We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves. ~Dalai Lama
In our time, there have been many quests done. Some of them are for physical objects, such as the Holy Grail and others are much more personal quests, like the trek in the movie “Wild”. These searches, whether for physical or mental discovery, always create an opportunity for an individual to learn more about themselves and what they are capable of doing. This is really what a quest is about.
During my youth, I dealt with abuse from peers, that some call bullying, but those of us that survived it know it is truly a form of abuse, leading to long-term damage into adult years known as C-PTSD.
For me, a person who would now be diagnosed as a highly sensitive person (HSP), I developed a loss of self-esteem and a pessimistic attitude about life and the people in it. This is not an uncommon event with youth abuse survivors.
But, at some time, many years after the abuse, the bad days started to outweigh the good days. I felt stressed, anxious, and even depressed about the cards dealt for me in my life. I lost any feeling of peace. It was gone…nada…no longer a part of me.
I would learn over the next few years, while seeking help with coming to terms with my past that this was my new norm, and it was up to me to find peace again.
So, I realized that I had to take my own personal journey, or a quest if you would rather, to find peace in my life again. I first had to confront the typical demons in my life that were preventing the quest to find peace again. I had to stop doubting myself, stop my self-loathing, and allow myself to be content.
Being content doesn’t necessarily mean true happiness, just a satisfaction with my life as it was at that point. Once I achieved these goals, I began my quest for peace. Here’re the steps I took:
Find A Way To Be Satisfied With Yourself
The first step on the quest for peace was to find satisfaction with the status of life as it was. We all have different status points. Some are doing better than others. But I realized a few things during this part of the quest… The happiest people I knew had the same thing in common.
They had no money, but they had lots of love. They loved not only themselves with all their heart, but those around them. There was no need to feel they needed anything. Imagine thinking that you had everything you needed right now. Wouldn’t that bring more peace?
Look For Opportunities To Help Others
How does this have anything to do with peace? In a recent study, it was found that volunteering, particularly in middle age, brings a more peaceful and less stressful feeling to us. I have always believed this myself. I call it the “selfishness of being selfless”.
It is a phenomenon that I have studied and makes perfect sense to me. When you are working and volunteering, you are usually helping others who don’t have as much as you do. Through this selfless act, you actually realize that you are much better off than you thought before the volunteer experience. This simple process brings you more peace of mind about your own life.
Practice Mindfulness And Gratitude Each Day
My final tip on the road to finding peace is to practice mindfulness and gratitude each day. Many of us lead busy lives and forget to appreciate the ability to have peace. This is not something we do naturally, so we have to learn to do this. By practicing mindfulness activities in our lives, like meditation, yoga, or a quiet walk in nature, we ground ourselves again and spend some time in a peaceful moment we have made for ourselves.
I also recommend doing a gratitude journal to recall all the great parts of your life. Just write three things you find peace with and are thankful for each day. By doing so, you will allow your mind to shift to thinking in a positive, peaceful manner.
So, really the quest doesn’t have to be difficult, you just need to be willing to make changes to what is already making you stressed, to find the peace you so much desire. I am amazed each day that I have found that elusive peace that I thought I lost as a child during my years of abuse. But the truth is it was always there…waiting within me to be released.