Inner peace, just the sound of those two words suggests the possibility of greater happiness and contentment. Despite the distractions around us, peace of mind is attainable, and with it a state of psychological and spiritual calm.
As the focus of Positivity Guides is on practical ways to achieve happiness and fulfilment, we’re going to focus on just five key issues that block our path to inner peace:
The Inner Critic
Actually, some elements of being self-critical are a great way to push yourself into being a better person. Perhaps you want to do your job better? Maybe you want to help community members? You may even want to yell less at your kids. When you critique yourself, you have the ability to make changes.
But, can you go too far with this?
If you use self-criticism as a way to doubt your abilities, this becomes counter-productive. It’s one thing to say I want to improve and then find ways to go about doing so. It’s another when you infuse negativity about your abilities or even the abilities of others.
It’s important to use that inner voice to help you achieve success, as you define it. There are plenty of instances where you need to learn how to silence that inner critic.
You want to accept who you are. The person you have become took years to get there. If you need to make changes from within, focus on the aspects of your life that hold you back and use those as the basis for your change.
Everything you have done or accomplished in your life can’t be wrong. You wouldn’t be where you are if that were the case.
When you find times when you need to silence your inner critic, you will need positive reinforcement for yourself and from others.
These affirmations can help push you through the negativity and help you come to the realization that you have positive qualities.
The key is to repeat these affirmations, so they become a natural part of your life. Create a journal and record the times when you are feeling like you are putting yourself down. Revisit the journal at a later date to review and make this as part of your regular routine.
Some people need a bit more of a push to break from constantly thinking negative thoughts. In this case, it’s best to seek professional help. These professionals are trained to help people who find it difficult to do this on their own.
Silencing your inner critic takes some practice, but the rewards are worth the effort. You will increase your self-esteem and have a better outlook on life. One thing is clear, you will achieve more when you keep this positive focus than by constantly bringing yourself down. Others will also notice those positive changes and for the most part, will embrace them.
Forgiveness Leads to Inner Peace
One of your coworkers did something that really got under your skin. You focus so intently on it that you can’t even get your work done. On your way home, you find yourself irritable to the point you snap at anyone who says anything to you, even if what they say has nothing to do with the situation. You get home, and all your family members know to stay as far away as possible because of the mood you are in.
There are a lot of people on this planet. So many in fact, that at least a few of them are going to do things you don’t like. The crazy part about this is, you are the one with the problem. They will continue to go on about their lives. People keep these kinds of things bottled up for days and even weeks. When this happens, there is no inner peace.
Try the following experiment. The next time someone cuts you off while driving, imagine they are on their way to an emergency at the hospital. If you looked at it from that perspective, can you blame them for driving the way they did? How do you think you will feel if you imagine this scenario? It will be more of a feeling of peace than tension.
When you are dealing with your coworker who has done something you don’t agree with, can you put yourself in their situation? Try to see what motivated them to act in that manner. If nothing else, forgive them and see what that does for your inner peace.
When you genuinely forgive people, you will let go of the anger and tense feelings towards them. They no longer have the power over you that they had when those feelings welled up inside of you. Of course, you can’t pretend to forgive them only to still be angry at them. You need to truly let it go, which is not easy for most people to do.
If you find it difficult to forgive people, keep in mind that you lose control of your emotions. As mentioned, it becomes your problem more than theirs.
Step away from the situation and return to it when you are more self-composed. Play some high-intensity sports or do activities that will get your mind off of the situation.
After you have calmed down, you will be in a better position to look at the situation differently.
Finding Inner Peace by Doing What You Love
Are you stuck in a job or career you hate? Is it sucking the life out of you? Most people answer yes to both of these questions, and that is such a shame. This is no way to achieve any kind of inner peace.
Doing what you love will turn this completely around for you. If you have ever imagined doing something entirely different than what you currently do, try to imagine what your life would be like if you had a passion for your life’s work. You are much more likely to excel at what you are doing.
This is not to say that everything you do in your passion will be without problems. That is simply impossible. There are always going to be challenges and several of them may prove difficult at times.
But it is also solving those challenges that help you reinforce your passion.
If you do anything long enough, even something you love, you run the risk of burning out. This is why you need to take breaks like vacations or join activities that are not directly related to your work.
Consider hiring someone you can trust to run your operation, so you free up some of your time. Doing this, you can even choose to create other ventures or passions.
Start a foundation to help others. This can reignite the passion.
If you do get burned out, there’s nothing to stop you from selling your venture and moving on to something better. You can use the money from the sale to start up another passion you’ve been holding on the sidelines.
This doesn’t mean you should give up on something just because you have days where you are bored. No matter what you do, this is going to happen on occasion. It’s when it happens more often than not that you have to evaluate whether or not you are at the end of the road.
Only you can truly decide, but it can help to talk to your spouse and friends when you feel like you are there.
If you dread going to work every day and have become apathetic towards your company or business, staying in that situation is going to make you miserable. You won’t enjoy life, and it will become a chore to go to work.
Switching to something you have wanted to do will give you a sense of accomplishment and is the right step towards inner peace.
You see profiles of wealthy people and feel envious of their position. They are shown drinking expensive Champaign on the decks of their 100-foot yachts. They are shown in their multi-million dollar homes with several expensive cars in a gated driveway.
You are left to believe that they must be happy with all that money. But does money really lead to happiness?
This topic has probably been debated since the first days of money’s existence. People who have a lot of it certainly can buy more toys and live in better homes. They can hire people who can do all their mundane tasks for them.
Just because someone has a lot of money does not mean they are good at managing that money. Ed McMahon (of the Johnny Carson show) died a poor man. He actually went on the news begging for people to send him money so that he could continue the upkeep on his mansion. No one listened.
Elton John got to a point where he’d spent his entire wealth. He was able to come back from the trenches by performing in several concerts.
There are numerous cases of people who win the lottery and are miserable. Their marriages often end up in divorce, usually due to disagreements about how the money should be spent. Family members and “friends” come out of the woodwork looking for handouts.
There are also situations where people made a killing in the stock market and then lost most of their gains. These people had the further misfortune of having to pay taxes on those winnings.
In the United States, write-offs on stock market losses are limited. Therefore, those losses don’t offset the gains.
There are millions of people who never get wealthy in terms of money who live entirely satisfied lives. In fact, if you asked many of these people, they would not want the complications that are associated with having a lot of money.
As long as they make enough to live the laid back life they are living, this is all they need to stay happy.
People who “chase the dollar” tend to find themselves constantly chasing. Money follows people who are good at what they do and who don’t worry about where the next dollar is going to come from.
They are the ones that make money from what they love and are not as greedy as the people that are in it for the payoff.
Balancing Work and Personal Life
Americans work too much. We get an average of two weeks’ vacation, and many workers don’t even take advantage of that time. Many will go to work when they are sick because there is simply too much work to be done, or so they believe.
Contrast this with other countries. Many Europeans enjoy six weeks or more of vacation. They call it holiday. It is common knowledge that the worst time to travel to Europe is late July and anytime during August. This is because most businesses are closed during this period.
Maybe American companies are more productive, who knows. But Europeans seem to have a better handle on the whole work/life balance situation. Even if Americans have an edge on productivity (no proof, just speculation), you have to factor that they are going to be burned out more than the Europeans or any other countries whose time off is more liberal.
Burn out is a big factor in productivity or lack thereof. If you work more, but you can’t concentrate because you have been working like a dog, doesn’t it seem logical that reducing your hours may help you in the long run?
There are some people who can work long hours and not get burned out (or so they believe). Perhaps they don’t have families they go home to, or their family situation is not optimal. Of course, working long hours could be the reason for their discontent at home.
While there are some companies who are trying to bridge the work/life balance, many companies have a long way to go before making it a reality. Corporations are operating with razor-thin staffing due to layoffs and cutbacks.
Even with policies that are on the books to give more time to employees, these employees find it difficult to take advantage due to the worker shortages.
If you are in a situation where you are working crazy hours, you may want to seek employers who are serious about giving more time to their employees. Smart companies know that the right mix of home and work life will recharge employees to the point where they will be more productive.
If you can’t find any company, consider creating your own employment situation. The internet has made this easy to do, and you can start a business with skills you are already good at. Then, your biggest problem is to make sure you manage your time wisely, so you get work done.