"Cultivating true peace has nothing to do with circumstances. Like Nelson Mandela, you can possess peace locked up in jail." Former US president Ronald Reagan was a peacemaker. Through peace talks with the former USSR, he broke the back of the cold war and helped stop the buildup of nuclear power.
Former US president Ronald Reagan was a peacemaker. Through peace talks with the former USSR, he broke the back of the cold war and helped stop the buildup of nuclear power. He was also the first president to effectively establish peace talks with a number of international war-stricken areas.
When reading Reagan's biographies, you discover that it was his ability to cultivate peace within his own life that allowed him to influence the behaviour of others and diffuse some of the world's most threatening people.
Peace is a powerful force that can dwell within us, reach out and affect others. It's not something in the air. It's not related to material goods a vogue interior decor, fashionable clothes or the right car.
Cultivating true peace in your life has nothing to do with circumstances. Like Nelson Mandela, you can possess peace locked up in jail. Or like Mother Teresa--she radiated peace, immersed in an environment of suffering and poverty. Peace comes from maturity and is an emotion that puts life into proper perspective. Paul the Apostle, while locked in stocks in a jail cell, uttered the words: "God has blessed me with a peace that surpasses all my difficult circumstances." In other words, his circumstances didn't affect his peace, but his peace affected his circumstances.
Increasing the emotion of peace in your life can only be achieved by understanding and managing fear, which is the opposite of peace. Fear is one of our most powerful debilitating emotions. No one is exempt from its influence. You can be feeling good about everything when all of a sudden, fear can sneak up like a wolf in the night and rob you of your peace within seconds.
Have you ever noticed that children usually have the least amount of fear and the greatest amount of peace? This is because fear is something we teach ourselves as we grow up. But because we learn it, it's possible to unlearn it.
To decrease fear and increase peace in your life, consider the following pointers. It's not an event but a process that can have a tremendous benefit to both your physical and emotional health.
1. Accept Fear. Everyone experiences fear at one time or another because we were created to feel it for a good reason. A complete denial of fear, however, can result in dysfunctional, self-sabotaging behaviour.
2. Discern Between Healthy Fear and Debilitating Fear. If you encountered a bear in the woods, healthy fear would alert your inner instincts to take action. Or, healthy fear would tell you to stop driving because the roads are icy. Debilitating, unhealthy fear is when self-talk says, "If you don't succeed, you're a failure," or, "People don't like me because I'm not good enough."
Increasing your inner peace means acknowledging and respecting healthy fear and learning how to manage debilitating, fearful emotions.
3. Find a Support Partner. If you're serious about personal growth, know this: Lone Ranger growth is not possible. People need people to grow. It takes humility and being vulnerable to open your life and be honest with another person. True accountability and feedback can accelerate a learning process faster than the best education or work experiences.
Note: Make sure you choose a person who isn't struggling with the same challenges as you. Explain why you require their observation and support. If you don't have this type of friend, then seek a good counsellor. There is no shame in this. One of most respected personal growth psychologists and authors, Scott Peck, says that, like having a mechanic or an accountant, everyone serious about personal growth should have a counsellor.
4. Learn to Manage Fear. Managing fear has more to do with personal humility than brains. Often people who attempt it stumble over the simplicity of it. But managing fear can be accomplished through the act of admitting it to yourself and then expressing it to an empathetic listener. The listener can respond with questions that cause you to think deeply about the issue, and often your perspective can be shifted in a positive direction.
Fear, when managed, is not your enemy but your friend. It's the doorway to unlimited peace. Pursue it.