If deep down you are not at peace with yourself then happiness will elude you also. Here are some things which you may need to change to move towards a more peaceful and contented life.
Deep down you don’t believe in yourself
- Can you truly say you like who you are? Judging yourself harshly will always lead to discontentment or even depression. We are our own worst critics, so when you catch yourself putting yourself down – stop it.
- Make a list of things which you have done or just things that make up you – things that you can be proud of. Disregard any negative labels you have received from others, and make your own list of your good qualities.
- Some qualities may be that you are generous, kind, compassionate, unselfish,well intentioned, a hard worker, or a good mother/father/daughter/son. These qualities are more important than what you may have achieved, even if you had received the Nobel Prize! Remember your good qualities.
Focusing on past stuff ups
- We all make mistakes, and we are all fallible so just get that! So unless it was a huge, huge mistake that cost lives or an environmental catastrophe then you need to learn to forgive yourself. Even if it was a catastrophic mistake you need to work on this and look at all the factors involved. Get some help in the form of good counselling.
- You can still forgive yourself and learn from the mistake. Make sure you don’t repeat this in the future, accept it and move on.
- If you continue to focus on past mistakes you are not living in the moment, you are in the past where you don’t want to be. Living in the past, especially if it was negative will prevent you realising a peaceful present. Shift your consciousness into the present moment and focus on what is at hand now.
Being a pessimist
- Although there are some advantages in being pessimistic at times, being pessimistic all the times is a distinct disadvantage. Generally speaking, pessimists think negatively, feel more stress, do worse at school or getting a satisfactory job, do not expect to do well and actually expect to be fired. They don’t fare well in relationships, or health either. However, their pessimism may be useful in preparing them for the worst, or spotting possible problems.
- By contrast if you are optimistic, you are more likely to reach success and happiness, do well at school, get a better job,have good health, more friends and a good social network.
- There is a downside in being too optimistic all the time in that optimists can overlook things which should be noticed and dealt with.
- Realists are in between, and see the advantages in taking a pessimistic or optimist outlook where appropriate. Being a pessimist all the time definitely interferes with peaceful feelings.
Fearing that things will stay the same forever
- A little like pessimism in that you’re thinking in a black and white manner all the time. Look at what you can accept, notice what you want to change, and then set about learning the skills to make those changes. Seeing yourself as a “can do” person can give you a sense of personal agency and lead to peace.
Not looking after yourself
- Learn to look after yourself before looking after others. This obviously does not apply if you have small helpless children to care for.
- Make the time to look after yourself – put that at the top of your things to do list. What can you do to nurture yourself, physically and mentally?
- Give yourself time to do yoga, walk, swim, read, or meditate, whatever brings you peace. See that your wellbeing is important and is worth protecting. Cross worry and guilt off your list.
Wanting to be perfect
- Seeking perfection is a sure way to lose your peace of mind. You will always be unhappy with yourself, your performance, and you will always be comparing yourself unfavourably with others.
- Accepting yourself just as you are, warts and all, and living in the present moment is the best way to nurture peace.
- Gain some discipline in your mind by meditating and being mindful.
Mixing with the wrong crowd
- Some people are not interested in spirituality or peace. They may be negative, bitchy, have very different values from your own, and you may be in conflict with them a lot of the time. Find other friends who have similar interests to your own, and follow your own path.
Not aligning yourself with your values and ethical standards
- Perhaps you don’t even know your values? Values are the ideals held by individuals or society as moral guideposts on the path through life. For example honesty, compassion, respect, cooperation, peace, love, responsibility simplicity or tolerance. They can be implicit or explicit and some may be held as more important than others. Values can often cause us to be in conflict with others who hold other values, or no values.
- Deciding on and being clear about your personal values can lead to a more peaceful life.
Taking things personally
- Someone does not notice you when you think they should. You feel hurt. Look at the facts, perhaps they actually didn’t see you.
- Someone says something which you take the wrong way; you take it personally when it wasn’t meant to be personal. Listen carefully and decide whether it was intentional, whether you imagined it, or whether it says something more about the other person than you. Choose not to be affected by these things, it may be about their needs, or expectations.
Allowing yourself to be exploited by others
- Sometimes we just have to learn to be assertive, learn to say “no”, and see others as they are – exploitative – and avoid them. This is part of looking after ourselves. No room for feeling guilty here either, you do not exist to look after the needs of others all the time. Occasionally perhaps, and if you have family responsibilities, yes, but not all the time. Being used by others can cause us to feel resentful, angry or frustrated because we can’t do things that would be nurturing for ourselves. It also disturbs our peace.
Not having any EQ
- We all know about IQ, that is a psychological assessment of our Intelligence Quotient. What many don’t know about is EQ or Emotional Intelligence. Academic intelligence does not have much to do with emotional life. Research has found that those who can understand another’s point of view, have empathy, see things from another perspective, control their frustrations and distress and to think clearly under stress have more emotional intelligence.
- There could be a link with optimism here as well.
- Those with a higher EQ are likely to be more successful than those having just a high IQ. This is because we all have to get on with others, and those with a higher EQ are good at that. They may, because of this ability, have more peace in their lives as well.
Not actually being aware that you need peace in your life
- Perhaps you have never considered that peace could be part of your life? Your life may be chaotic, conflicted, super busy or stressful. Peace never enters your mind. And yet it can if you make room for it. There are minutes, maybe many of them, when you choose to watch TV, idle away time on a computer, talk to all and sundry on the mobile while on the train, tram or bus, minutes that could be saved for some peaceful downtime.
- Choose to use some of this time for meditation which is very good mental discipline if you are in a noisy environment! You simply choose to hear it as noise you don’t have to tune into. Turn off your mobile or TV as there is nothing usually that is absolutely necessary that you have to watch or attend to. Create time for peace to happen.
Having inner peace helps us to respond and not react to life’s challenges. Building up skills to keep inner peace leads to more.