Inner peace - What is it and how do we achieve it? That is the question we keep trying to find the answer to. Inner peace is described as self-acceptance, being honest and present with oneself. In the book The Tao of Pooh, Benjamin Hoff writes: “Do you really want to be happy? You can begin by being appreciative of who you are and what you've got.” That sounds simple, but it is very complex.
We live in a society where we are overloaded. We carry burdens and feel stressed. There is a constant struggle to go bigger and better, no matter the sacrifices. In this struggle, we often lose ourselves along the way. We must learn to face each problem, each day and learn to cope with the turmoil of everyday life. When we are at peace with ourselves, then only we can be at peace with the world outside.
The first step toward inner peace is acknowledging that certain things in life are out of our control. We are not perfect, but we are unique and beautiful. Set yourself free and make peace with yourself.
Here are a few tips that will help you to be at peace with yourself to attain inner peace:
- Make attaining peace a deep intention. Start by creating a list of your strong qualities. Also, include traits you wish to work on. For example, patience may be a part of my intention. But, I may not be the most patient one, and that leads to unwanted stress. If I make it part of my plan, I am more likely to focus on building patience and learning skills to relax in stressful situations.
- Identify your core values. Identify the things that are important to you and live your life by these values - the values that you believe in. By doing this, you are being yourself instead of satisfying someone else’s needs, expectations and demands. Do not compromise your core values to be liked or get ahead. The feelings that result from that compromise are negative and toxic to achieving inner peace.
- Do not try to be a perfectionist. When you make mistakes, don’t beat yourself up and make yourself feel worse. Validate your efforts and motivate yourself to do better. Embrace your mistakes. By taking ownership of the situation, you are taking responsibility for your life.
- Learn to accept people the way they are. Accept the fact that many things in your life will not change no matter what you do. Accept that there are people who, despite your attempts, will not change and will not be the way they ought to be.
- Forgive yourself. When you forgive yourself, you move on from the past to the present. If you don’t forgive yourself, self-doubt will eat away your self-esteem, self-respect, and confidence gradually. You must forgive yourself to accept yourself.
- Forgive others. Try to understand others instead of judging them. When you are compassionate to others, it raises your self-esteem. Forgiveness is letting go. It is the road to healing, growth, and possibility.
- Make amends as soon as possible. If you happen to hurt someone or fail to act with integrity in any situation, make amends immediately. Don’t wait to correct yourself. By doing this, you will find peace of mind in the fact that you have done your part to correct your actions. This will relieve you of any ill feeling or guilt, and help you to be at peace with yourself.
- Learn to be patient. Don’t let anyone push your buttons. Be patient and take a deep breath before reacting to people. Respond in a calm manner consistent with your core values.
- Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend. Be compassionate and kind. Do not berate yourself or beat yourself up for making a mistake. Validate yourself. When you are going through a difficult phase in life, take out time to reflect on the situation. Feel every feeling and use it as motivation and meditation. Each day remind yourself of your core values and the goal to find inner peace.
- Meditate. Meditation helps you to be calm and composed. Meditation helps you to be in control of your thoughts and emotions. It enables you to keep things in perspective and make accurate judgments. Your anxiety, tension and all other unnecessary emotions make way for positive thoughts. So start meditating to change your life for the better.
- Create a space to sit with your thoughts. Create a safe space for yourself where you can just sit and observe your thoughts, feelings, and your inner struggles every day. Give yourself a place where you can get in touch with your inner thoughts, without judging them. Be it your car, office, home, a park or a spot in your backyard; any place will do as long as you feel comfortable and secure. Try writing down your thoughts and feelings in a journal. Documenting your thoughts can help clarify feelings, reduce stress, and help solve problems - all of which can lead to a greater sense of inner peace.
- Look outwards. Take a moment and look outside of your problems. Look at the world at large. Educate yourself, read things about other people, culture, and tradition. This will make you realize that the world does not revolve around your problems. Be open and caring to those around you. When you genuinely care about others, it helps reinforce your inner peace. When you start helping people, you stop focusing on yourself and realize that life is worth living.
- Learn to smile. Peace comes to you more easily when you smile. Smiling is the universal sign of happiness. This is because smiling reduces stress, boosts your immune system, and improves your overall mood. Best of all, smiling is contagious.
- Don’t allow others to make you feel small, guilty or insecure. Nobody has the right or permission to make you feel guilty and small. If someone is mistreating you or making you feel bad about yourself, you have permitted them to do so. Decide to say 'No More!' Review your core values and focus on your positive qualities. Remember that we can not change other people, we can only change how we react to them.
- Never lose hope. Hope leads to peace. When you are shrouded with worry and stress, you forget to be hopeful. When you have hope deep within your heart, you know everything will be alright. You know that although things are terrible at the moment, you have the inner strength to put yourself back together again.
- Spread your inner peace. Spread your inner peace to people around you. Let it radiate in relationships that you share with others. Allow yourself to be honest and present in every moment of your life.