Choosing to be peaceful over needing to be right is a big challenge. But it's one you must tackle if you want your life and your relationships to change. The idea of choosing peace implies you have to give up the need to be "right."
Giving up the desire to be right doesn't come as easily, perhaps, and that's okay. But in time, the choice for peace is seen to be more advantageous after all. Being soothed by this calmer choice, this quiet voice, has an appeal all its own, and this is seductive in a healthful way.
Wanting to Feel Better: A Sign that You Want to Grow
Wanting to feel better, physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually, is a sign that you want to grow and change and experience your real purpose in this life. That's what awaits you every time you seek to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit and allow it to make your choices, guide your actions, and direct your thoughts.
I've come to believe that one of my primary purposes is to express kindness. Simple kindness. When I am being kind, in all my encounters, I feel the hand of God in my life, and that makes the moment both special and purposeful. What more could one want? For me, nothing.
Being Willing to Adhere to the Voice of Kindness
Being willing to adhere to this gentle, inner voice means you will be walking away from arguments in which you need not participate. You will be allowing your adversaries to have their own opinions, and you will have no stress over your decision to keep yours as well. Healthy, peaceful relationships demand nothing less.
The interesting fact is that the more one chooses to act from a loving place, which leads always to feelings of peace, the easier the choice becomes to resist struggling with anyone over anything.
Getting Tired of Tension & Wanting to Feel Calm
I've been thinking that perhaps the desire for peace is heightened for me because of my advancing years. After all, one does get tired of tension, I think. I know I want to feel calm. I want to feel present and to serve as a loving witness to others.
Did none of this matter when I was younger? I'm honestly not sure, but the fact that I'm here in this place, now, pleases me. It has made it possible for me to stay committed to the work I do, to write books like the one you are holding, to do the speaking engagements that I love so much.
This life is all about my commitment to listening to my inner kind, gentle voice: listening to its words of comfort, to its suggestions to express only love, to its song of forgiveness. Your life, and mine, too, and thus all our relationships, can't be anything but mellow when we turn our minds, and our behavior, over to the power of the loving voice that's always waiting for our willing attention.
Taking an Inventory of Your Relationships
Taking an inventory of your relationships periodically is an enlightening experience. I think the time for doing so is now.
I suggest you find a quiet place to rest awhile. Turn off your phone and the light if that helps. Close the door and the shades, too, if you so choose.
Now sit down in a comfortable chair, breathe deeply, and allow the many relationships that you are presently in travel through your mind. Notice them, one by one. Notice, explicitly, your behavior.
Which relationships create tension in you? See if you can discern why. And notice the ones that make you smile. Now just sit quietly with your recollections.
After twenty or thirty minutes of silent reflection, begin writing about your observations. What you write is for your eyes only, unless you want to share it. This exercise is meant to open your eyes to who you most commonly are.
Observing Your Behavior in Your Relationships
What did you notice about your behavior in your most significant relationship? Were you proud of it?
Did you notice any difference in your behavior with friends as opposed to the most "significant" relationship partner? Explore those differences here and see if you can discern why the difference exists.
What do your interactions generally look like with strangers? Is there anything about that behavior you'd like to change? What do you think the payoff might be if you behaved differently?
Choosing Three Behavioral Changes You'd Like to Make
After making these observations, can you think of at least three changes you would like to make in your behavior, with both friends and strangers? List those changes here.
Consider, before moving on, if you were to always put your best foot forward, how would you present yourself in every encounter? Describe yourself here.
Your recent reflecting will help you with this exercise. Offer some specific imaginary encounters with detailed habits you can fall back on when you do have the chance to put that best foot forward. You will discover many of them.
Old Perspectives Control Old Behaviors
Old perspectives are generally tied to the ego's voice, the voice that has held sway too often. Old perspectives die a slow death. What I am suggesting here is that we be willing to discard those old perspectives, which means turning a deaf ear to the ego and allowing the Holy Spirit's voice to guide the changes that would benefit our behavior and thus all our relationships, too. Think of this as an adventure. A game, perhaps. Practice watching yourself as you go through a day, noticing how many times you put your best foot forward.
It is practice that molds us into the people we'd rather be. There is no mystery here. You can make any change you really want to make.
Start small, however. Try applying Mother Teresa's principle for living:
Be kind to everyone, and start with the person standing next to you.
©2012 by Karen Casey, PhD. All rights reserved.
Reprinted with permission of the publisher, Conari Press,
an imprint of Red Wheel/Weiser, LLC. www.redwheelweiser.com.
This article was adapted with permission from the book:
by Karen Casey.
In Getting Unstuck, bestselling recovery writer Karen Casey invites readers to dig deep into their own patterns of behavior to determine where they've gotten stuck in their lives. Presented in a workbook format, readers write down and explore their answers to specific questions both to discern what's causing them unhappiness or stress and to develop strategies for getting unstuck.
About the Author
Karen Casey is a popular speaker at recovery and spirituality conferences throughout the country. She conducts Change Your Mind workshops nationally, based on her bestselling Change Your Mind and Your Life Will Follow. She is the author of 19 books, including Each Day a New Beginning which has sold more than 2 million copies. Read her blog at www.karencasey.wordpress.com.