Is my peace, our peace?
Commentary by Isabel Hernández Negrín, Las Palmas, Canary Islands, Spain.
We often think that feeling well depends on positive things happening to us, being free of problems and conflicts caused by situations outside ourselves.
However, scientific research and the personal experience of many people, state that we ourselves generate more than 50% of the malaise we feel in our lives. There we have it. But it is also good news, because if we produce it we can also get rid of it!
You will have noticed that when you react automatically towards a nasty gesture made to you, it annoys you and you then off-load that on other people who probably will not know where or why they have received such a response.
Since we are not normally aware that we are affected by stimuli that arise during the day, we are not able to see that our responses are often exaggerated or inappropriate. We take things personally without realising that the other person may be burdened with emotions that are from other situations or problems that they have and which they do not know how to separate and process at the right moment. As happens to all of us.
However, if in the face of a major or minor dispute you are able to realise what is happening and to observe the automatic reaction that is about to slip out, you can STOP, and choose an appropriate response, not one that is driven by your emotional and behavioural reflexes.
You can always choose.
Our attitudes play us false. We do not normally see our attitudes or we think that they are the most appropriate. But, observe whether the attitude you have allows you to be at peace with yourself, because you can always choose a different one. Although this may seem a bit strange to you, you can do it. When you think that you are the only one who does things well, anything that anybody else does will merit your criticism and annoyance. This idea, which if you think about it objectively, probably cannot be true (you are not the best at everything) is going to lead you to have a judgmental attitude towards everyone; this will affect your behaviour and your relationships will be rather, or very confrontational and you will not have peace within you, nor in your relationships. But if you look at this idea honestly and its lack of validity, you will be able to change your attitude, you will gain inner peace and you will see that your relationships change.
Do not look for others to change, because we are all co-participants in the relationships that we establish and in their quality. The peace that is within you is what will influence the relationships you have with others. Remember that you reap what you sow. That is why your peace, is everyone’s peace. Or, the other way round: your conflicts become everyone’s conflicts. Look at it honestly, without shame or guilt. You can change your life when you pay attention to what is happening inside you and you choose your response.
How do you choose to live then?