Many people believe that inner peace is a myth. Maybe that is because there is too much noise around in the actual world for one to meditate or engage in activities that modern media advocates for when seeking peace. They all seem like a luxury we cannot afford to spare time for. We are in a hurry to achieve after all.
Yet, if we are not deliberate about discovering tranquility, we risk being swallowed up by the busyness of life. If we are not active about bringing calm to the world where ‘fast’ is the order of the day and patience is scarce, do we not become vulnerable to frustration and stress?
Peace is the most incredible response we can have to situations that put pressure on us. It is the way we maintain sanity amid chaos. Through peace, we bring calm to circumstances that call for frustration.
Unfortunately, the external environment that confronts us today is too chaotic to bring peace without participation from within us. When you turn on the news, the headlines do not encourage any sense of calm. Neither does social media with its superficiality. Add the stress of the different workspaces we are part of and the inevitable clashes with well-intending loved ones, and you realize that there is little hope for peace to come from outside.
We are our sources of peace because we can build it from inside. While we have external agents that encourage peace- such as a healthy working environment or supportive social connections- true peace is nurtured within. We draw it out when we come across situations that try our patience. It is an inner peace that allows you to walk away from a clash with your impossible boss or that holds you back when you would rather engage in a screaming match with a spouse or family member. Inner peace keeps you from being buried alive by hardships. It allows you to draw on calm when you would rather resort to the default human reaction of anger, frustration, or worry.
Introspection plays a considerable role in bringing peace.
To introspect is to take a journey within yourself to discover a lot about what makes you who you are. When you examine yourself and how you deal with stressful situations, it helps you control your emotions and reactions. Introspection offers you the opportunity to discover what triggers panic and uncertainty and what makes you calm.
‘Developing clarity within yourself improves self-assessment, decision-making, and overall happiness. Rather than reacting in the heat of the moment, you can act with understanding, calm, and wisdom.’ G. Razzetti.
We play a role in every adverse situation we encounter. Sometimes, we are even to blame because of our actions or lack thereof. Often we may even be unaware that we are creating sticky situations that will haunt us later. Other times, we are victims of the actions of others. Either way, we are participants who either contribute to the situation or react to it. Introspection allows us to step away and examine the part we play.
Let us say that you clash with your boss over a misunderstanding. The default reaction is to go on the defensive and point out that your boss was not paying attention. Your boss may feel you are challenging them, and it escalates into an argument. However, when you draw on your inner peace and introspect, you may well discover that you could have done better to give a clearer picture to prevent any misunderstanding. That is not to admit guilt for something your boss may genuinely have failed to understand. Instead, it is to examine whether you could have played a role in avoiding the misunderstanding. That interpretation can bring calm to a tense situation as it allows you to respond differently to the scenario.
Introspection is not embarking on a fault-finding mission for every difficult situation you find yourself in. Instead, it examines not only the bad but allows you to look at your successes and your contribution to positive situations in your life. Peace can also come from knowing that you are doing your best. You find the motivation to do better from positive reflections too.
Introspection means noticing more of my inner world, especially as it reacts and responds to external stimuli, whether good or bad. The emphasis on reflection during circumstances helps us approach adversity more calmly and cultivate inner peace in situations that call for the opposite. The decisions you make are based on your approach to hardships, regardless of who authored the mess. An introspection is just a unique approach that allows you to examine whether you can avoid escalating a situation by being kinder and more compassionate to yourself or others.
Asking yourself hard, thoughtful questions about a situation you find yourself in will allow you to think before acting or speaking. It will save you from explaining yourself after saying the wrong thing in the heat of the moment. It will keep you from condemning yourself or others over mistakes. The practice of regular introspection will nurture peace in any environment, no matter how hostile it seems.
How to engage in introspection.
- Find a quiet space to reflect. Somewhere that allows you to think without interruption. You could even take a short walk.
- Ask yourself hard questions about your thoughts, feelings, and responses to specific scenarios. Then, pause and thoroughly think them through.
- Write your answers down. Be honest. Capturing your responses helps you evaluate your thoughts or feelings.
- Study your responses and draw a conclusion about your character or behavior in the different circumstances you reflect on.
- Commit to improving where you need to.
Peace is internal, so you can cultivate it by becoming more self-aware. We spend time understanding our thoughts that allow us to control our response to situations, no matter how negative they are.