Why is peace so elusive? There is no one answer to this question; however, it is true that peace starts within ourselves. If each of us actively strive for peace, I think having peace in our lives isn’t such an impossible dream. Listed below are 8 of most practical tips to start living peacefully with ourselves and others. I am sure you will feel lighter and more at peace by applying these tips in your everyday lives:
1. Say Thank you.
The attitude of gratitude. Most people today think they are entitled to certain privileges. Bosses barking orders to subordinates, customers ranting in stores and restaurants, children feeling they should have this or that toy because all their friends have them; the list can go on and on. Seldom do we hear even a “thank you“. How would you feel if after doing something for others they say thank you to you? Isn’t it a great feeling?
Saying thank you is spreading love. Thank you is a miracle phrase. Try it and don’t be sarcastic. The habit of saying thank you melts the stress of our everyday work, and enforces an environment of respect for each other.
2. Forgive others.
Pride is very dangerous, and oftentimes destructive. Human as we are, we make mistakes. Let us realize that people around us are human as well. They also make mistakes.
Forgiving others is a great way to fortify shaky relationships and rebuild broken ones. The best thing about forgiveness is it is free! All we need to do is swallow our pride. Think about it. Is this heartache and stress really worth it? Does it even do any good? Maybe you can dust it off and opt for a fresh start. Forgiveness is never easy, believe me, I know. But I also know that what is worth having is never easy to begin with.
Try forgiving. What do you really have to lose??
3. Forgive yourself. Let go.
There are also times that we fail to accept that we are wrong. Again, we are human. We make mistakes- and often! Let us learn to accept our humanity and forgive ourselves.
Our mistakes do not define us. It is how we respond to these failures that shapes our character. Learn forgiveness by accepting our faults and learning from them- meaning, please don’t do the same mistake over and over again. The best way to learn is learning from experience.
We all want other people to listen to us. But did we ever think of listening to others too? True listening is just being fully there for another person. Most of the time, we say we listen but actually our mind is somewhere else. Listen and be fully present. A lot of people will appreciate this, and not only will you have better relationships, you will also get to know other people more deeply. Listening is a skill that has to be practiced. It may seem tedious at first, but once you get the hang of it, it can actually be fun.
Meditation and prayer is a way to unload. These are precious moments where we can actually gain perspective of what really matters. In prayer, we pour out our anxiety. In meditation, we center our minds and try to experience life and regain perspective. These practices have been around for thousands of years. These practices have existed for so long because there is wisdom in doing them. Each day, find time to meditate and pray. It will make a difference.
6. Respect differences.
We all come in different colors, shapes and sizes with different beliefs, lifestyles, and cultures. But our differences doesn’t mean we can not work with each other; or at least co-exist. I have found that one of the hallmark of respect is being patient with each other. Not everyone is like you. This is a fact of life. Having the patience to deal with it is a key to peace.
Putting yourself in another person’s shoes. It is feeling what the other is feeling. It is the experience of understanding another person’s condition from their perspective. Empathizing is a skill and can be learned. A simple way to start practicing this is to always consider what the other person is going through.
Practicing empathy is both compassionate and helpful. If we can see and experience things from the perspective of another, we can begin identifying with each other. Empathy is the act of experiencing together. When we empathize, we are training ourselves to look at what is the same, instead of what is different.
8. Let go of the need to understand, instead Accept.
The most important tip for having peace is to let go of trying to understand each other and instead just accept one another for who we are. We can never fully understand each other. We, each one of us, are uniquely our own selves. If we agree, we agree. If we disagree, we disagree. Either way, we can co-exist.
We can always try to see from the other person’s perspective, and understand where they are coming from, but that doesn’t mean we always share their view. Instead of trying to understand each other, let us learn to accept each other’s uniqueness- the good along with the not so good. When we learn to accept each other’s individuality, we also learn to respect diversity. This is a practice of appreciating life itself. When we learn acceptance, we learn to thrive in spite of our differences; and there can be peace. The language that maintains order is kindness.
(Please also see: “Sharing Meals with Death and Coming Out Alive“)