Let Peace Begin with Me

 “World peace will never be stable until enough of us find inner peace to stabilize it.”
~ Peace Pilgrim

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War. Whether we think its right or whether we think its wrong, most of us wish there was another way. We look at the war and say what can I do? What can any one person do to make a difference?

As Gandhi says: “We must be the change we wish to see in the world.” 

Lets look at our thoughts, words and actions.
We make war on ourselves –
~ Do you beat yourself up for making mistakes?
~ Do you condemn and criticize yourself as not good enough, lazy, undisciplined?
~ Are there things you just hate?
~ Are you fighting the battle of the bulge?
~ Could you just kick yourself?

 

We make war on those around us –
~ Is there someone you’re at war with?
~ Are you up for a good fight?
~ Do you believe life should be a struggle?
~ Do you blow up when things don’t go your way?
~ Will you fight to the death for your opinion?
~ Do you have angry words with your neighbor?
~ When angry, do you attack first, ask questions later?
~ What would you do to that driver that just cut in front of you if you could get your hands on him?
~ Are you more interested in being right than making peace?

Anger. Hate. Needing to be right. Criticism. Judgment. War in our hearts and minds.

How do we change it? There’s no one way, and we won’t change it overnight, but here are some ways we can start.

Watch our words.  Words are powerful. So many words we were raised with are words of war. (What did your mom say she was going to do to you when she caught you?) They are words we use unconsciously, without thinking. Being more conscious of our words and changing them when need be is a good start.

Look at our emotions.  So often our anger and frustration comes from needing to be right, needing things to turn out the way we expected. If we look deeply we find that our anger is more about us than them. When you feel angry ask: “Am I angry because I believe things are supposed to be different?” If the answer is ‘yes’ consider that there may be another side.

Listen. Have you spent time getting to know the other side and their perception? Often when we believe we are right we stop listening we decide our way is the only way, we override the fact that other people can have different perceptions.  Stop for a moment and see things from the other person’s point of view. Is there a possibility there’s more than one right way?

Decide what’s more important: being right, or being happy.  There’s the old story about the man who saw the oncoming car in his lane and didn’t swerve because he was in the right lane. He was right – dead right. Sometimes what’s more important than being right is creating a win-win situation.

Take one action towards peace.  What one thing can you do today towards creating peace where you are?Soothe ruffled feathers? Apologize for an oversight? Forgive an old friend? Let peace begin with you.

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