Have you ever been stuck in a cycle that seems to be going on and on for quite some time? You keep getting the same patterns, attracting the same type of people from your relationships, and things in your life seem to be predictable in a sense that you know how things will take place, and they are almost always in a bad way.
That’s because you haven’t learned the art of letting go, forgiveness, and changing your thought patterns.
Inner work allows you to let go of the things that don’t really seem to work in your favor. It allows you to stop holding on to people and situations that don’t align with where you are headed. It allows you to detach yourself from people and situations who just don’t bring out the best in you. When you’re able to work within you, you are also able to see things in a different perspective and expand your wisdom in life altogether. You’re able to understand that not everyone you meet is meant to stay. Some are there to bring you healing and growth. Some are there to shake you and make you realize the patterns you have been stuck with for so long. And that cycle of repeating the same dynamic has to stop now so the new beginning can finally enter your life.
Inner work allows you to forgive. Forgive yourself for your mistakes and wrong decisions. They took place in your life for a reason. Things that have happened already happened and you can’t change what’s in the past. There’s no point blaming yourself for not being wise enough and smart enough to make the right decision. You are not perfect. Life is all about taking risks, making mistakes, and learning from them. Forgive those who have hurt you and those who have wronged you. Holding on to that hurt and grudge is only going to take you further away from being completely happy. It only pulls you back from receiving love. You have to make a space for the right people to come in, and you’re not able to do that if anger and pain take up so much space in you.
Inner work allows you to create a new healthy mindset and get rid of the toxic one. It brings you a bigger view of things and situations that make you understand why things happened the way they did. It teaches you to focus on the brighter side and come out of the dark place you’ve been dwelling into. Inner work allows you to see things for what they are and not fantasize about the illusion of what you want them to be. It brings you clarity on things and people and it prevents you from overlooking the dangers that are presented to you. It protects you from people and things that will possibly harm you. It makes you learn how to love yourself and fully embrace your worth. It makes you see the value of being you, and that creates a healthy dynamic of you only allowing those energies that make you feel good.
Inner work ends toxic cycles and brings new beginnings. It brings you to a higher place of wisdom and understanding, healing yourself, and attracting better things in your life because digging deep to what needs to change within you is somewhat the key to align with what God wants you to receive, and you can only receive that once you’re fully ready to embrace what’s in store for you—when you’ve learned the lessons and established what you really want and deserve in your life.
To wake up and be alive is an amazing gift that we sometimes take for granted. I have noticed that at times, it’s so easy to become fixated on some of the smallest things or to become wrapped up in the messiness and dramatics of the world. Sometimes we get so lost in the hustle and bustle that we forget to really take care of ourselves mentally, physically, and spiritually.
We tend to forget the importance of voicing our needs, wants, and most importantly, taking the necessary steps to protect our energy and inner peace. We have all probably heard the saying “life is too short” a million times, and it may seem so cliché, but it’s so true. We must learn to take care of ourselves and live life to the fullest, but also live as stress-free as possible. The older I become, the more aware I am of how essential it is to start practicing and implementing these four steps in order to protect and foster inner peace.
1. Assertively State Your Wants And Needs To Others
It can be extremely difficult to express your wants and needs in an assertive way, especially if you struggle with finding the right words to say and tone to use. It can also be uncomfortable to share these things in a budding and fresh relationship or friendship, but it is crucial to do so to cut down on any confusion or misinterpretations that could possibly develop.
The beauty in assertively expressing your desires is that it allows your voice to be heard. Additionally, it allows for you to set the tone and guidelines in regards to how you would like to be treated. It can overall increase self-worth and help build mutual respect between both parties once it is clear of what your needs and concerns are.
Now, if someone does not respect your wants and needs, then this person may not be worth risking your peace. In the end, developing an assertive communication style can go a long way in promoting healthier outcomes among all parties and help maintain a stress-free atmosphere.
2. Surround Yourself With Supportive And Uplifting People
There have been times in my life where I surrounded myself with people whom I thought wanted the best for me. However, not everyone that you meet is worthy of being in your close-knit corner. I just couldn’t fathom how there were friends that stuck around for partying or drama but became silent when it came to supporting my projects or offering a listening ear during difficult times.
I didn’t notice what effect it had on me until I began to process my feelings and acknowledge that there was a lack of support. After processing my feelings, I found that removing myself from these half-assed friendships and pushing myself into a more positive environment led to meeting new people and developing more positive relationships. I cannot say this enough – surrounding yourself with supportive and uplifting people can help maintain your sanity, giving you that extra momentum to make it past a difficult situation and foster high confidence.
3. Try To Stay Positive And Optimistic
As a child, I would often hear teachers and other adults encouraging me to keep a positive attitude, but that’s easier said than done when your patience is being tested and you’re going through a very challenging time. However, choosing to see the good in things can improve your overall mood and decrease levels of stress.
Sometimes certain events happen that are out of our control, but you would be surprised at how choosing to view situations in a non pessimistic way, sheds a little light on a once completely dark place. Take a deep breath, activate your support system and positive coping skills, and try to remain optimistic during uncertain times.
4. Allow Yourself Time To Decompress From Outside Distractions
Please! Please! Please! Take a break from outside distractions and spend some quality time alone in a tranquil environment. Although there are positives to utilizing social media, there are also dangers to overusing it, just like with almost anything in life. For example, I have had to take numerous breaks from social media to clear my mind, because sometimes you can become over exposed to negative news or seeing people with fancy things that may evoke personal feelings of not making enough progress in life.
I have been guilty of this, as well as devoting too much time to social media instead of utilizing my time more wisely. Whatever the distraction may be, it is important to limit it to not only increase productivity, but to give you a mental break. Our brains seem like they are always on the go, so to be able to take some time to hit the reset button is always encouraged. Furthermore, allow yourself some time to relax, for your body and mind will appreciate you for this. You deserve it!
Overall, taking the necessary steps to protect your peace allows for a more stress-free and productive version of yourself to flourish. If you find yourself going through a turbulent period where it feels as though there is no peace, remember these four steps and evaluate how you could improve in each area. Wishing you all the best!
Inner peace is the state of being connected to the deep internal knowing that everything is okay, and always will be. The concept of finding one’s “inner peace” has been part of spiritual and metaphysical practices for centuries, and has just recently become more mainstream with the development of popular psychology.
Albert Camus once said: “In the midst of winter, I found there was, within me, an invincible summer.” That sums up the entirety of what inner peace really is: the understanding that no matter what is happening around you, there is a place of total knowing and calmness within you. Not only are you capable of returning to that place when you need to, but it’s possible to live your entire life from there. The challenge is learning how to connect with it in the first place and learn to rewire how you respond to your monkey mind, which is always jumping from one worst case scenario to the next.
You know when people reference knowing something “deep down?” They say things like: “I’m worried, but deep down, I know it’s going to be okay.” Or, “I’m angry at him, but deep down, I know he loves me.” What do you think they are referencing? Where is deep down? They’re talking about the place within them that has an infinite wisdom, a better understanding, and a more insightful perspective of what’s going on. It isn’t shaken by the stressors or fears that the mind wants to offer.
So much of the process of finding inner peace is being able to get to that “deep down” place where you know and feel, that ultimately, everything will be okay.
There’s another metaphor in meditation in which calmness is compared to steadying a lake or a large body of water. Your thoughts and actions are like stones in the water: they create a ripple effect. The point of meditation is to make yourself quiet enough so that the water comes back to its natural stillness. You don’t have to force the water to be still. It does it on its own when you stop interrupting it.
The same goes for finding inner peace. It’s not so much something you have to create as it is something you have to return to.
The goal isn’t happiness.
One of the most important parts of discovering your inner peace is that you trade in your desire for “happiness.”
Unfortunately, happiness is fickle. It can lead you to being unhealthily attached to certain achievements, belongings, or specific circumstances. It can lead you to become dependent on other people’s opinions, or life unfolding in a particular way. When your goal is happiness, you will always find just behind it a lingering sense of unhappiness – that’s how balance and duality works. Inner peace, however? That’s the state in between the scales. When it’s your goal, there’s no way to lose.
This is difficult for most people, and often, people will continue to create stress, problems, and drama for themselves because their egos are still very much attached to thinking they need some kind of external thing to make them feel good. This is the quintessential sign of someone who has not yet found their inner peace: they are searching, often rapidly, for a sense of satisfaction, belonging or worthiness outside of themselves.
So really, it’s not that happiness isn’t a virtuous thing to which you should aspire, or that happiness isn’t something you’re ever allowed to feel. The reality is that inner peace is the true happiness, and everything else is just a false means of trying to convince yourself that you are “okay.”
Think about it this way: What do you typically imagine will bring you happiness? Money, a relationship, a promotion? What happens when you achieve those things? Consistently, throughout all of humankind, the answer is the same: you return to your baseline. This is because this kind of happiness is not real. It is only being completely at peace with wherever you are in any given day that you will find a genuine sense of wonder, presence, and joy.
What drives us away from inner peace in the first place?
With all this talk of how we have to “come back” to our place of inner peace, it brings up the question of why we ever got disconnected from it in the first place. This is important because understanding why we lose it is fundamental in finding it again.
When we grow up, we adapt to our environments. We adopt the beliefs and ideas of those around us. We alter our personalities so that we become safer, people we believe can’t be hurt by the world. When we are children, we are more vulnerable than ever, and it’s in this time that we pick up what can easily become lifelong coping mechanisms.
If we are not instructed from a young age to connect with our inner sense of peace, we will instinctively begin to trust the voice in our head. This is where we really get lost, because the thoughts that we have on any given day are largely the product of what the Buddhists would call the “monkey mind,” or as a neurologist could explain it, the process of different receptors firing off and making associations with things, that may or may not have anything to do with reality.
When we begin to trust our thoughts, we let them inform our feelings. This becomes a cycle, and ultimately traps most people who aren’t aware that it’s happening. They have a weird or scary thought, have a subsequent strong feeling, and the combination of the two makes the situation feel real when it’s actually just a misunderstanding of your neurological process.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that our thoughts are useless. It just means that they are not always reflective of reality, and should be used as more of suggestions than anything else.
Why can’t people find their inner peace easily?
The answer is that they can, most people just aren’t instructed on how to. But beyond that, most people are actually too scared to go into their own feeling states, because their inner child is too traumatized.
Everyone has an inner child, it is the part of you that is most innocent and pure, and it never goes away. Over time, it is your responsibility for you to learn how to parent this inner child, who will honestly be the one to push you away from your inner peace. They will be the one to throw a tantrum and tell you that everything is falling apart and that you’re going to die and that you should just give up.
In the same way that you wouldn’t let a child run your waking life now, you can’t always believe what your inner child is afraid of. You can, however, learn to work with them, heal them, and make them feel safe… in the way any good parent would.
Dr. Stephen Diamond explains it like this: “To begin with, the inner child is real. Not literally. Nor physically. But figuratively, metaphorically real. It is, like complexesin general, a psychological or phenomenological reality, and an extraordinarily powerful one at that.” He argues that mental disorders and destructive behavior patterns are usually more or less related to unconscious parts of ourselves, and were most often adopted in early life.
Finding your inner peace is finding your inner warrior.
Finding inner peace isn’t always so much about just sitting in the lotus position until wisdom becomes you, it’s about making the uncomfortable decision to stay with your discomfort, and to choose differently regardless.
As Gail Brenner explains: “The inner war is perpetuated by resistance – that is, not wanting to feel the way we feel, not wanting people to do what they are doing, not wanting events to occur as they are occurring. Resistance wants to rewrite our personal histories and ensure that our plans materialize.” She argues that inner peace is the only kind that exists because nothing else is in our control:
“There is only one kind of peace, which is inner peace. Why? There is no “outer peace” because we are not in charge of the circumstances of our lives. We cannot design the world to our liking or even control our own thoughts and feelings. Peace is not to be found in any temporary arising; that is, anything that comes and goes, which includes events, people, objects, thoughts, emotions, etc. If we stake our happiness on things that are temporary, what happens when they appear or disappear? There goes our happiness. This truth begs the essential question: Do you want passing happiness or enduring peace?”
Another really amazing way to find your inner peace is to consistently remind yourself that your worries are a fabrication of your mind’s need to identify potential threats to survival, and your true happiness is being here, in the moment. If that’s hard to believe, make a list of the following:
– Everything you have intensely worried about in your life. Go back as many years as you can, and be as detailed as you can.
– Every difficult situation you swore you would never get through, or never get over.
– Every time you have genuinely felt happy and at peace.
Guaranteed, your responses to the first will bring a smile to your face in that they will remind you that you have worried constantly in your life, and yet they were all unfounded. Often, the things you worried about most were actually the things that were going to turn out the best. By the nature of duality, the very virtue of experiencing fear of them means you also experienced love from them.
Your response to the second will also be relieving, because it will show you just how much pain you thought was insurmountable in your life, and how, in retrospect, you don’t really ever think about those things anymore. Finally, your answers to the last question will remind you that your happiness has never come from things being perfect on the outside, but from you being present and open and connected to yourself, and to the moment.
Worrying is an addiction.
In the same way that it’s easy to become addicted to substances or behaviors that allow us to avoid the present moment, worrying is chief among the coping mechanisms people use to distract themselves from what really matters.
Over time, you have begun to convince yourself that worrying = being safe. You think that by running worst case scenarios through your head again and again, you will be better prepared for them. This is completely false. Not only are you draining your energy imagining situations that 99.9% of the time are completely manufactured, but when you are already hypersensitive to any one of these fears or ideas, you will actually create those circumstances simply out of your avoidance or over-responsiveness to them.
You have to remember that among all the things to know about the monkey mind, your head wants to constantly seek out situations and experiences that will affirm itself. If you believe something will be good, it will be. It might not look exactly how you imagined, but the outcome will be exactly what you expect.
Finding your inner peace is just connecting to your deepest wisdom. It’s not something you have to create, justify, imagine, or reach for. It’s always within you, it’s always an option, and it’s constantly a choice. You just have to make it.
Your feelings are not always facts.
The most challenging part of all of this is arriving at a place where you can discern between which feelings are instinctive and informative, and which are rooted in fear and ego.
In a world that constantly tells you that your gut knows everything, and that your feelings are real, and that, hell, if you reach in deep enough, you’ll uncover a well of wisdom that can guide you… it can be really easy to assume that every feeling and idea we have is not only real but is somehow forecasting what’s going to happen in the future.
Your feelings aren’t predictions. They are not fortune-telling mechanisms. They are only reflecting back to you what your current state of mind is. It’s like having a nightmare: the monsters aren’t real, but they could be metaphors for something you’re worried about in your waking life.
What holds so many people back from finding their inner peace is the fact that they can’t tell the difference between whether their fear is correct, or their peaceful feeling is correct.
Remember this: The feeling of peace is the one telling you the truth.
Your feelings aren’t here to tell you what’s going to happen. They’re only here to inform you of where you are at energetically and mentally, and how you should respond to what happens around you. Fear is trying to scare you into staying small and keeping safe. It is a mortal, limited thing. The feeling of peace is trying to remind you that everything will be okay because it always is… and always will be, no matter what.
You were never meant to find a permanent home in a temporary world.
Other people were never meant to love you into a feeling of safety and security.
The truth of the matter is that you are here to make a home within your own heart. You are here to learn not that you don’t need connection, but that without being connected to yourself, nothing else is viable. You are here not to burrow yourself into a life someone else built, but to find the courage to create your own.
You are your own home.
You are the person you were waiting for.
You are the love of your life and the hero of this story.
Your chest is where peace is. Your heart is where love is. Your mind is where inspiration is.
You do not need anyone to offer you anything more in order to create what’s meant to be yours.
You are here for yourself, first and foremost.
The people who walk along with you on the journey are never to be taken for granted, but they are also never to be utilized for your own emotional labor.
Because the truth is that it is nobody else’s job to make us feel safe, to make us feel that all is well and right.
Until you are at home in your own heart, you will never make peace with the world.
This is because you will constantly be requiring things to be different than they are, constantly be needing people to fulfill your own expectations of them, constantly needing to weave around your fears and your triggers.
What you have to realize instead is that home is not an idea, it’s not a place, it’s a way of being.
It’s a way you show up to your life and make it your own.
It’s a way you find comfort in the contours of who you are, not who you might one day become.
It’s the way you seek presence in all things, to realize that nothing is meant to be perfect, but everything is a new experience that you didn’t have before, and might never have again.
Making a home within yourself is knowing you will always be okay not because everything will go the way you initially planned, but because you will adapt even if it doesn’t.
Making a home within yourself is knowing that you will always move forward not because it won’t be hard to let go, but because you can do hard things.
Making a home within yourself is knowing that you will always return to peace, not because you will always be comfortable, but because you are willing to feel uncomfortable in order to have the life you’ve asked for.
We are not alive to coast.
We are not alive to seek safe spaces within the idea of another.
We are here to realize that we are the source of our own existence, of all that we create, of all that we are.
We are here to bring ourselves home, and then to show others the way back to themselves.