It has been talked about as long as people have had the power of thought and speech. An ideal state of affairs between individuals and groups, and between humankind and our environment.

As much as it has been talked about and despite the fact that life is less barbaric than it was in centuries past, we have failed at achieving enduring peace. Have you ever wondered why?

At a recent Thanksgiving dinner, I was talking with one of my best childhood friends, who is as good as a brother, about some public issue. His son, who is in his forties and rabidly opposed to our views, overheard us. Instantly and without regard for courtesy, he jumped in and contradicted what we were saying, as if to say that we were ignorant, irrational old men. His tone was wildly out of proportion to the mood of the moment. If you had been there, you might have thought he had been personally attacked. Now, he is actually a very nice guy, and I like him, as I like all of my friend’s kids. It’s just that, when he hears something that triggers him, he loses self-control, and can become verbally abusive. Some of what he said even insulted his father. While he is successful in business, he is unmarried, no children, and may feel somewhat lonely and unfulfilled in his personal life. I have to wonder whether he is at peace, internally.

This raises a question: Is it possible to be at peace with others, while we are not at peace with ourselves? Furthermore, when we ask what it means to be at peace with ourselves, it makes sense to examine the features of being in that harmonious state. Consider the following.

Having done wrong, we let go of self-blame and disappointment. We forgive ourselves.

We find contentment with what we have, rather than focusing on what we are missing.

We accept ourselves as we are, and refuse to allow critical voices of others to tell us to be something or someone else.

We release judgment and grudges towards those who have hurt us. We forgive.

We focus our attention on the things we can influence, and do not worry about things we cannot control.

We maintain a balance between giving of ourselves, and knowing when not to give of ourselves.

We understand our limitations. Thus, we concentrate our energy on building upon our strengths. At the same time, we challenge ourselves by occasionally doing something difficult in order to foster personal growth or to help people and our community.

We do not envy others.

We accept our emotions without being governed by them.

We continue to learn throughout our lives.

We exercise good self-care for mind and body. We respect the body and mind that we have been given as a gift.

We are able to submit our egos and to live for something greater than ourselves.

To be sure, this list could be longer, but for the sake of brevity, we will stop there. If this article has spoken to you, and you would like to explore attaining inner peace, numerous avenues are open to you. You can find helpful resources on the internet, in books and in recorded teachings. You could join a group. Or, you could work with a coach/counselor. If you would, indeed, prefer to explore this with a professional, please do not hesitate to reach out. Working through issues with someone impartial might be just what you need. The phone number is (219) 309-3928. It would be an honor to work with you.

For more thoughts click Conflict #20 – The Internal Struggle

Thanks for reading!