Making peace with another or in the world - we all talk about it. But are you at peace or at war with yourself? Do you know and do you care? Does it matter?
Recently, I asked my twitter and blog followers to select one of four topics, which I would then write about. "Making peace with your self" came top. Clearly, it is a topic of interest that matters.
What do you make of it?
"Making peace with your self" can be understood in terms of accepting our imperfections and having compassion for our short-comings. But that can be difficult, if we do not like or even trust our self; regard our self as a failure and disappointment, as not good enough, as a hopeless case.
When I asked a friend whether he can forgive himself, he smiled and answered: "I don't think about it. And when I do, then I laugh. Not because it's funny. I laugh out of discomfort for the things that I have done. But it's not for me to forgive. It's for another to forgive."
Do we need to be forgiven by another to be at peace?
I guess depending on our beliefs we all may have different answers. And it is not for me to single out one as the best and most enlightened.
Making peace with our self is difficult when...
- we believe we do not deserve peace;
- we have done things, which are wrong, cannot be undone and have hurt others;
- we feel ashamed for our actions;
- or when we have unrealistic and unfair expectations of our self.
Without doubt, it is important we take responsibility for our actions, and do not ignore the consequences of what we might have done, or not.
But it is also important that we do not get stuck in feelings of guilt and unworthiness.
Figuring out what it takes to be at peace with ourself can be quite a task and a process.
It may take time, a long time. But that does not make it any less important.
Making peace might not dissolve all twinges of discomfort, guilt, embarrassment and disappointment.
It might not undo what has been done. And it might not mend whatever might have been broken.
But making some kind of peace is essential in order to learn life lessons and to make meaningful changes.
Like a rugged face that has seen many a storm, and rugged hands that have toiled the soil, so our conscience takes some effort and battering throughout our life time.
There are a few things you may have done in your life time, which you do not feel proud of, and which you regret. Indeed, you and I may make mistakes in the future.
You may have hurt others who deserve better, and lives have been impacted by the choices you have made.
Perhaps you did not know better then. Perhaps you know better now.
Others may have forgiven you, or not.
Perhaps you have not yet fully forgiven yourself.
What does it take for you to look yourself in the eye and accept yourself despite the mistakes you may have made?
Making peace strengthens our self belief and self esteem, sense of purpose, drive for self improvement and the conviction, that life is worth living.
Being at peace with our self is valid, important and essential, however we may choose to go about it. It makes life more bearable, especially in times of crisis. It sends an important message that making and living in peace is a real possibility.
If you are interested in making peace and living in peace, then check out the 7 key steps towards living in peace.
Karin Sieger is a psychotherapist based in London. She provides therapy, workshops and self help articles. Karin specialises in support with anxiety, transitions, loss, death and cancer. For more information visit KarinSieger.com
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