What does it mean to be “At Peace”?

An insight into the concept of “being at peace” in celebration of a national Moroccan holiday “The Green March”.

It is one of those words we hear a lot, use a lot, and things that we want the most:

Peace.

Today, November 6th,2020, Morocco celebrates the 45th anniversary of a national event dear to, and cherished by Moroccans worldwide: The Green March. Being a stop in the Moroccan history that not only promotes peace in getting back the Western Sahara as part of the Moroccan territory, not only does this national celebration stresses on one of the most essential values of Morocco, but it is also a chance to revive the Moroccan pride within the heart of its citizens around the globe.

“On November 6, 1975, more than 350,000 Moroccans marched into the Sahara Desert to peacefully protest the Spanish occupation of the territory, heeding the call of the late King Hassan II”

Source: Hekking, M. (2020). “Morocco Welcomes Western Sahara Gains on Gains of Green March Anniversary”. Morocco World News.

The Green March, Morocco, 1975

In this article, I will be talking about what it means to be “at peace” with yourself, and with the world. Then, I will be giving some -practical- tips that I have been using, personally, to generate these feelings of peace within myself, even at the toughest times, and how I nourish them on daily basis.

I hope you enjoy!

In the context of self-improvement, and personal development, being at peace with oneself is one of the key issues that are constantly addressed today. In this sense, it seems that most of us, if not all of us, have a certain idea, or picture of “being at peace”, but few of of really have a legitimate definition to it. Hence, we tend to describe those “moments of peace” as: peaceful, calm, safe, secure, happy, and complete.

But what does it really mean, to “be at peace”?

As far as my journey in this field of self-help and development is concerned, there seems to be 2 core angles to tackle this notion: Being at peace with oneself (aka inner peace), and with the world. Though, I like to add another angle, as important, to the issue in question, and that is: being at peace with where you are.

Inner Peace:

First, the thing about relating inner peace with feelings of happiness and stillness is not totally inaccurate. In fact, it seems that both of these feelings are a result of a deeper process, which occurs at a specific state of mind, and at a specific time; Think of of the last time you felt “worry-free”, or balanced, or like you could just sit without having your mind buzz with infinite possibilities, concerns and problems you have to fix, deadlines you have to meet, and expectations you have to meet.

In other words, when was the last time you could just be without guilt tripping yourself about anything?

What the 3 types of peace have in common is not happiness, not even calmness. Instead it is: Acceptance; when you accept who you are, with your flaws, wholly, and understand that you cannot be perfect, and that you can only do what you can to fix or solve an obstacle in your life, you feel less stressed, less “all over the place”, and that itself is not a small feat.

Of course, inner peace is not a state we reach overnight. Ironically, it still is a “moment” ,to some extent, that can happen when we least plan for it, but that is the exception. In fact, it appears that it is possible and very within our reach to “plan” for inner peace,make it into a habit, ritual-ize it, through simple practices that I will be getting into shortly.

Being at Peace with the World:

Second, it looks like whenever we talk about “being at peace with the world” to a big and diverse audience, there may be some resistance from some, rejection from others, and curiosity by another category, and I can totally see why that may happen; I was one myself. For example, I’d ask: how in the world can one be in peace with such a world? How is that even possible? Isn’t it the whole point, not to accept what is happening in the world? Then, eventually, I’d feel distant from what the person was saying and it would be hard for me to understand what they were getting at.

I was younger, but I was (already) so angry with the world.

Now, I still don’t think we live in a world of fairy tales, let alone a utopia, but I can safely say I’m at peace with the world. How did that happen? It seems that I had been making a major mistake all along, which, sadly, still is made by many, mostly teenagers (some adults and young adults too) today :

Confusing accepting with agreeing.

Hence, while we can look up for the meaning of a new word in a dictionary, it is ridiculously more challenging, and tricky, to know its use. For instance, ever since we were children, we are taught to be “for” or “against” things; you’d see your dad being “for” or “against” a football team, your mom being “for” or “against” you wearing shorts to school. In high schools, we are asked to write about whether or not we are “for” or “against” gender equality, whether or not we are “for” or “against” polygamy, or whether or not we are “for” or “against” the death sentence. Even in society, we seem to be pre-programmed to a culture of being “for” or “against’ a political party, or a movement.

The truth is, we may really not like this football team, and we may really not want to wear shorts to school, we may be “against” or “for” all types of things, but do we accept the things we are “against”? In other words, are we okay with the fact that these things exist, regardless of our positions towards them?

“Agreeing” Versus “Accepting”…

The fortunate and the main difference between “agreeing” and “accepting” is that while the former is purely subjective, reflecting a certain system of ideas that is personal to each one of us, the latter is objective, more broad and has a widely human character. In fact, today more than ever, it seems that our subjective position to things barely matters. The call, today, is for our acceptance to differences, to diversity, because that is what will keep us all going and co-existing in one planet.

Hence, what truly makes acceptance directly relevant and fortunate to the concept of peace is that it goes back to the human roots of our being. Similarly, ranging from the smallest things that we criticize about ourselves to bigger things about humanity in general, it is those moments of recognition, awareness of a certain reality about the world,those of reject, anger and rage that stem upon hearing them, and thinking “But I’m fine” that make the whole difference.

In this sense, being fine upon hearing news of death, war, starvation, violence and plain injustice and misery, does not mean that you agree with them,let alone support them, neither does it imply that you are “insensitive” or any judgement of the sort, it simply means that you can live despite them, with them, and make it your life purpose, or motivation to make a change.

In this context, what makes the concept of “being at peace with the world” different from my personal version of “being at peace with your reality” is while the former expands to the whole world, the latter is more personal to each one of us. For instance, while it is important to be okay with what happens around you, locally and globally, it is as vital to you to be fine with where you are in your life.

I know, that seems rather difficult and out of league especially at moments of pure despair. Yet, if resisting your own reality, or succumbing to the negative feelings has not helped you yet, don’t you think it is about time you try a different approach?

Again, accepting your reality does by no means mean that you are “for” it. In other words, those feelings of un-fulfillment, self-loathing, regret, pain, and that strong, instinctive and powerful resilience from your body, are all a result of a more simple state of mind: You do not agree neither do you accept your reality. In this sense, that is the natural way your body reacts to going against your own self. Hence, filling yourself up with negative judgement, making yourself believe a certain reality, or avoiding it is a reality in itself. The more you do not acknowledge your reality, the more those feelings will amplify, and that will lead to an infinite cycle of self-hate and, at worst, self destruction.

Also, another misconception that imposes itself on this matter is: Accepting your reality means that you are stuck. That is one way to see it, but that is in no way the way that serves our purpose here. In fact, the conception of accepting one’s reality that is most relevant to self-help and self-reinvention is totally the opposite: Accepting your reality is the most preliminary step towards making a change.

You are about to make a big change in your life, you don’t want to be doing that on the basis of a lie!

In this sense, when you decide accept where you are, without any judgments, you are ready to let go of the script you have been telling yourself for -well- a very long time. You are, then, open to welcome more nourishing and invigorating ideas that serves your growth as your own person.

Personally, this realization has helped me greatly in recovering from the mental frenzy that had been haunting me for most of my teenage, late teenage years. Although I realize that every teenager has some of those moments where they feel lost, and helpless, but eventually “snap”out of it, there are also others who find it harder to overcome those feelings even when they move later in life. Those, are also the ones who may stay silent about it. To the later, I want to tell you that: It is difficult, but it is manageable.

Speaking of management, I will be now suggesting some practical tips and practices that I have been using to grow the feeling of peace within me, regardless of my circumstances:

Practical tips to build the feeling of Peace:

Speak your mind:

How many of us suffer because of bottled up emotions and unsaid words? and how many of us become sick because of it?

The sad truth is that, with a world where there are more “don’t” than “do’s”, it becomes hard sometimes to say what you think, without any heed to whatsoever people will think or say about us. Now, that is not to say to act rashly or to not to think before you output your words to the public, or to an individual. In fact, while there is a possibility they might come off as funny or a a clumsy slip ups, there is another side of the story where people have paid a lot because of words they didn’t mean, or shouldn’t have said in a peculiar moment or context.

However, some words must be said.

I’m talking about those that make a change, either by standing up to yourself, or to someone else, or even by making a confession to yourself, or to others, of love, forgiveness, regret, and so on; if you feel wronged, say something about it, defend yourself, if someone you care about is being wrong, say something about it, and if you want to tell someone your feelings, be expressive, polite and clear about it. As much as standing up for your beliefs matters, showing up for yourself when you need it, and for people you love will seem risky at first, but will give you a confidence boost and hence a sense of satisfaction.

And both are two secret ingredients which can also make you feel at peace with who you are.

Though, some parts of this tip does take me to my second suggestion:

Accept and acknowledge your emotions:

Don’t self sabotage yourself by denying your feelings, no one’s judging you for feeling things, and even if there is someone doing that, think of that person and what she represents in your life.

Is it a parent, a beloved one, a friend, someone you look up to, or just random strangers?

The thing with human emotions and desires, unlike feelings, they tend to be much more difficult to tame and control. In a sense that, while we can interpret feeling happy because we passed a a test or got a present, things like attraction, those sudden waves of “shutting down” are much more complex to explain. What you can do instead of trying to figuring out the “why” to things we don’t have direct answers to is very likely to make us believe in things that may not be true in the first place.

So here is what you can do, when you feel something that you cannot explain, embrace it, recognize it and maybe write it down. You may still feel confused a bit, but it will definitely spare you the frustration and stress resulting from denying it.

Our bodies remember the deepest sensations, and messing or underestimating that memory may only heighten the probability of a far worse damage.

Feel grateful, but plan ahead of time:

While feeling grateful always proves itself as the golden rule to achieve a peace of mind, my second favorite practice to build and nourish this feeling is planning ahead of time.

Inspired mainly from the concept of goal setting, and living with intention, I have come to really appreciate this practice. For instance, adapting myself to what life throws my way without letting it shake me, planning for my goals and staying updated about where I stand in life has surely added more purpose and gave me more resolution about my life.

Track your progress, write down what you want, keep your dreams close and trust that you are moving on forward in life, regardless of the speed. Some people might seem to get “there” a bit faster, others may seem like they are “stuck”, and you may sometimes feel like you are in between, other times, you may feel like you can barely see any progress.. What matters most here is that you are setting just the expectations to yourself that you know you will be able to meet, and that you know what you want and how you want to get it.

Remember, the harshest critic and the best support that you can get in life is no one but yourself.

On this note, I will end my article, and I hope that you have enjoyed reading it!

Thank you.

REFERENCES:

https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2020/11/324954/morocco-welcomes-western-sahara-gains-on-eve-of-green-march-anniversary/

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Writer| Thinker| Sharing my journey as a high-achiever and raising questions about themes that stir my curiosity. IG: imanewrites21

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Imane Ben

Imane Ben

Writer| Thinker| Sharing my journey as a high-achiever and raising questions about themes that stir my curiosity. IG: imanewrites21

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