Past. Present. Future. What do they teach us about the human experience? How can they be related to living in peace?
The simplest classification of the things we are and the things we do is on the basis of time.
1. There is everything that we have done. 2. There is everything that we are likely to do. And, 3. Jammed in between the two, and quite frankly the only part that matters at any given moment, is what we are doing. The Chinese philosopher, Lao Tzu speculated “If you are depressed, you are living in the past. If you are anxious, you are living in the future. If you are at peace, you are living in the present.” Think about this. This understanding happens to be central to the idea of living in peace. When we worry over things that are not happening currently, we are throwing away the only means by which we can take control of our lives.
This is but one of the many secrets we need to remember if we want to live in peace. Being able to live peacefully is something that needs to come from within. Regardless of what may be going on outside, you should be able to have a clear state of mind. Here are some other reminders for you, that you need to keep in mind to maintain a peaceful life.
1. Kindness goes a long way
Being abundantly kind brings along with it a sense of selflessness. Time and again, research studies iterate how spending money on others or simply giving brings a lot more happiness and satisfaction than doing it for yourself. Being kind to every kind and not just fellow human beings is a promising path to being peaceful.
When you repeatedly practice kindness until it becomes second nature to you, you learn to be able to look for the best in any person. What is the worst thing that can happen when you are kind? That’s right. Nothing can go wrong with kindness. Be on the lookout for people who may need it and offer it unapologetically. Kindness goes a long way. Your tiny act of kindness can light up somebody’s day.
2. Limit your focus to things that are under your control
A lot of our worries would disappear if we choose to focus on the parts of our lives that we can control. When something beyond your control doesn’t go your way or how you expected it to, bring yourself up to accept it gracefully. How is worrying over something that is not in your hands going to help you and the situation?
Instead, restrict your focus to the things that you can control. Make sure that you put in all the effort you can to achieve something. Understand that that is the best you can do and sometimes, despite all your hard work, things may not work out. Look to make the best of whatever situation may come your way. Learn from your mistakes and try to do better the next time.
3. Healthy lifestyle habits for long term benefits
Practicing healthy lifestyle habits like regular exercise or yoga can contribute greatly to your inner sense of peace. Yoga and meditation are two such practices that are well known for developing peace.
But in a deeper sense, when you engage in such physical activities regularly, you remain healthy. Being effective mood lifters, they can offer you a sense of security. Moreover, when you regularly practice, it helps you get better acquainted with your body and your mind. Both of these connections are central to developing inner peace and can guide you towards it.
4. Learn to make progress in private
When you start developing inner peace, you may stop feeling the need to impress people. You would not feel the necessity to publicize your progress or rub it on anyone’s face. When you make progress in silence, and when you learn to keep winning in silence, you ward off any jealous eyes that may be eyeing you with envy, waiting to see you fail.
Keep working hard in silence and when you succeed, your success will speak for itself. Your progress, your improvement, and your wins will keep you satisfied. And as long as you are content, that is all that will matter. Your peace will come from within and will not rely on validation from external sources.
5. Make choices that bring you happiness
Most important in living in peace is to make the choices that you truly want. Do things that make you happy, in an unrepentant manner. For most of us, what stands in the way of making decisions that make us sincerely happy, is that nagging thought – “What would others/ my parents/ the society think?” True peace finds us when we shed this.
We live once, we have one life, and we need to stop worrying about others so much and instead focus on how we would like to spend it. So, the next time you are worried about what your neighbors will think when you run in shorts or use a pogo stick, remember they are not the ones who are in charge of your life. You are. As long as something brings you happiness, remember who truly gets a say in it. Sacrificing your happiness to please others is not going to help you in the long run. In the end, you are the one that has to live with the choices you make and not them. Keep this in mind.
6. Surround yourself with people who want the best for you
As you grow up, you will start understanding the importance of quality over quantity. Learn to have friends who want the best for you around you and not simply anyone and everyone just so you can have a large group of friends. Understand that the number doesn’t matter as long as the purpose – to have a supporting and accepting environment – of having friends is fulfilled.
Remember that it is of utmost importance and your responsibility to guard and protect your peace at all costs. So surround yourself with people who are conducive to your mental health, your happiness, and your peace. Identify toxic situations and relationships and walk away. As difficult as it may be, this is how you take care of yourself. The right people will come to you and prove that they will be there for you.
7. Strengthen your connection with yourself
Spend time regularly to strengthen your connection with yourself. The ‘inner’ in the inner peace denotes your mind/thoughts. Hence, your connection with yourself is vital for achieving inner peace. Taking time to reflect on your thoughts and introspecting is a very effective self-care technique that enables you to form a strong bond with yourself. Learn what you have to say or how you truly feel about something. Learn to be vulnerable with yourself. Only when you know yourself inside out, and accept yourself as you are, can you live in peace.
8. Look for happiness in the little things
Most of the time, we are too focused on the big picture, waiting for some miracle to happen, waiting, waiting, that we forget to enjoy the little things that come our way. We are so focused on arriving at the destination that we fail to enjoy the journey as we go through it. Learn to be able to search for happiness and find it wherever you are. When you are able to do this when you get adept at finding happiness in the little things, your ability to live in peace starts coming from within. When you come by these small moments, learn to appreciate them.
9. Have hopes not expectations
Finally, take a moment to reflect on the difference between hopes and expectations. When you have expectations, you are waiting for it to happen. You strongly believe that something will happen. And when it falls through, you are left with bitter disappointment. Hope is subtler than expectations. It is a healthier outlook, a simple optimism on how your future will turn out. You desire for something to happen but you also consider the very real possibility that sometimes it may not. Having hopes is healthier and it hurts you less. Learn to hope for your future and not expect.
A lot of what has been discussed can be boiled down to one notion. In the end, if you want to live in peace, free of the bothers of the external world, you are going to have to keep working on yourself. As long as you strive to be the best person you can be, satisfaction comes from the efforts that you put in.
And when you feel you have reached your fullest potential, when you are under the impression that you have finally become all that you can, you will feel content at knowing you have gotten where you aspired to be. Even then, you may recognize certain foibles within you.
You will, nevertheless, still feel peaceful knowing you are capable of identifying and recognizing these rightfully. We don’t underscore the importance of internal peace enough. Living in peace sets the foundation for a joyful and blessed life. Find your peace from within you. For that is the one that will endure.