Some Simple Steps – Approaches to Building Inner Peace

  • Reflect on what personally gives you the greatest peace – puttering in the garden, walking outdoors, meditation or prayer, relaxing in a hot bath, or whatever. This is sacred space, to be treasured and valued – your beautiful connection to the sense of oneness and harmony with the universe that is the essence of peace. Reflect on ways you can expand that connection, taking more time for it, and whether there are ways to bring that sense of peace into other parts of your life. For example, if you feel peace when you listen to certain kinds of music, are there ways to bring that music to more settings in your life?
  • Explore traditional approaches to building inner peace…yoga or meditation, or reading spiritually uplifting texts, etc. This website lists online resources to explore these.
  • When you are feeling stress or internal conflict, take time to explore key questions – in reflection, writing, prayer, or talking with a trusted friend – such as:
    • “What am I honestly feeling?” – Take time to fully express feelings, without censoring or trying to be reasonable. Negative feelings (irritation, jealousy, envy, etc.) are okay, they’re just part of our humanness. We need to be aware of what we’re feeling, accept the feelings as they are, and explore what’s causing them. Suppressed feelings will cause internal stress, emotional disconnection, and inner turmoil. Peace definitely does not result from suppression of parts of ourselves.
    • “How can I respond to these feelings with self-love and compassion?” When we accept our feelings with compassion, lovingly, without judging ourselves harshly, then we are able to integrate the feelings and find solutions in a healthier way. Some might use prayer, connecting with a loving and compassionate God, others might talk to caring friends, others might envision themselves as their own best friend, or the nurturing part of themselves.
    • “Can I see those who are triggering my negative feelings through a lens of compassion, seeking to understand what caused their actions?” Even though others’ actions feel hurtful, seeking to guess at what might be driving them to those actions results in stepping out of a ‘victim’ perspective. If we see ourselves as the victim of others’ actions, we stay in a place of hurt emotions which limits our freedom and power to act effectively. It is helpful to see that hurtful behavior comes from insecurities and fears, or lack of skill in handling the situation in a positive way. No one who has a positive attitude about themselves and life in general would intentionally hurt someone else. And if we are feeling good about ourselves, we know that we never deserve to be treated badly. If we step away from feeling the victim, we can more easily create a positive resolution to the situation. If we avoid being the victim and taking things personally, that is a huge step forward in inward peacemaking.
    • “Underneath it all, what am I really wanting – what would meet my needs and bring me to a place of peacefulness?” So often we have conflicting needs – for example, to be a responsible parent and to have time for ourselves. If we let ourselves acknowledge and positively affirm the validity of each need, we can more peacefully move to the right balance, or creatively integrate our needs.