“The dictionary defines peace as: “Inner contentment; serenity: peace of mind.” And peace of mind is “the absence of mental stress or anxiety.” Anxiety is caused by fear. As a Clinical hypnotherapist and human behavior expert, I believe that peace of mind or inner peace is when you feel OK with who you are, what you have, free of anger, hatred, bitterness, revenge, guilt, blame, shame or fear. Inner peace is that state of love and acceptance for yourself and others. Peace is also built on expressing compassion, justice and unity, promoting non-violence, tolerance and co-operation. Later in this book, I explain how to attain peace.
Jesus taught, “Love thy neighbor as thyself.” In other words, you must first love yourself so that you can know love and then be able to express it to others, to your neighbor. But I didn’t understand that teaching at the time. I didn’t know what love is and I didn’t love myself. Later I learned that when Jesus spoke of love, he referred to brotherly love and human compassion, not romantic love. I also didn’t realize that one can’t express brotherly love and compassion when one is full of anger and bitterness or some other negative emotion.”
Just this past two weeks, three of my clients have expressed challenges with anxiety. I said in the excerpt above that anxiety comes from fear, and thus anxiety can also be caused by the fearful feeling that our life is out of control -that we have no control over what is happening in it. Often my first suggestion is to identify what you can control, what you can’t control, and then accept what you can’t control and create strategies to handle what you can control. Our resistance to accepting “what is” often creates more stress and anxiety. When we fight to control something that we cannot control, we begin to feel weak mentally, emotionally and physically. The more we fight and resist “what is”, continually losing, the more anxiety we create because we feel more and more out of control.
Often the only thing we can control is our thoughts and ourselves. And contrary to what some people teach, we cannot control our feelings. We can change our thoughts which will result in different feelings. We can release repressed feelings and thoughts which will result in new feelings but we cannot control our feelings. When people speak of controlling their feelings, they often mean denying, repressing or suppressing feelings and the result is always harmful because withholding feelings leads to physical ailments, stress, depression and other mental and emotional problems. Just like a metal spring, you can push down those feelings but eventually they will spring right back up, and with greater force than before. They key to emotional freedom and inner peace is to first acknowledge and accept whatever you are feeling and then find a safe way to release those feelings by also gaining new insight, wisdom and understanding pertaining to the initial cause or trigger of those feelings.
For example, a person betrayed by someone may feel angry, bitter, resentful or scared to trust again. Accepting those feelings is step one to healing. Next, as he or she understands at a subconscious level that it was not about her, that it is over, she can learn from the experience and feel safe to trust again. The complete process always involves forgiveness.
“True peace and love can only be achieved through forgiveness: forgiveness of oneself and everyone else.
I believe that, ultimately, the key people we need to forgive are our parents. We need to forgive them not just for what they did but what they didn’t do. As children, some of us were abused while others simply were not loved or given any attention or recognition.
For a very dear friend of mine, the pain lies in the comment by her mother: “I never wanted you.” For me, my challenge was that I was never taught, never witnessed and never experienced intimacy. I never received the attention, recognition or praise that I desired. I now realize how that shaped who I was and who I am.
I became an entertainer to freely express myself and receive the attention and recognition that I never received as a child, and I became a speaker and journalist so I could be heard, so that I could be heard. I became a teacher and healer so that I could teach the very lessons I needed to learn: love and forgiveness.”