If everybody wants inner peace, why is it so difficult to find?
The average human being is a truly tortured soul; and of all the things we worry about, the most common is, ‘what if my life is supposed to amount to more than this?’
We could be relatively secure and have generally attained all the trappings that are supposed to come with success yet deep down inside, we wonder if there’s something more that we could be doing. We long for change; we lack inner peace.
At the same time, we may also feel the pressure to ‘behave responsibly’ and not disappoint other people. So we persevere with an excruciating existence, characterised by dull routines and chronic dissatisfaction.
For the courageous few who try to make changes, we label them as ‘going through a mid-life crisis.’ But what they’re experiencing is not so much a crisis as it is a quest for meaning; a yearning for personal significance.
Leading a meaningful life is not about amassing achievements. It’s about feeling like what we do matters, or has a positive impact in some way. When we feel our lives matter, or that we contribute something important to a larger whole, then we find peace.
When we were growing up, many of us expected to find meaning in our careers, or through having a family. We thought if we got a great job, found a stable spouse and had smart kids, our lives would be complete.
But as we embarked on our path, climbing the career ladder and raising our families, the fulfilment we expected remained elusive.
As a result, many people today are starting to question whether there’s more to life than just working towards the next big promotion. But the fact that most other people around them seem to be doing just that, and only ever talk about being dissatisfied without ever trying to change anything, makes them feel trapped and powerless.
Similarly, those who feel guilty about wanting more than just raising happy children have resigned themselves to living with the burden of unfulfilled potential.
We all know people who could be and do so much more, but their fear of failure, and losing other people’s approval, keeps them stuck.
If you want to find inner peace, never allow people’s perception of you to define your destiny.
Explore who you are and whether you’re happy; and if you decide that you’re not, use your discontent to create a breakthrough.
Being happy, or finding inner peace, is a choice. It comes with the commitment to make decisions that honour our lives every day. This isn’t the big, hairy deal most of us make it out to be.
In fact, it can be achieved in five relatively simple steps.
Step one is, put God first – Nobody knows the purpose for which you were created better than your Creator, so stop trying to find approval for your actions from other people who’re just as confused as you are.
Each day, commune with God, who dwells within you, through prayer or meditation. Give up the struggle and just be.
Stop trying to figure out how you could be more than you already are. Let go of your resistance.
God knows what you want; and He said ‘yes’ a long time ago. Your only job now is to feel good for long enough to receive the inspiration to act in a particular direction; then follow that guidance and trust that all will be well.
Step Two is, take responsibility for your life – Many of us love to blame other people for how our lives turn out, but Jesus said, “ask and it is given.” He didn’t say, ‘reach a consensus with other people first.’
You are the captain of your ship, the master of your soul; and nobody can create your life in your place. If you want something, it’s your responsibility to realise it; and you want more because you innately know you can have it.
Step 3 is, practice unconditional love – Nobody has the power to hurt you. Once you realise that, you don’t need to fear or hate anyone.
Anytime you hate other people, you’re separating yourself from God and the good things waiting to make their way into your life.
When people treat you badly, “turn the other cheek.” Literally, look away from what you don’t want towards what you do want, and the latter will come into your life.
Step four is, realise that you’re a work in progress – Take joy in your achievements but realise that it’s natural to want more. Be happy, not vexed, with your quest for growth.
If you want more, and believe that there’s nothing that you cannot have, then you can be happy in the knowledge that the life you want is unfolding in perfect, divine timing.
Finally, be thankful – Take stock of everything you have to be grateful for in your life. Be grateful for your blessings; and even those things that make you dissatisfied.
Finding inner peace doesn’t mean that nothing will ever ruffle your feathers. It means that you’re so confident in your ability to create a great life, that you use what you don’t want to help you identify what you do want, then focus on what you want.
Trust that what you want will come and be happy even before it arrives.
That is the key to inner peace.
“Imagine, if only for a moment, how much more peace you could experience in your daily existence if you would only allow yourself to see all experiences, both positive and negative, regardless of lessons learned, as gifts… Listen carefully, for the beginning of knowledge lies in this simple shift in perception. ” James Blanchard Cisneros
*Primrose Oteng is a Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP); and the Founder of the Positive Peace Project, an organization dedicated to creating positive change through personal empowerment. To find out more please contact [email protected]