Lifestyle Enhancement #8:
[OVERALL LIFE/INNER PEACE] I feel a sense of inner peace even when life's circumstances present me with challenging & stressful situations.
You have to reach a certain point of spiritual development before you can even conceive that it’s possible to feel inner peace while dealing with the regular, day-to-day aspects of life, much less the tragedies.
This achievement comes with a combination of age, introspection, and self-development. Age alone isn’t a sufficient enough catalyst to produce the mental and emotional development required to experience this feeling of inner peace.
It’s more a reflection of how introspective you are as a person and how willing you are to deal with your emotional “stuff.” And, believe me, all of us have “stuff.”
Our “stuff” is unique resulting from our in-born personalities, upbringing and life experiences. Before you can feel true inner peace, you have to deal with your own “stuff.”
This means that you are willing to get in touch with those aspects of yourself that are controlling your experience of life. The things that happen to us are only a part of how we experience life. The remainder – a bigger portion – comes from how we choose to respond to those things.
Two different people who have experienced the same trauma might handle it in completely different ways. One might retreat into depression for the rest of her life while the other might form a nationwide non-profit to respond to the issues that caused her trauma.
How you respond to those things that happen in your life is a reflection of how prepared you are internally to deal with various situations.
Many people choose the easy path of victimhood. They cannot be happy because they married the wrong person, aren’t a natural beauty, keep getting overlooked for promotions at work, or have a biological tendency toward depression or addiction.
Although it is painful, this is the easy fork of the path. On this fork, the victim doesn’t have to deal with their feelings about their past, their responsibility for creating their life, or the painful inner work required to heal.
The only way to reach inner peace is by taking the other fork on the path. That means accepting full responsibility for your role in creating your life from this point forward.
Healing your emotional wounds, understanding the internal beliefs that run your life, and learning to accept yourself fully are all necessary components of living a life of inner peace.
There is no right way to deal with these things, but most people find they need some combination of the following: self-help books, therapists, life coaches, religious leaders, chiropractors, acupuncturists, holistic health workers, and other professionals trained to deal with emotional healing.
This type of work takes years – there is no magic bullet. And that’s why so many people avoid the hard work of actually dealing with and healing their emotional selves. But the reward is there for those who do.
There is pain on both sides of the equation, but victims choose to keep theirs forever in order to avoid the emotional turmoil of dealing with what is inside. Frequently, they build up a life of “things” that should make them happy – a family, friends, a “good” job, a “nice” house, etc. But, for some reason they can’t figure out, they still feel that something is missing.
The people who feel some measure of inner peace each day of their lives - no matter what is going on around them - have earned it. No one is born with this ability – it is developed and honed through direct and prolonged effort. Monks spend a lifetime perfecting this feeling.
However, you don’t have to dedicate your every waking moment to this work in order to experience inner peace at a certain level. Unlike monks, most of us are not seeking true enlightenment – we just truly want to “feel” good each day.
In order to experience this feeling, you have to make a lifelong commitment to deal with your feelings and be honest with yourself. Many of the things we must work through in order to achieve this are blocks and walls that we ourselves have set up throughout our lives in order to protect our vulnerable emotional selves beginning in childhood.
Working with a professional who can help you identify the unique walls you constructed, understand why you put them there, and realize they are no longer necessary is the path to a feeling of true inner peace.
You do have a choice about how you live the rest of your life. In fact, as an adult, you are fully responsible for your life. What you have now is what you have created. Accepting this fact is the first step toward true happiness. The steps you take after that one can be difficult, but they're your only shot at achieving the inner peace you crave.