5 signs your next life chapter is about finding true inner peace

You may have heard about The Color Purple movie remake into a musical recently. The 1985 film starring Oprah Winfrey—for which she won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress—was based on the 1982 novel by Alice Walker.

Walker has said in the past that she prioritizes her inner peace above all else. 

“I think all this zipping around the world is overrated,” she said. “One of the things I’ve learned is that I need to be more rooted, and so I’ve been working on that.”

Walker says she also makes it a point to “talk a lot less. Bring much slower and much more grounded with my animals, and with my friends. Staying extremely simple. Just learning to really, really love the ordinary…what is simple and true.”

As the year comes to a close and many of us are in reflective mode, we realize how paramount inner peace is. Many of us realize that we are finally willing to get on the path that will take us there as much as possible—for our health, well-being, and peace of mind. 

Here are five indications that you’re on the path to inner peace. 

1) You’re done with all the drama

As a journalist, I’m always reading—and sometimes writing—about the horrible things happening in the world.

This is probably part of the reason why I can’t stand drama in my personal life. I don’t see the point of it and who needs all that aggravation and stress when the world has bigger problems?

So I do my best not to be in the company of toxic people. 

Mind, body, and life coach Tara Meyer-Hobson echoes my sentiment.  

“In my experience, those that cause drama for amusement or attention have had some sort of stunting to their growth at a young age; they have a broken sense of self,” she says. 

“Perhaps their parents didn’t pay attention to them, so they scream to get someone to notice. Maybe they were in a situation where they weren’t taught to use their words to express their emotions properly; they now only use them to get hurt. Maybe they are simply modeling what the adults in their life do.”

Meyer-Hobson says that whatever it is, causing drama is inherently childish and attention-seeking. 

“It’s a kid’s way of exerting power over their surroundings, rather than an adult’s way of changing the outcome of experiences through positive actions.”

So, if you’re truly done with drama, you’ll actively work on changing your reactions so as to prevent creating needless drama. 

If it’s other people who are bringing the drama, you’ll either disassociate from them as much as possible or downright let them go altogether. 

2) You don’t want to judge people—including yourself

things emotionally intelligent people never say in an argument 5 signs your next life chapter is about finding true inner peace

Say you’re not crazy about who your younger sister is dating. You can’t help but feel her boyfriend is “beneath” her. Maybe because she has a highly lucrative career while he has no ambitions beyond his blue collar job. 

But you’ve come to terms with the fact that your sister is an adult capable of making her own decisions. If he makes her happy, then really, that’s all that counts. 

If, deep down, you suspect that he’s  with her, in part at least, because she makes twice as much money as him, then that’s your sister’s place to determine—not yours. 

When you practice reframing the way you think about things, your negative judgments will decrease, says therapist Keir Brady

“For instance, if someone cuts you off in traffic, you get to decide why. You could judge them as a terrible driver that doesn’t care about anyone else. Or, you can assume that they are driving their hurt child to the hospital.”

Brady adds: “When you choose to reframe a situation by viewing it with more empathy and compassion, you are less likely to form a negative judgment.”

Acceptance all the way around is the anecdote, and it applies to yourself as well. 

Maybe you thought you would be at a different point in life by now, personally or professionally, and you feel like you’ve fallen short on your goals. 

Perhaps life has gotten in the way and you’ve been in survival mode. 

But you make the decision to stop judging yourself about it. 

This means feeling at peace with yourself and others exactly where you are in life, says Dominica Applegate from Sober Recovery

“You no longer judge anyone as you’ve learned to trust that each person is on their own path. Now, you allow people to be without expectations or judgment.”

3) You’ve put an end to expectations 

We kind of touched on this but the surest road to disappointment comes from the expectations we put on other people—even when we feel entitled to them. 

If, for example, you lent money to your friend for rent, and they told you that they would pay you back the following month after they got over the bad “hump.” 

A month later rolls around and you’re expecting your money. But you hear nothing. When you eventually bring it up after a grace period of a few weeks, they say it’s going to take more time for them to pay you back.

You were counting on getting that money back because now you’re the one who is falling behind in paying the bills. 

You feel disappointment in your friend, annoyance at yourself for lending the money in the first place, and just angry overall about the whole situation. 

The problem was the expectation you had in getting the money back in the time you thought you would.

When we embrace having the true “no expectations, no disappointments” meaning, we begin to live fully in the present, says Tony Robbins. 

“We stop fighting things that are out of our control and focus our power on what we can control: our own mindset, emotions, and actions.”

4) You’ve realized that worrying won’t get you anywhere 

find joy youre living an uncommonly happy life 5 signs your next life chapter is about finding true inner peace

I’m a born worrier—something I think I inherited from my mother. 

When I was a child, my dad worked the afternoon shift at an engineering firm and would come home just after midnight. 

I remember waking up in the middle of the night on weeknights and looking out my bedroom window to see if his van was parked out front. If it was, I knew he was home. 

If he wasn’t, I wouldn’t be able to go back to sleep. I knew he must be working overtime or an issue arose at work that he wanted to solve before he came home (he was the supervisor, so he had to tend to any problem that came up). 

What would happen is that I would fall asleep despite the worry and then suddenly jolt back awake and remember the van wasn’t there. What often happened was the second time I awoke and looked out the window, the van was always there and I would fall back asleep instantly.

Worries, doubts, and anxieties are a normal part of life, says the team at HelpGuide.org.

“It’s natural to worry about an unpaid bill, an upcoming job interview, or a first date. But ‘normal’ worth becomes excessive when it’s persistent and uncontrollable. You worry every day about ‘what ifs’ and worst-case scenarios, you can’t get anxious thoughts out of your head, and it interferes with your daily life.”

Part of wanting more inner peace is to let go of worry and the things you can’t control. It’s impossible to banish worry altogether but perhaps pick and choose what you’re going to worry about.

As far as my own worry is concerned, it’s a work in progress. 

5) You’ve taken it to heart that happiness is a decision 

Many people go through life believing the world owes them happiness. 

When that doesn’t happen, they walk around with a constant chip on their shoulder. They’re angry at the world and they tend to be at war with themselves.

But the beautiful thing about happiness is that we are the ones who have the power to harness it. 

Understanding that happiness is choice clarifies things enormously, says Dan Sullivan from The Strategic Coach

“[Happiness] is an internal decision; it’s one that can become more and more powerful the more you choose to be happy. Happiness is a decision, not a result.”

No matter what the circumstances, we can choose to be happy in the midst of all the chaos. 

That doesn’t mean we should be deliriously happy when our house has burned down, but we can be grateful, for example, that we survived. 

We can find the bigger meaning in whatever is going on in any given moment, and put our faith in something outside of ourselves. 

This time six years ago, I was deeply unhappy that my father had passed away after three gut-wrenching weeks in a coma. But even in the depth of all that pain, I remember being grateful that I had him as a dad and that he really counted on me for the last part of his life. 

Acceptance of what is can bring us a profound sense of inner peace. 

Wendy Kaur

Wendy Kaur

Wendy Kaur is a Toronto-based journalist whose work has been published by The Globe & Mail, ELLE USA, ELLE Canada, British Vogue, Town & Country, and others.

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