Inner Peace. Isn’t that what we’d all love to experience consistently as we weave our paths through everything life gives us? The good news is that it is far simpler to attain than many of our outer (material or physical) goals. The bad news is that simple isn’t always easy! Attaining inner peace is not easy because it means replacing old habits with new, and that requires dedicated commitment. But the benefits are absolutely worth the effort.
Inner peace gives you the ability to live your life with a sense of happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment which is not disturbed or influenced by outside events. How do you acquire it? By living your life your own way, not how others think you should. By not worrying about what others think of you – we all judge others (both positively and negatively) according to our own values, but if we try to live our lives in a way which honours somebody else’s values rather than our own, we’ll always have a little gnawing discomfort going on deep inside.
To experience inner peace, we also need to be able to forgive and to let go of guilt. Forgive yourself and forgive others. Feeling guilty about past actions won’t change them and won’t make anybody feel any better (either you or the person whom you’ve hurt). Do what you can to put things right, resolve to do better in the future and move on.
Likewise, letting go of anger or grudges will bring about a surprising sense of peace. Think about it – how does holding onto these negative emotions help you? And do you think they hurt those against whom you hold them more than they hurt you? Not at all. They are your emotions and you are the only person whom they can harm.
Of course, it can be very difficult to forgive someone who’s hurt you, but what I’ve come to realize is that most people don’t maliciously set out to hurt others, and those who do are deeply unhappy themselves. The motivation behind their action was most probably some kind of fear rather than deliberately wanting to cause hurt or pain. And thought of in that context, it’s easier to let it go.
And with a little bit of practice at forgiveness, you may even find yourself getting less annoyed or angry with people in future. When you can shrug things off and not take things personally (it’s really about them, and not you at all), you’ll have a greater sense of inner peace. Our happiness is determined by how we think about the events in our lives, rather than by the events themselves. Take charge of your thoughts and you take charge of your emotions.
To achieve inner peace, you also need to let go of worry. Hmm, another tricky one! Worry is similar to guilt. Worrying about what might or might not happen is completely unproductive, and totally destroys your ability to enjoy the present moment. A great shame that, as the present moment is all we really have.
So, how do we learn to let go of worries, guilt and anger? Well, the first thing is to become consciously aware of what we’re thinking whenever we feel worried, guilty or angry. Notice what’s going on in your inner dialogue, and acknowledge that it’s your thoughts about the external event that’s causing you to feel the way you do, and not the event itself. Then reframe your thoughts to reflect what’s going on around you in a more positive light. Whenever you catch yourself thinking the old thought, banish it immediately and replace it with the new one.
“No-one can create negativity or stress within you. Only you can do that by virtue of how you process your world.” — Dr Wayne Dyer
This will take a lot of practice but with patience and persistence you will develop a lighter inner dialogue that promotes a feeling of well being and inner peace, and the world will feel like a far better place to live in!