“Peace is not a relationship of nations. It is a condition of mind brought about by a serenity of soul. Peace is not merely the absence of war. It is also a state of mind. Lasting peace can come only to peaceful people.”
The journey from insanity to serenity is often long and arduous – but there is one way to make change entirely inevitable. Search your soul for this essential human quality, because if you find it, you will change:
The ability to be honest with oneself.
Most of us are not even aware of all the lies we tell ourselves and that surround us. Facing the truth about ourselves – our secrets and shames, our weaknesses and strengths – is the basic building block to peace of mind.
Insanity is born of deception. We learn to lie to ourselves – first from family and society, and then after internalizing the messages, from ourselves. All for good reason! We turn away from what we think, feel, and know about ourselves and the world so that we can fit in with our families and with society. Fitting in is important; in our early years, it means survival. We are taught that it also mean success.
Unfortunately, fitting in usually means denying truths about ourselves – our passions, our dreams, our talents, our creativity, our excitement – because those aspects don’t contribute to society’s framework. Although such guidance is well-meaning, it leads to an inner death – the death of the spirit.
Here’s a brief sketch of how sanity devolves into insanity:
- Born as ourselves, we follow intuition and feelings – we naturally feel good
- Told to deny thoughts and feelings to fit in – we feel confused
- We learn to rely on others’ approval – and feel good again, we think
- We ignore inner truths about real thoughts and feelings – but feel uneasy
- Living long-term with the pain of self-denial, whether conscious or suppressed – we suffer persistent depression, anxiety, anger, sadness, etc.
- So we seek relief in addictions, high risk/adrenaline activities, withdrawal, isolation, etc. – and feel temporary relief followed by the return of pain
If we are lucky, we can break this cycle.
The key without which we will forever live in pain is honesty.
Complete, raw, stripped down, flayed open truth.
Any inkling, any spark of willingness, gives hope for change.
Honesty is the start. It’s a good start, and it can support all that follows. To truly rid ourselves of pain, no matter what form it takes, we must:
- Face up to our current insanity
- Dig up our past to understand how we became insane
- Thoroughly examine and expose those patterns of behavior to the light of day
- Admit, accept, and forgive our secrets
- Practice new behaviors that support telling ourselves the truth, not lies
- Be vigilant about self-sabotage
- Be ever kind and patient with ourselves – knowing there will be slips along the way
At every stage of change, we must bring our honesty. Without it, we will turn to avoidance, denial, and blame
Make your journey to peace inevitable. Commit yourself to honesty. Battle your own demons so you can let them go. Move into new beliefs and behaviors, including self-compassion and gentle kindness.
Do not ever let yourself off the hook.
Reclaim your spirit with honesty and use it to shed old patterns and embrace serenity and peace of mind.
Honesty is our best hope for a peaceful soul and from there, a peaceful world.
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