Which Peace Are We Talking about Here?

Love and a loving touch can bring a baby peace..

We may have heard the Bible verse: “Blessed are the peace-makers for they shall inherit the earth.” That sounds like quite a rewarding, honorable mission. So peace is a desirable and good quality. But what kind of peace is it that offers such a reward?

Inner peace is a home grown commodity; beginning with the seeds of loving ourselves as babies then as children. Add the nourishment of loving parents; give the sunshine of growth from personal experiences, life lessons and a love for our Creator/Spirit/God as well as our fellow man, and our own peace will hopefully grow. Add years of love and affirmation from our family, friends, teachers and spouses and we may see ourselves in an even better light and truly appreciate the gifts we do have.

Inner peace is something mystics, wise men, and philosophers have sought for many centuries. Inner peace gives us an open mind to gladly learn from a brilliant teacher or a simple, sweet child. Our inner peace gives us courage to admit it when we are wrong without having our internal support system disintegrate before or after we admit our errors.

But all too often somewhere along the way, some of us lose that sense of self worth. That point when “I did good!” becomes, “I can’t do anything right!” This metamorphosis can happen from any number of tragic life events or changes that can grip our confidence in its talons and squeeze the life out of it.

Christians, Alcoholics Anonymous and other healing groups often quote The Prayer of Serenity: “(God) Grant me the serenity to accept the things I can not change; courage to change the things I can change; and the wisdom to know the difference.”  Interestingly enough, when you look up serenity, the first three definitions are: calmness, hush and peace.

So the first part of the Prayer of Serenity is actually a prayer for inner peace. Christians believe God is the inspiration for that peace, while other religions attribute inner wellness to studying, the Creator, or Great Spirit (two names for God) or some other spiritual leader. In addition to these sources of strength I also believe peace can come from knowing ourselves, with an honest appraisal of our shortcomings and our successes and acceptance of both for what they are: parts of us.

But when we proceed to the second part of the prayer, courage is also needed to change the things that need changing. Change, whether gained by taking a stand or whether by working at and studying wisdom, is often a challenging though desirable education in itself.

To take a stand against being bullied, controlled, or any kind of abuse can actually be part of the process of attaining peace. “How?” you may ask. Because you have to decide that you are worthy of peace. You have to crawl up out of the sucking, mucky bog of self- degradation that we get ourselves into when we believe that everyone is more deserving, better, smarter, more anything than we are.

Yes, in this world there will always be someone we think is better than us at something or other but it shouldn’t make us think less of ourselves! If it does then we are getting “bogged” down!

But to be able to stand on our own two feet and hold our own convictions as valid and true, we have to experience life and learn what it has to teach us. We have to allow ourselves to make mistakes. We need to learn not to berate ourselves over how “stupid” or how “careless” we were. Everyone makes mistakes, everyone has different ways of looking at them though.

Recently for several days I was bashing myself over something I said that I was afraid had hurt someone’s feelings. While receiving advice from another friend on how to handle the situation, she gave me two quotes of advice to think about. “The less said, sooner mended.” Sure apologize if you’re sure that you hurt someone; but there is no need to go into a long discourse on what a rotten person you are. Just give a sincere apology and offer to do what you can to make amends.

The other quote she gave me was: “No one died!” This puts things in perspective. Don’t go on and on bashing yourself. Ask yourself: “Are my mistakes life threatening? Did my actions or words alter our relationship(s) permanently? Did my action or words truly hurt someone?”

I always thought that by tormenting myself over mistakes I would better learn not to do them again. Wrong!! I produced more anxiety. I do know that by bashing myself after a mistake, I made it easier to allow someone else to bash me too. This is also a matter of giving someone else your power over yourself. (I’ll address that in another blog.)

Through all of this I am not negating or making light of what I have been taught from my Christian training. How can we truly love or trust someone, until we can love and trust ourselves at least to some degree? When we can truly trust our whole “package” to ourselves, to God, our spiritual guide or even the one we love, then we are on the path to true inner peace and love.

But all of this growth takes time. Trees grow over many years and usually survive many storms, droughts, insects, or poor growth conditions. The ones who are the biggest and strongest are the ones who survived.

Was I a peacemaker during the latter and stormier years of my marriage? I often kept the peace by not having an opinion about many decisions because I felt ignorant and inexperienced about most things. 

But was I really a peacemaker, in the truest sense of the word? I carefully chose the battles I fought so as not to add to the strife of our home. Yes, I yelled and cried when I finally blew my top and had had all of the anger and hurt I could handle!

Sure there were times that I gave in; decided I didn’t have an opinion; chose the path of least resistance; chose not to make a big fuss over something so unimportant; or apologized profusely for my “mistakes, wrong doings, or failings,” in order to bring peace back into our home. But was this real peace?

What is your definition of peace? How do you attain that peace? How does it affect your attitude about life?

13 thoughts on “Which Peace Are We Talking about Here?

  1. Very insightful post, you have a wise friend. I think she gave you excellent advice. I often feel I am a “professional” self-torturer – beating myself up for so many failures, both real and imagined. I am on a spiritual journey – trying to grow and learn how to avoid these peace destroying behaviors. So, for me, inner peace would be giving myself a save place to grief, cry, grow, and make mistakes. It includes learning how to love myself and others – without judging either one of us. I am no where near achieving this, but I think it is what I seek.
    From your post, I think you are much stronger than you think you are – and far more intelligent.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Wow! Thank you GatherStones. It is good to know there are others who have been through what I have. You sound like you are grappling with guilt like I did and have a wonderful plan in place. I just kind of took it one day at a time in my home. It is my safe haven for healing.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. This is such a good post. Full of wisdom and life’s experience. I like the serenity prayer very much. Peace , inner peace, is serenity for me. And handing over the things I cannot change is a big part of achieving that peace.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Anne!! Seeing your comments always buoys my desire to keep writing and trying to make a difference in the world. Sounds like you are on a good path in your life and have peace too. Hugs and thanks for commenting!!


  3. I am with you on that definition too. Words can have one or several definitions. But Peace really can mean a lot of different levels of calm or assuredness, The Faith part is what makes the Peace possible, I believe. Thank you for reading this and commenting too.


  4. I am struck when reading this that for the first half of my life I valued peace but didn’t have much courage. After I turned 40 I realized that if I wanted to really have peace I needed to become courageous and change things that weren’t working. In that way, ironically, I gained more peace. I had always thought that being courageous would lead to strife.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Moragnoffke, thank you for sharig this. I only remember peace from my childhood, at least the kind of peace where we, as a family loved each other and enjoyed each other with love. For a while after marrying my husband things were good but I did not have the wisdom or courage to change the situation that grew around us from my husband’s changing personality and outbursts until 16 years into our marriage. I did what I thought would promote peace but then I didn’t know what inner peace was about until later. I thought of peace as the period when we weren’t arguing or when he wasn’t mad at me. Now I understand that peace comes from within partly from wisdom gained through hard times and how we learn to protect ourselves when necessary. Peace is much more complex than I thought and yet so simple when you understand what it is and where it comes from.


  6. I relate to the unpeaceful situation of hurting the feelings of others. After hurting someone, I want to crawl into a hole. Thankfully, people like your friend, and now, you, share the peacekeeper of spiritual courage. I have to get out of the hole and courageous have the mind of Christ that comes with the peace, not of the world, though in the world with a power to call-out ill-will, bind wounds, and forgive. Thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Thank you, Cheryl Petersen. I lived with a husband who changed over the years due to mini-strokes and poorly controlled diabetes. As a nurse I understood why he was acting the way he was but it hurt me and our son. I forgave him, I thought. But then I would remember something I had blocked out in my mind and understood you can’t always “blanket forgive.” You need to face each thing and forgive it. It takes time sometimes to forgive too. Be patient with yourself.


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