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This post is part one in a two-part series on strategies to find inner peace and happiness.
In this modern age and society, most of what we see in the news are negative occurrences. Therefore, achieving inner peace may seem far fetched or almost impossible.
Insidious stress levels brought about by increased competitiveness and an insatiable desire for clockwork productivity don’t positively contribute to our inner peace either.
There are several ways of enhancing inner peace on a practical level. Below are some strategies to attaining inner peace and happiness.
Almost everyone has been hurt by the words and actions of other people. The natural thing to do is to seek revenge, or at the very least wish that they receive justice one way or another for the hurt they caused.
Offences caused can conjure negative emotions such as anger, bitterness, and hatred. Forgiveness requires compassion, empathy, and kindness.
An offender may not recognise the extent of the hurt they caused you. Therefore, in order to free yourself from a heavy burden, it may benefit you to forgive.
I used to be that person who bore grudges. I would hold on to the past, and most of the time those who offended me didn’t even know it!
Forgiving someone for the hurt they have caused doesn’t excuse them from their wrongdoings. Ideally, they should make amends, but we don’t always experience the world ideally. We can only control our own actions and not that of others.
Where possible, tell your offender how they hurt you, with hopes of achieving a resolution. However, if you don’t feel comfortable or able to do so, having a heart of forgiveness would free you from the burden of the past, and give you inner peace.
Forgiving others also doesn’t mean allowing someone to continue hurting you for the sake of peace. It means that you choose to no longer think about how you were negatively affected by the wrongdoings. It also means that you no longer bring up what the offender did.
Hurt people may re-live their hurt, and punish themselves with guilt. As well as harbouring hatred for the offender, those who have been offended may begin to hate themselves.
They may distance themselves from their friends and family, and possibly become someone their family no longer recognise. Forgiveness is vital in order to avoid these negative feelings and behaviours.
Forgive others, not because they deserve forgiveness, but because you deserve peace ~ JONATHAN LOCKWOOD HUIE
It is important to acknowledge the mistakes that have been made and make the choice to no longer repeat those same mistakes. Sometimes this can be easier said than done, but it is definitely possible to do.
The first step in steering yourself in the direction of doing the right thing is being aware of your mistakes.
Positive affirmations of the characteristics you would like to emulate may help you to become who you would like to be.
There may be something you can learn from past mistakes. Being honest with yourself and learning from your mistakes could help you move forward and start forgiving yourself sooner.
When negative, critical thoughts come to mind, these can be countered with positive affirmations. With time, you will begin to forgive and feel better about yourself.
If the mistake you made hurt someone else, apologising and making amends with the person would not go amiss. One study found that it is easier to forgive ourselves when we first make amends with the people we hurt.
I find this to be true in my case. I found that when I apologised and made amends with family members I hurt, I began to forgive myself, and heavy burdens of guilt started to dissipate.
Recite Positive Affirmations
We sometimes have negative thoughts telling us many reasons why we don’t deserve forgiveness. The thoughts may try to convince us that what we did was so wrong and we deserve punishment for what we did.
While it is right to feel sorry for wrongs committed, choosing to punish yourself for mistakes will keep you in a field of negative emotions for longer.
Reciting positive affirmations is an effective way of boosting your mood, and attaining inner peace and happiness. These affirmations are a way of calling into existence the happiness and joy you wish for.
When we choose to recite positive affirmations, we are setting ourselves up for a more happy and fulfilled life. I have to be honest that I don’t always feel like what I am saying, but eventually, I tend to feel and sometimes experience those positive things I previously affirmed.
Writing down your affirmations and reciting them daily will also help with dealing with negative emotions.
Read more: 40 Positive Affirmations: Self Empowerment
Dismiss negative comments
Whether from yourself or from someone else, negative comments disturb your inner peace if you pay attention to them. Continuously rehearsing negative words can lead to depression and low self-esteem.
We all lose our temper and occasionally yell at others. No one is perfect, nor acts perfectly at all times. Although this is not ideal, this is normal. Normal disagreements usually get resolved. However, the constant use of demeaning and negative words is verbal abuse.
Verbal abuse such as name-calling, non-constructive criticism, and comments such as “you will never amount to anything” or “you were nothing before you met me”, all destroy one’s inner peace and should not be accepted as normal.
If at all possible anyone going through abuse should remove themselves from abusive situations and then try to resolve issues if it is at all feasible. See the resources page for a list of resources in England, that may be of help to those going through abuse.
Stay away from toxic people
It is vital for your peace of mind to stay away from those who disturb your peace.
Staying around people who are always negative is not healthy and doing so without boundaries, will have a negative impact on your mental health.
It may be difficult to stay away from someone who cannot be avoided, such as close family members or certain work colleagues, but it is vital for some steps to be taken in order to maintain your inner peace.
Set time limits on how much time you spend with such people and stick with it. If 30 minutes is all the time you can spend around a certain person, then only spend 30 minutes with them.
Don’t engage in uncomfortable conversations while with them. If you notice they start to discuss topics you would rather not discuss, that might be your cue to leave.
It is not worth arguing your point with this person or trying to make them change their mind. Their emotional or verbal abuse is not your battle to fight. This could make the situation worse.
Pray for Them
I was once a toxic person and no one could tell me nuffin’! It was not after I started making amends that some relatives told me that they prayed for me. I believe that contributed to my changing and I truly believe prayer works.
By the way, I’m still a work in progress as I believe we all are.
You may not feel like praying for a negative person. In my experience, praying for someone after removing yourself from the situation, is of benefit.
But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you ~ MATTHEW 5:44
What suggestions do you have for maintaining inner peace? Be sure to check out part two in this series.
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P.S. Check out my free e-book below to help you overcome worry and anxiety and live a more joyful and peaceful life.