The way to inner peace
What is inner peace?
Having inner peace involves a deep feeling of contentment and wellbeing about yourself and your purpose in life. It is important to recognise that it doesn't mean living a life in which there are no conflicts, challenges, disappointments or hard work. It means to be able to be in the midst of all those things and still be calm in your heart.
Perhaps the most important aspect of achieving inner peace is to live mostly in the present. People who live mostly in the past are continually thinking about a previous period or event in their lives, either with nostalgic, rose-tinted glasses or because it was a particularly traumatic experience. On the other hand, people who live mostly in the future are either dreamers who believe they will only be happy when a certain condition is met; or they are worriers, continually scanning the horizon for new dangers and difficulties. None of these states is conducive to inner peace. It is only by living in the now, enjoying and savouring the present moment, that we can achieve true peace in our hearts. That is why Mindfulness and Meditation practices can be so helpful - although it is quite possible to live mostly in the present without meditating regularly.
But even if we do live in the present most of the time we can still sabotage our inner peace in a number of ways. Below are the 8 most common barriers to inner peace that we need to avoid in order to achieve a true sense of contentment and wellbeing.
The 8 barriers to inner peace
- Lack of self-awareness (knowing your true self) and poor self-control - leading to frequent emotional hijacking, especially becoming overwhelmed by fear, anger or disgust, together with poor resistance to temptation.
- Severe dissatisfaction with your lot in life - especially in relation to your wealth, attractiveness, popularity (fame) and/or power (authority); particularly if this is accompanied by jealousy and envy of those who have more.
- Greed and ingratitude - especially in relation to money and possessions: Never feeling satisfied, no matter how wealthy you are, and always wanting more.
- Poor self-care: Not looking after your health and welfare, especially in relation to diet, exercise and the amount of sleep you get; together with not devoting any time to yourself to enjoy one or more hobbies/activities, and for spiritual reflection.
- Loneliness and isolation: Often due to not building and nurturing strong relationships with your friends and family, including by turning down invitations, losing contact through being "too busy", and holding grudges.
- A poor attitude to your work: Disliking or even hating your workplace, job, or manager, especially if this is accompanied by frequent moaning and complaining to your colleagues, family and friends - but not doing anything practical to change the situation.
- Unkindness to others, including discrimination, violence, neglect and malicious gossip. These all lead to an inability to look yourself in the eye and spend time in quiet reflection because of the shame that this inevitably induces - resulting in a need to fill every moment with noise and action.
- Pessimism: Always catastrophising, worrying and fearing the worst, including by being obsessed with what others might be thinking or saying about you.
The way to inner peace
Understanding these barriers can help us see that in addition to living in the present as much as possible, the way to inner peace is through:
- Having good self-awareness (knowing who you are)
- Being satisfied and grateful for all the good things in your life
- Looking after yourself properly
- Nurturing your relationships with family and friends
- Enjoying your work and understanding its value
- Being kind and helpful to others
- Being optimistic and having a positive attitude
The way to inner peace is not a mystery to be solved but a reality to experience.
How coaching can help...
Coaching is a process that helps you to really get to know and challenge yourself, to understand your life mission, and to set an exciting new action plan for the future. The increased confidence and sense of fulfilment that this will bring makes experiencing a professional coaching programme a wonderful opportunity for you to find greater inner peace.
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About Paul Hemphill
Paul Hemphill is a leadership and well-being coach who specialises in bringing a positive psychology approach to his coaching. Over the last five years he has helped literally hundreds of clients to restart their lives, develop new levels of confidence, change careers, improve their work/life balance, or become better leaders and managers.