Your peace is sacred, protect it at all costs. Read on for the 5 building blocks you need to barricade your peace.
I inspire people with my sunny disposition. I often receive compliments on my high energy and people ask what keeps me walking on sunshine.
“Is it coffee? Money? Did you just go on vacation?”
I’ll let you in on my little secret: I protect my peace at all costs. I received this sound advice from a licensed professional (shoutout to Jenny!) and it has resonated with me ever since.
When I say peace, I’m referring to peace of mind–the source of your energy and happiness. Need some help protecting your peace? Here are my recommended tips:
5 ways to protect your peace
There are five behaviors I swear by in order to protect my peace:
- Having a “This too shall pass” outlook on life.
- Establishing boundaries.
- Ridding my life of toxicity.
- Keeping happiness on tap.
- Letting go of things that no longer serve me.
Let me break it down for you.
This Too Shall Pass
It is scientifically proven that bad memories are easier to recall than good memories are. I learned about this first-hand during one of my therapy sessions–at one point, I was really unhappy, and the topic of how tough my life was became a recurring theme.
One day, Jenny explained to me that negativity has a stronger impact on our minds and our lives simply because we give way more attention to it.
Basically, when bad things happen to us, our “woe is me” attitude comes from amplifying trauma and traumatic events, making them stick out like sore thumbs in our memory.
However, it’s important to know the difference between having a bad life and a bad experience.
“There’s a difference between having a bad life and a bad experience.”Tweet
When something bad happens, it’s natural to attach yourself to it, identify with it, and allow it to define you. Still, I want you to know that it’s not your life that sucks, it’s the problem.
I won’t devalue your feelings by telling you to get over what’s troubling you–I’ve had traumas that have taken me YEARS to overcome. With that being said, I bet for every negative moment you’ve experienced there are positive ones, too!
When you’re faced with a problem, try to disassociate yourself from it. It will take practice and a lot of conscious effort but, I’m living proof that it’s worth it! Here are some things I did to help me look on the bright side of life
- I distracted myself with a hobby– doing something fun and productive is a healthy way to distract your mind so that your troubles are not your main focus. For me, it was getting lost in fantasy novels and self-help books, watching anime, listening to music, and going on nature walks. Maybe you prefer biking, boxing or crocheting. Hey, whatever floats your boat, but getting lost in a hobby will serve you better than your negative thoughts.
- I immersed myself in positivity– surrounding yourself with positivity is a great way to boost your spirits. I’m a sucker for words of affirmation, so I engulfed myself with as many affirming words as possible- I downloaded the Mantra app on my iPhone which gives you affirming quotes at random and allows you to save them and use them as wallpaper (something I do to this day), I created a board on Pinterest dedicated to positive quotes (some of which I printed and taped to my wall and Mac), and when I needed to crank it up a notch I would burn sage and say a daily mantra. However positivity may present itself to you, I say do it and do it often.
- I went through my ‘motions– I tried to make my feelings go away by numbing them or pretending I didn’t feel them, but they would always find a way to rise to the surface. Ironically, I always felt much better after I went through them. Masking or numbing your feelings will not help you get over them, it just prolongs your process of healing. If you have to cry, cry. If you’re feeling angry, be angry. Find a safe space and go through your ‘motions where you can be free from worry or judgment. It’s way more beneficial than trying to will your feelings out of existence.
- I opened up about it– When the weight of life became too much to bear, I sought therapy and O.M.G it was the best decision I ever made for my emotional health. I’m a huge advocate for therapy and recommend it to anyone who is going through a tough time or surviving a traumatic event but I’m sensitive to the fact that it may not be an option for everyone. Whether you’re speaking to a friend, a spouse, or a therapist, I recommend opening up about your problems. Allow yourself to be vulnerable and seek emotional support, it can go a long way.
- I used a journal– Writing has been a form of therapy for me since I was a teen. My journal is my number 1 safe space because it’s so personal and I know no one else will be read it but me. When I journal, I don’t have the fear of being misunderstood or judged about my feelings and I’m free to write about what I want in the style I want. This level of intimacy allows me to get to the core of my feelings in a way that no other medium does because I know no one else is listening or watching. If you’re fearful of opening up to people, I recommend a journal or diary. You’re still able to air out what’s on your mind without having to worry about it reaching anyone else’s eyes or ears. It will take some practice if you’re not used to putting your feelings into words, but if you keep up the habit you’ll see improvement over time (practice makes perfect!)
- I released it– This was the most difficult part for me–getting to a point of acceptance. To move past my trauma, I had to accept that this bad thing happened and that it was beyond my control. This unfortunate unforeseen event, however devastating, can not be removed or changed from my past. And since it was beyond my control, I had to let it go. Unfortunately, there are no magic words or exercises that can do this for you. You have to do this last part on your own. The good news is, acceptance is a sign of growth and progress. Once you’ve defeated this final boss, you’ll notice that your problem will be easier to cope with. You’ll hurt a little less, think about it a little less, talk about it virtually never and life will suddenly seem a little brighter every day.
This disruption of peace that you’re holding on to doesn’t define your life. Your life exists outside of your problems and, if you make a conscious effort to put your best foot forward, you’ll find that life is good, and it’s ok. “This too shall pass.”
“Don’t let a disruption of peace define your life.”Tweet
Establishing boundaries for yourself is absolutely necessary in order to protect your peace. I wish someone gave me this advice sooner.
Since I was a kid, I never set boundaries for myself and at one point was a selfless pushover who would accept people and their toxic ways without any push back out of fear that I would offend them or that it would end the relationship.
This left an enormously heavy weight on my mind and spirit, a weight that wore me down emotionally and affected my self-esteem.
Once I got in tune with my feelings and got the courage to speak up for myself, I started walking around with my head held high, light as a feather, just a beaming ray of confidence.
When you set ground rules for what you’re willing and unwilling to put up with, it prevents people from stepping into a sacred space where your peace can be jeopardized.
This violation can leave you with lingering feelings like anger or sadness, which can snowball into something worse if left unaddressed aka anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem.
Unsure of where to start? To put this into practice, here are a few tips that helped me:
- Pay close attention to when you feel emotionally provoked by someone’s actions or words.
- Dissect it with the “What, Why, & How”: Why did it upset you? Was it what the person said (or did)? Perhaps how it was presented to you?
- Communicate your feelings.
Emphasis. on. communication.
It does not matter how small the violation may seem, if it provoked you emotionally that means it matters to you, and your feelings matter.
It’s important to communicate your feelings and not let them build-up, this can lead to bigger problems such as stress or anxiety.
Speaking up in defense of yourself is establishing a boundary and letting people know that it’s not ok to hurt you. It does not matter the person’s relationship to you, if they care about you then they’ll care about your feelings.
Beware: toxic people will try to convince you that establishing boundaries is wrong and selfish. Although it’s certainly selfish, there’s nothing wrong with protecting your feelings. If you don’t, who else will?
Toxic people will try to convince you that establishing boundaries is wrongTweet
It will take a lot of guts to stick to your guns, especially when you’re sticking up to an authoritative figure, but you must commit to it if you want to maintain peace.
Rid Your Life of Toxicity
Sometimes we hold on to toxicity out of convenience or fear, but if you’re trying to maintain peace, you’re going to have to let it go.
Toxicity can appear in numerous vessels–a job, a relationship, a habit; if it causes you emotional or physical harm, it’s toxic.
Toxic vessels thrive on dependence.
It will try to convince you that you can’t do better because you don’t deserve better and that your life can’t exist without it. That is 100% not true.
You can and should move beyond toxicity because you are worthy of happiness 🙂
I have been the victim of toxic workplaces more times than I’d like to admit.
I kept convincing myself (and allowing other people to convince me) that it was ok to tolerate.
I would say things like “It’s not like I’m unhappy ALL the time.”, “All jobs are like this.”, “NO ONE is COMPLETELY happy at their job.” or the classic “At least my bills are paid.” Na, that’s not it.
I got to a point where I asked myself “What’s more important, money or happiness? This toxic vessel or my peace?”
Once I got to my threshold of mental anguish, I parted ways and low and behold, my happiness has been at an all-time high.
It may be hard to let go of some of these vessels, like a job for example, but the right thing isn’t always easy.
I think Dumbledore said it best:
If you value yourself, you’ll prioritize your happiness and do what you have to do to preserve and protect it.
It’s impossible to maintain peace when you’re constantly being exposed to physical or emotional harm. It may be hard and it may take some time, but you’ll need to rid your life of toxicity if you want to protect your peace.
Be advised that when you’re trying to move forward in your newfound lifestyle of peace, happiness, and light, the life you so truly deserve, toxic vessels may attempt to hold you back.
It will try to latch on to you and convince you it can be better, but remember why you got to the point of uprooting in the first place.
Keeping Happiness on Tap
The basis of peace is happiness so it’s helpful to have a multitude of sources for it.
Think about it, what truly makes you happy?
I’m a minimalist, so for me it’s pretty simple. Here’s my list:
- Spending quality time with loved ones.
- Watching or listening to my favorite kinds of media (tv, movies, music).
- Meeting like-minded people.
- Good food.
- Being in nature.
- Bubble baths.
- Accomplishing something.
Try making a list of things that bring you joy and make it a point to indulge in these things as often as possible. Aim to be realistic, as much as traveling makes me happy, it’s not something I can do on a regular basis.
The goal is to have happiness on tap, so think of things you can do routinely and commit, commit, commit.
Letting Go Of Things That No Longer Serve You
I am an ever-growing person, as everyone should be.
I bet the standards you had for a spouse have changed since you first got introduced to dating and the dream job you swore you wanted as a kid morphed into something else (sorry, you can’t be a football-playing king in space).
Between life experiences and education, you’re destined to change throughout your life–you will go through phases and trends, likes and dislikes, hobbies, and even relationships.
Sometimes we hold on to old patterns and people for the sake of nostalgia. I know I’m certainly guilty of this.
After self-reflecting I realized that I was still holding on to ideas, habits, and relationships that no longer served me. At one point they may have been beneficial but they served no purpose for my present-day life.
Once I became conscious of the weight I was carrying from my old self, I was able to shed my skin to make way a new life of peace. I did this by:
- Changing my phone number (this helped me control who’s able to contact me. bye bye old friends)
- Cutting my hair (this helped me with insecurities I was having)
- Establishing new habits (hiking and yoga in the park does the mind and body good)
- Upgrading my mindset (goodbye excuses, hello discipline!)
These shifts and updates have allowed me to move forward peacefully in my new chapter and I’ve been on cloud 9 ever since.
It’s ok to change. As much as we’d love to keep everything the same (our habits, our friends, and our way of life) realistically, you can’t.
Holding on to past dead-weight will weigh your future down, you’ll constantly be torn between the past and your future. Don’t allow your past to stunt your future growth.
Take yourself on a journey of self-reflection and assess whether the things in your life are truly serving you: does it have a purpose? are there any benefits in it for you or are you just holding on to this because of how you used to feel about it?
Once you pinpoint the weeds in your garden, rip them out. No questions asked and no explanations needed.
Letting go of things that no longer serve you is a great way to protect your peace because you’re able to move forward with your new life without the distraction of old habits and relationships.
We are more in control of our lives than we give ourselves credit for. If you want a drastic change in your life, that requires sacrifices.
If your aim is to protect your peace and maintain happiness, try putting these things into practice. It may be difficult, and it will take lots of conscious effort, but your peace is worth it. Happiness > Everything.