Perhaps the greatest gift we can give ourselves is the presence of peace in our lives.
Peace isn’t something that happens to us—like happiness, it is a decision—no matter what outer circumstances are telling us.
Of course, being at peace—especially amidst any of life’s tumultuous turns—is no easy feat. Religion and spirituality have been trying to find the path to peace for centuries. In more modern times, psychologists and the self-help industry have added their own take on what goes into the pursuit of peace.
So how do we know if we are at peace with ourselves? Does a profound sense of peace envelop us like a warm blanket?
What if we know we’re far from living a life that is peaceful? How do we turn peace into a priority in this complicated, stressful world?
According to the experts, if you do these ten things, you’ll know that peace is indeed prevalent in your life.
1) You don’t engage in comparing yourself to others
If there’s one thing that will steal your peace like nothing else, it’s the need to compare yourself to other people.
People who are at peace with themselves don’t have the need to compare their looks, body, bank balance, career, relationship status, or anything else to someone else.
They’re fine with who they are and are proud of their own accomplishments, their own journey and their personal evolution.
Host and producer of The Happiness Podcast, Robert Puff, Ph.D. says that we get on the path to peace when we free ourselves from this vicious comparison game and put the attention on ourselves.
“The first thing we have to do is acknowledge that comparison doesn’t serve us, whether our focus is on being better than or less than others,” he says.
Puff acknowledges that ending the comparison cycle is easier said than done because many people find it difficult not to give in to the “allure.”
“This is because there will always be people that we’re doing ‘better’ than,” he says. “On the flip side, there is also someone who is doing better than us. You will always find someone with a better job, a nicer home, a better wardrobe, and the list goes on.”
So what’s the moral of the story according to Puff?
Don’t engage with it.
He says that if we compare ourselves to others, we will always be the ones who end up losing. There will always be someone who has more than us, no matter how high up the ladder we are.
“Instead of falling into this trap, we must first acknowledge that comparison exists, but it doesn’t mean we have to engage with it.”
2) You accept what you can’t change
There will always be circumstances beyond our control. There will always be people we wish would change for the better. There will always be things we’ve done in the past that we wish we hadn’t.
People who are committed to leading a peaceful life accept all of the above. They certainly weren’t born with this “Buddhist” mindset, but they learned that worrying incessantly about the past or the future was pointless.
Anthony Moss, writer of Change Your Mind, Change Your Life admits that he spent many years worrying about both a past and future that was out of his reach.
“I would overthink, worry about past conversations, past things I’ve done, and the future would be filled with anxiety, bills, work, health, anything and everything a worry,” he says. “I feel I’m not alone in this, the modern world we reside within today is filled with worry.”
Moss says we have to learn to let that worry go because stress and worry can have such a negative impact on our mental, emotional, and physical health. “[It’s become] one of the main causes of chronic disease in our modern world.”
Moss says that acceptance is where inner peace is found. “It’s within the acceptance where happiness and inner peace is found,” he says. “Start accepting your thoughts, don’t let them sit, just accept and move on.”
He says that a thought is only a thought, and that the thought doesn’t represent the real you. “It has no real value, inner peace and happiness mean everything.”
3) You tend to go with the flow
Peace-loving people know that what they resist will persist. So while they do make plans, they know that something unexpected could happen at any moment. Things fall through—it’s part of life.
It’s the same with change. They know that change is inevitable so rather than force things to stay the same, they embrace the new direction and believe that it is probably part of a bigger plan that might even turn out better than they dreamed of.
If we resist any changes that come our way, we will just make it harder on ourselves.
4) Being out in nature is second nature
Many people who prefer a peaceful life find the fastest and easiest way to do this is to be out and about in nature—and they make sure to work a date with the outdoors into their everyday routine.
This could mean a daily walk, bike, or run, or hiking on the weekends.
I was in Copenhagen a few days ago and there is a reason why the world-class city is considered the happiest city in the world. People are always outside—whether it’s walking, biking (the bikes outnumber the cars!), and outdoor dining. In fact, business meetings are regularly conducted outside over a meal.
Being outside—even when it’s raining—is a quick way to de-stress and put yourself in a more peaceful frame of mind.
5) Self-care is non-negotiable
Being at peace with yourself doesn’t mean that you don’t ever feel stressed or on edge. It doesn’t mean you never have a bad day or don’t feel down in the dumps.
If peace is paramount in your life, so is probably self-care.
This means a healthy diet, ample hydration, exercise, and even a multi-step skincare routine. It can also be meditating or getting a weekly or monthly massage.
But self-care can also be carried out in the form of journaling, creating art, and following a passion.
Engaging in anything that helps you to decompress and find your own personal brand of peace is the whole idea.
For those whom peace is a high priority, they don’t wait until they’re feeling stressed to partake in self-care. They make it happen daily and weekly. They actively make peace a practice.
It’s important to note that therapy is also one of the best forms of self-care as you’re making your mental and emotional health a high priority.
6) They have a ferocious sense of faith that everything will work out for the best
People who are at peace with themselves are eternal optimists. They believe that even when things are looking “bad,” that things will somehow, someway turn out for the best.
They believe in a higher power, whether that’s God, the Universe, or their higher selves, to lead the way.
They also have a support system that’s in the flesh. This could mean family, but it can also mean a group of friends who are there for one another, especially in times of need.
7) You have forgiven (although not forgotten) anyone who has wronged you
People who value peace in their lives know that it’s pointless to carry grudges and hold on to resentments from situations that happened in the past.
This doesn’t mean that peace-loving people are doormats. It’s quite the opposite. It’s just that they put stock in their own peace of mind above all else.
So they’ll forgive and move on, but they might also cut ties with a toxic person for their own sanity and well-being.
8) You take responsibility for your life
People who are at peace with themselves take responsibility for their lives.
They don’t blame their problems on other people. They can see their own part in a situation and they try to learn and grow so that they don’t repeat the same old patterns.
They also take responsibility for “adulting.” This means they pay their bills on time, and have at least six months of savings in their account for a rainy day.
They know that being prepared for any of life’s unpredictable situations can go a long way in maintaining a peace of mind.
They’re also better able to rely on and trust themselves in case something unexpected comes up.
9) You love yourself
Those who are truly at peace with themselves love who they are. They wouldn’t want to be anyone else but themselves.
This doesn’t mean they’re “full of themselves,” or are arrogant in any way, but that they are genuinely content with who they are.
They’re at peace in their own company and they don’t need a lot of friends to have a good time. They’re also perfectly happy having a night in and reading a book as they are out to dinner with friends. In fact, they might even prefer one-on-one long, in-depth conversations to a rowdy group hanging together.
10) You’re grateful
Being at peace with yourself can come from a profound sense of gratitude. People who are at peace with themselves are grateful for all that they have in life—and it doesn’t have to be a whole lot.
Like many spiritual leaders say, gratitude can bring a profound sense of peace that helps us overcome any adversity that we may face.
If we practice gratitude on a regular basis it means that we are in appreciation for what we have right now at this minute, rather than quantifying what we had in the past or what we desire for the future.
Gratitude has no strings attached. That’s precisely why there’s peace in practicing gratitude.
American author Melody Beattie puts it this way:
“Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” –
There’s only one thing left to say: Peace out.