Change Your Thoughts
We may not think we have control over our thoughts, but we do. When we take the time to focus on them, we may find they don’t always reflect who we are or what we actually feel. By looking at them closely, we may discover that many of our thoughts are fear-based and judgemental. Rather than think, “I can’t do that because I might not be good at it,” try “This is the opportunity I’ve been waiting for.” Living life without fearful thoughts increases our sense of self and unlocks the door to inner peace.
When we are at peace with ourselves, we are at peace with those around us. That isn’t to say we will always agree with them. We won’t. But we will be able to approach the way we deal with disagreements and problems from a place of contentment and create rational solutions that are in the best interest of everyone involved. Inner peace may be catching, so when you feel you’ve achieved it, pass it along.