As a life coach, one of my goals is to guide and support my clients on their journey to finding inner peace and contentment. Everyone has the potential to lead a fulfilling and peace-driven life, no matter what their past experiences, traumas, or obstacles are.
One of my favorite quotes is Know Thyself from Socrates— “To know thyself is the beginning of wisdom.” When I was entering my teen years, a close family friend and neighborhood doctor shared this quote with me as sage wisdom. At the time, I thought it daft and had no idea what it meant or how these words would impact my life and the lives of those I am proud to serve. Years later, I realized the power and wisdom of these two words from such a time so long ago. Without understanding who we are, the quest for inner peace will prove difficult.
Understanding Inner Peace:
Inner peace is a state of mental and emotional calm, a sense of balance that allows you to easily navigate life’s challenges. It's not about avoiding problems or escaping reality. It's about finding a center within yourself that remains steady, no matter what trials may come your way—and they will come your way no matter who you are!
I believe the path to inner peace is impossible without a firm understanding of who you are, what triggers you have, what brings you joy, and how to overcome and tune out the constant noise we are all subjected to in this “connected” world!
Building a Strong Foundation of Self-Awareness:
The foundation of any journey to personal fulfillment is self-awareness. Understanding what makes you unique, what is holding you hostage, and how to better understand their power in finding the inner peace they desire. I encourage clients to explore their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors through open and non-judgmental discussions. Only through deepening their self-awareness can clients identify the root causes of their inner turmoil and discontent and work to overcome them in a healthy and sustainable manner.
Powerful questions help to spark self-reflection and introspection and offers an opportunity for individuals to describe their feelings and experiences and explore the negative narratives they tell themselves.
By creating a safe space, others can feel free to express themselves without fear of judgment. Role-playing is helpful as it allows them to see a reflection of themselves. Allowing them to “play me” is an excellent way to relieve tension and foster laughter.
Guiding Toward Acceptance and Letting Go:
Acceptance is one of the most difficult aspects of self-growth, yet it is a pivotal step in obtaining inner peace. As a former funeral director, I witnessed firsthand the power of acceptance in healing grief. As part of the process of managing the loss of a loved one, acceptance is non-negotiable. Without acceptance, complicated grief rears its ugly head. The term refers to an intensity of grief that has not decreased in the months following a loved one's death. Mental health professionals diagnose complicated grief when grieving continues to be intense, persistent, and debilitating beyond 12 months.
Let’s look at it through a lens we can all relate to. We all have experiences and things about ourselves that we refuse to accept, either because it is too hard, may reflect poorly on our concept of who we are, or may lead us to believe we are giving up on an outer or inner battle we insist on not letting go of.
This is where the grief model can offer comfort and freedom to us all. When we lose someone through death, there is no changing the outcome. We have no choice but to accept it. As sad as this reality is, it is surprisingly liberating because it is out of our hands and our limited control as mere mortals.
We must work toward letting go of burdens and attachments, as this is the only road toward true and resilient inner peace. Identify and release negative thought patterns, grudges, and material attachments that no longer serve. Through a process of exploration and reflection, you can identify strategies to let go and move forward.
What has worked for me is setting achievable goals for my personal growth. I hold myself accountable for following through, and I sidetrack excuses as much as possible. I celebrate my successes and learn from challenges, using these experiences as opportunities for growth, transformation, and above all - inner peace.
Shutting Out That Darn Noise:
We live in a world of constant chatter, unqualified experts, tons of opinions, and damaging comparisons. I grew up at a time when we weren’t inundated with information 24/7. We relied on the morning and evening news to catch up on events, and we listened and leaned on qualified subject matter experts for valuable information. Social media has allowed anyone with internet access to have a voice, but with the positive aspects of community interaction comes a considerable price – our emotional peace.
Shut out noise by exploring mindfulness in what we consume and taking digital detoxes to encourage regular breaks from social media, be aware of how specific content makes us feel, and adjust interactions accordingly. Setting clear boundaries around social media usage, including setting designated times for checking in, unfollowing, or unfriending accounts that consistently contribute to negative emotions, negative self-talk, and cause compare and despair stress, can go far in finding inner peace.
Finding, nurturing, and sustaining inner peace is an ongoing process that is more difficult today than ever. Building a foundation of self-awareness, acceptance, letting go, and being mindful of what we “let in” can go a long way to finding a center of contentment, growth, and tranquility.