“When you find peace within yourself, you become the kind of person who can live at peace with others.” — Peace Pilgrim
I was in a yoga class earlier this week and the teacher led us in a guided meditation. “Imagine a time you were at peace with yourself,” she began. “Remember how you felt then, what it was like to be at peace.”
And I thought, “Huh? At peace with myself? When was I at peace with myself?” And I thought some more. The meditation ended. I thought some more. Class ended. I thought some more, days went by. And I have to conclude that I’ve never been at peace with myself.
“Is anyone ever at peace with themselves?” my roommate asked when I told her about this. Good question.
I started to reframe the meditation in my head. Maybe they were really asking you to think of a time you felt at peace and draw on that. Yet my roommate’s question kept coming back to me. I’m assuming some people are at peace with themselves, but I’m guessing they are a minority.
I’ve never been totally at peace with myself. Or even close. As I reflected on the magnitude of that realization, I felt sad. It seems like I should be able to be at peace with myself, at least sometimes.
What would it look like if I was at peace with myself, I wondered? For one thing, that voice in my head who I think of as my inner critic would be silent. Just thinking about that voice being gone makes me feel more peaceful. Going through an entire day without that voice nagging me that I’m too fat, not getting enough accomplished, not eating the way I’m “supposed” to be, not attractive enough, not tidy enough, not…..whatever enough.
What if that voice were gone and I (gasp) just accepted myself as perfect and whole just the way I am? The way I strive to do with the people around me.
What if instead of rehashing the past or thinking about the future, things I have to do, things I want to do, things that may or may not happen, I just focus on the present? What if I let go of regrets and judgements and plans and focus on really knowing myself? The real me.
And not to go all Serenity Prayer on you, but what if instead of worrying about things I can’t change, I accept that many things are out of my control, and focus on what I can actually impact?
I know there’s no easy answer, but I’m committed to finding peace within myself. I’m a lot closer than I was in the past, this I know. Practicing gratitude, incorporating yoga and meditation, and letting go of toxic relationships have helped me immensely, particularly over the last year when I’ve really focused on these areas.
Now I’m ready to take the next step. Being at peace with myself. Who’s with me?
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