June’s bloggers for peace challenge asks us to consider peace in relationships or peace in the home. I’m running late with this post simply because there’s so much that could be said and distilling it into a few paragraphs needed some thought.
Friedrich Schiller said “Peace is rarely denied to the peaceful.” This, I think, is true.
As humans we have a vast array of behaviours and attitudes that enable us to cause chaos in the home, in the community or even on a global scale. These behaviours and attitudes result in pain and distress for all involved, they drive fear, hatred and cause unnecessary destruction. Fortunately we also have the ability to be tolerant, compassionate and patient and these human traits help bring balance to our world.
Being at peace with someone else – partner, sister, neighbour, colleague – can only happen when we have inner peace. So our quest for peace in relationships must begin by making peace with ourselves. Here are some thoughts on achieving inner peace so that we have space to fully appreciate the lives of others and in doing so build enduring, engaging relationships:
1. Acceptance. To achieve inner peace we have to accept ourselves for who we are; tall, short, portly, slim, serious, fun-loving, diligent or self-critical we are the sum of all our experiences to date and we’ll continue to be shaped by the things that are yet to happen. Acceptance puts us at ease with our physical presence, our personal characteristics and our abilities. Acceptance also gives us room to develop at our own pace instead of chastising ourselves for the absence of things we have yet to master.
2. Kindness. If you cannot be kind to yourself, how can you possibly be kind to someone else? Practice being kind to yourself, to offer praise instead of criticism. We all have an inner voice or self-talk, what’s yours saying? Encourage it to be kind, to accept who you are and be glad of this life. We’re all worthwhile, we all have value and we’re all loveable so stop doubting, be kind and keep that inner voice positive.
3. Forgiveness. Being human means making mistakes. We are learning creatures and we learn by getting things wrong. In order to let others learn we have to forgive their mistakes… The same is true for ourselves. Practice the art of forgiveness by forgiving yourself for your mistakes, learning from them and moving on. Dwelling on the past doesn’t change it but learning from it makes for a better future.
4. Thinking. Take time to think, reflect and consider. Modern society rarely offers the opportunity to stop doing. We are in perpetual motion and often have no idea why. Stop doing and take some time out to think, reflect and consider. If the things you’re doing aren’t bringing peace, happiness and fulfilment stop doing them. Change is always possible and life is too short to live every day in misery.
When we have inner peace we’re comfortable in our own skins, we accept who we are and acknowledge our achievements. We give ourselves permission to make mistakes and learn by doing so. We’re aware consciously and sub-consciously that what we’re doing makes us feel happy and fulfilled. The principles for inner peace are also the basis of strong effective relationships – acceptance, kindness, forgiveness and thoughtfulness.
Why try to change your partner, accept who they are and they’re more likely to accept you.
Why be unkind when we can give encouragement and offer praise just as easily.
Why hold grudges when they anchor us in the past? Forgive and move forward.
Why keep absent-mindedly doing when thinking and thoughtfulness are the true path to contentment?
Peace in relationships is dependent on inner peace, work for that and bringing peace to any relationship will be seamless and meaningful.
PS. Acceptance, kindness, forgives and thoughtfulness = love 🙂