The world is unpredictable. Bad things happen to good people. Watching the news is depressing. It can make you feel anxious and scared, like all the time. It can make you take a default stance on everything, even your own life, afraid to give too much or try too hard because nothing is guaranteed.
Your own life is unpredictable. You make mistakes. You burn bridges and get in your own way over and over. It’s hard to stay positive sometimes, especially when you are not where you want to be and you look around and everyone seems to be thriving and doing extravagant things. There is pressure to measure up and make it look easy.
Many of us decide to deal with all of this by not allowing ourselves to be too happy. Imaginary limitations keep us locked up in our heads. We think that if we are too content, too peaceful with our lives just as they are, something terrible will happen to bring us back down. We think that we should deny ourselves happiness until every problem in our lives is solved.
Here in this in between place, we’re not miserable but we’re not exactly drunk on life either. We can’t change the uncertainty of the world we live in, but it is our responsibility to nurture the best that is inside of us, so we can make a real difference by being our authentic selves.
This starts with peace of mind. When you allow yourself to experience everything life has to offer without judgment, you grow and become more certain that you will be okay and you are enough no matter what happens. What does peace of mind look and feel like? Here are a few ways to channel it.
Decide That You Are Beautiful.
Decide you are beautiful, without a mirror, without an appraisal, without validation. Everywhere you go, believe you deserve to be there with no other expectation but to be yourself.
Appreciate Your Own Attention.
There will be moments when you catch yourself wanting to feel more important — craving acknowledgment, gold stars and approval. Remember to appreciate your own attention: the smiles you give yourself, the salty sweet taste of your tears as you grow, the jokes that are only funny to you. Don’t let these precious gifts be overlooked and overshadowed by a longing to be seen by other people.
Know What Lights You Up.
Surrender to your butterflies. Pay attention to what makes you feel at home, no matter where you are. Indulge yourself in your music, your books, all the things that inspire you then go share all those good feelings. Don’t suppress your imagination.
Remember That Problems Are Experiences.
Remember that problems are not problems, they are experiences. By facing your uncomfortable moments mindfully and not acting out or pointing fingers or beating yourself down, you can stop old cycles and start making use of everything that happens.
Allow Yourself To Be Vulnerable.
Let go of any old ideas in your head that tell you that vulnerability is weakness. The more you share what you’re about, what you stand for – with all your contradictions and inconsistencies — the more peaceful and fulfilled you will be.
Don’t Base Your Happiness On Others.
So you didn’t like that person’s tone of voice or you think what they said is unfair. So what? That’s their reality, not yours. Allow people to express their truth without it impacting yours. Maybe you didn’t get invited to something. If you think there’s a misunderstanding, address it without bitterness. Otherwise, let it go. You can’t control what other people think, say or do.
Make Peace With Your Complexity.
Realize that in some ways you are in opposition to yourself. You are both sides of the same coin. You are not good or bad or otherwise. You are a puzzle made of a bunch of jagged little pieces – all different colors, shapes and sizes. And every piece is just as worthy and important as the next.
Shift Your Mindset.
To stay peaceful as you pursue the life you want, shift your mindset to place more value on the process than the destination. Consciously relish the growth that you experience along the way. Even when it seems like nothing is happening or it’s not happening fast enough. Focus on your effort, not the results.
Accept That Nothing Is Permanent.
The more you accept the impermanence of things, the more peace of mind you’ll have. By definition, situations are always changing. When we cling to things, we suffer.
Ultimately, joy is the foundation you need in order to have peace of mind and appreciate life no matter what is going on. Joy comes from spirituality and the understanding that there’s more to life than meets the eye. This year, let all the pretenses go, trust what your heart wants and enjoy your journey.