We hear a lot about peace on earth this time of year. But what does that really mean? Commonly defined as tranquility, calm, or the absence of conflict, peace—and the lack thereof—can take so many forms in the world today. Let’s take a look at the role peace plays in our daily lives and then we can explore how to live more at peace with ourselves and with others.
To make space for more peace in our lives, we must identify the things that rob us of the peace we seek. Armed with heightened awareness, we can work on letting go of what gets in the way. Here are some common culprits:
Perfectionism. Do you put pressure on yourself to avoid failure at all costs and succeed at everything you do, all the time? While this internal drive for excellence helps us strive for great things and achieve our goals, it can also be exhausting and can lead to unnecessary stress and anxiety, especially when we experience moments that we perceive to be failures. Falling short is, of course, inevitable, and we must learn to cope with failure in a healthy, productive way. In fact, failure is probably the most effective way to learn important lessons. Embracing failure as an opportunity for growth and letting go of perfectionism enables us to accept ourselves and our lives, however they unfold.
Comparison. You may know the wise saying: comparison is the thief of joy. If we’re constantly measuring ourselves against those around us, it’s likely that we will never be content with who we are and the life we’ve created—with our looks, our accomplishments, our homes, our belongings, our kids. The more we embrace ourselves for exactly who we are, the less time we’ll waste picking our lives apart for what they could be. Acceptance and peace will take root and result in a richer, fuller life.
Seeking approval from others. “People pleasing” sucks up your physical and emotional energy. The key to letting go of the need for approval from others is to practice healthy boundaries in your relationships, to develop keen instincts to know when you’re doing something solely for admiration from others, and to learn to follow this intuition.
Wholesome Habits: Cultivate Calm Every Day
There are many parts of life we cannot control, but we do have the power to put habits in place that foster peace, calm, and joy. Peace-inducing practices aren’t always easy to execute in our busy schedules. They take discipline, but the result—a more intentional, grounded life—is well worth the effort.
Mindfulness. At Bene, we’re big fans of a robust mindfulness practice. Mindfulness means being fully present in any given moment. Whether it’s spending time outdoors, meditating, breathing with intention, or taking a yoga class, mindfulness is crucial to maintaining inner calm. It grounds us, helps us work through difficult circumstances, and equips us with a healthy perspective on what comes our way.
Self-care. To experience true inner peace, you must take care of yourself. If we don’t take care of ourselves, we suffer—think burnout, illness, and chronic anxiety. Foster an awareness of what nourishes you physically, emotionally, and mentally. Then discipline yourself to integrate it into your life each day.
Healthy relationships. Take stock of your relationships. Which ones provide joy and support during difficult times? Pour into those relationships. On the other hand, if there are people who drain your energy, try putting some boundaries in place to protect your well-being.
For many of us, the holiday season can be the hardest time to find peace within ourselves. The juggle is real! It’s a hectic time and our to-do lists are a mile long. Kids are home from school and we interact with friends and relatives who might think differently than we do. The cumulative effect of stress and exhaustion can make us inpatient with those we love the most. Try to stay grounded in what you know brings you comfort and peace. And then let the rest go.
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