Loving Yourself: A Path To Inner PeaceBy Dr. Margaret Paul
May 01, 2017
We all want to feel inner peace, yet most of us think and behave in ways that create stress instead of peace.
Take a moment right now and think about what creates a lack of inner peace:
- You might feel anxious when you become attached to the outcome of things.
- You likely feel anxious when you attach your worth to some kind of success or failure.
- You might feel stressed when you think about the past and criticize yourself for the choices you made.
- You will generally feel tense when you worry and obsess about others' actions and how they feel about you.
- You will feel anxious the moment you criticize yourself or tell yourself lies about yourself or others - lies that are programmed into the wounded self.
- You will likely feel tense when you make up things about the future rather than being present in the moment.
All of these examples are about some form of control. Worry, obsessive thinking, self-judgments and judgments of others - all are ways to make yourself believe that you have control over people and events, when in reality none of us have control over anything besides ourselves.
Inner peace comes when we accept what we can and cannot control. This is the basis of the Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
You will stop worrying, obsessing and criticizing when you learn to love yourself instead of abandon yourself, and fully accept your lack of control – your helplessness - concerning others and events, and instead focus on what you can control, which is yourself.
In order to let go of attempting to control things you cannot control, you need to learn to love yourself enough to be in faith that you are always being guided toward your highest good. It means that you are willing to open to learning with your inner or higher guidance, rather than continuing to believe that you can figure everything out from your limited mind. It means that you are willing to use your mind as a receiver of information from your higher self, rather than relying on what has been programmed into your mind.
You will feel inner peace only when you are loving yourself in this present moment, rather than focusing on the past or future. When you are fully in the present moment, you are not judging the past or obsessing about the future. Yet in order to be in this present moment, you need to be open to feeling the very painful existential feelings of life - heartbreak, loneliness, grief and helplessness concerning others and events. When you are in the present moment, you may feel broken-hearted when someone you love is being harmful to you, to others, or to themselves, or you may feel grief when you lose someone you love. You might feel lonely when you want to share love with someone and that person is closed, or when there is no one with whom to share love. You may feel helpless over others, once you truly accept your lack of control over them.
Most people will do anything to avoid these very difficult feelings. Addictions are an attempt to avoid these painful existential feelings. Yet you cannot be present in the moment and experience inner peace unless you are also willing to feel these hard parts of life. You might not feel that you are even capable of tolerating these feelings until you learn to lovingly manage your painful feelings through the practice of Inner Bonding.
The more you practice Inner Bonding, the more you develop your loving adult self who is able to access the love and truth of your spiritual guidance and manage the painful feelings of life. The more you lovingly manage these feelings, the more willing you are to be present in the moment. The more you are present in the moment, the more inner peace you feel and the more you experience the warmth and comfort of spirit. The more you feel the love coming from spirit, the more you let go of control, which also enables you to be present in the moment.
Perhaps you can see that the diligent practice of Inner Bonding can lead to loving yourself, resulting in many more experiences of inner peace.
Join Dr. Margaret Paul for her 30-Day at-home Course: "Love Yourself: An Inner Bonding Experience to Heal Anxiety, Depression, Shame, Addictions and Relationships."
Join IBVillage to connect with others and receive compassionate help and support for learning to love yourself.
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