“Almost everything will work again, if you unplug it for a few minutes. Including you”
Protecting your peace should be the primary focus of each day. However as we know, it often slips our mind to take care of ourselves until we fall unwell and then unable to care for our health. There are habits we can begin to learn and some habits we should focus on unlearning to help you protect your much-needed peace.
Learning how to say “No”
Something I started doing at around 19 when I realised there were some things that did not make me feel good or took too much of my time up. Many of us working put a lot of our energy into our job perhaps because we love to work hard, want a promotion or simply want to impress the boss. Before we know it we have fallen into a cycle of “people pleasing” or constantly saying “I’ll do it” – in the hopes of being rewarded some how, either through a higher salary or having people “like you”. As so much of what we do is controlled by what others will think, or how it makes you look to others we tend to over commit so that we are held in high esteem by the people around us, desperately seeking their approval or acknowledgement. This is why I wrote my earlier blog on striving for mental freedom as most of our peace can be maintained if we first learnt how to worry less about what others think about us and focused more on how we feel and think about ourselves. Once we have started to learn that others opinions don’t directly affect your physical world, we can then begin to say “no” to additional duties that do not serve you any purpose other than accumulating stress.
Putting that word “no” into real terms
Maybe you have been taking on additional duties lately at work, the hours are longer, the pay is the same the only things you have accrued are, a headache that doesn’t go away and less sleep. Start making a list of the duties you do not need to do, including the ones that you feel will make other people “like you more” – if you have been doing these additional responsibilities for a while now, and nobody has noticed or paid you the incentive you were hoping for, it’s time to give it up. Saying “no” to others when asked to fulfil roles beyond the time we have available doesn’t have to be as harsh as we think. We tend to believe that a person who says “no” is rude, impolite, unfriendly even hostile which is what prevents us from actually protecting our peace as we feel obligated to constantly pick up more work, more things to do, more responsibilities mostly because we don’t want to be called, rude, impolite, unfriendly or hostile. Again, notice how the main reason for us not wanting to say no, is due to how we think other people may begin to view us.
If saying no doesn’t make you feel comfortable, you could use the following, “I’ll think about it”, “Maybe tomorrow”, “Let me have a look and I’ll get back to you”, “I’ll see if I can squeeze it in and get back to you”
Other than work, you may have a long list of other obligations perhaps duties at home, friends wanting to spend time, a telephone call you have been avoiding or a social event you really don’t want to attend. Now, the underlying aim isn’t to say “no” to our actual responsibilities as a person for example if you are a mother or father and your children need help with homework or feeding! It is about you figuring out what is not essential to your life for instance the social event coming up; the last thing you may want to do at the end of a long week is anything that is going to put a further strain on your energy. We need to get away from the people and places that already consume a lot of our time and energy in order for us to refill. If you do not take this time, eventually you will have nothing else left to give which normally results in feeling unwell!
Remember saying no, isn’t rude. It is a word in the dictionary which we are entitled to use just as much as yes! The key point to keep in mind is that you do not need to offer an explanation after one of the alternative ways of saying no mentioned above. Keep it short, keep simple.
Need “things” less
How much of our peace is destroyed by the constant want and need for things which are not always easily attainable but we fight to get or hold on to something because we feel it will do something for us? This includes objects and people. As I wrote in my blog losing attachments to people, places and things – doing this has a huge influence on how much of our peace we can protect. When we are younger we learn how not to need things instantly to satisfy our desires and pleasures through our parents teaching us to wait, how to be patient or how to wait our turn; however some still find they have this personality trait way into their adulthood life which in turn can cause a great amount of stress to themselves and the people around them. When we put much of our attention into what we think we need in our lives such as; a new car, a new house, a luxurious holiday, the perfect partner, better friends, a better paid job, a change in our personal appearance or more money, we forget to take care of ourselves at that moment. We often keep our physical body in the here and now whilst our mind is in a thousand different places, eventually creating feelings of anxiety or inadequacy as our “wants and wishes” are not met instantaneously.
This is the same for any dependency we have to a another person. Not in the case of mother and child but in the case of a person who may be causing you suffering. To suffer does not mean a person is in physical pain (though some situations relating to abusive relationships could cause this) when we look at the term suffering, we refer to the pain that we feel on an emotional and mental level. Think about a situation regarding a relationship you had, there may have been unrequited love. You loved him/her, they didn’t quite feel the same. But nevertheless you persisted, you held on. That constant feeling of needing them to love you, needing to know what it is you may have done for them not to love you anymore, needing to know if the problem is connected to your personality or appearance, waiting for that “I love you” text, losing your much-needed sleep; that is what we call suffering. You suffer and lose your peace because you are fighting to hold on to something that is either temporarily no longer meant to be a part of your life or no longer meant to be a part of your life on the whole.
Putting our needs and wants into perspective
What are the things you believe you need? Ask yourself this question, use your journal or a piece of paper and a pen to list all the things you think you need and why you need them. This is a powerful way of really looking at yourself as a person as you start to uncover areas about you that need some attention. For example, if it is a person who is withholding you from having your deserved peace, write down the individual’s name, make a list of the reasons you need that person. Let’s create an example;
- Persons name
- this person makes me feel happy
- this person makes me feel prettier/more attractive
- this person helps me with house responsibilities
- this person makes me feel good
- this person is the only thing I have known all my life
- this person takes away the painful memories of my past
When you begin to uncover and see the things a person may do for you written on paper you may start to ask the question, well isn’t it possible for me to do these things for myself somehow? Isn’t is possible that I can make myself happy in someway? Isn’t possible that I can now start to learn who I am as an individual rather than defining myself through a person who has been by my side for several years?
Take time to really reflect on your personality and what it is you are constantly striving to get. If it is costing you your peace, something has to give. More importantly don’t confuse getting something you have wanted as you now having “peace” – if you cannot live without the object you have desired then you are still suffering, as ultimately you will fight to hold on to the object, disturbing your journey to peace – seek to heal yourself from the inside.
As we often need some time when learning how to say “no” to things that take up too much of our time, or as we learn how to want and need things less, sometimes we need routines we can use immediately when protecting our peace. Consider this:
- A 10 or 20 minute (depending on time) morning warm oil massage. Get your blood circulating with a hot oil massage – use your favourite oil or coconut oil if you are unsure. Warm it up either on the hob or in the microwave and begin applying the oil from the top of your head (crown) in an upwards circular motion, covering your entire body. Let the oil absorb for a few minutes before showering – see this as you loving who you are, preparing yourself for the day, slowing yourself down ready to come out into the world, calm and at peace – ready to handle whatever life throws at you!
- Drink a cup of warm almond or coconut milk with half a teaspoon of turmeric powder and half a teaspoon of nutmeg. If you want to add some sweetness then use some honey. Get your taste-buds going first thing in the morning, turmeric is great for a cleanse of toxins in the body; remember the things we consume have a large influence on our emotions and overall well-being.
A thought to leave you with, if you can’t find some peace in your life today, at what point do you feel you will? Don’t let 20 years of your life pass you by on your search for peace. The time is now if you look for it.