“We can never obtain peace in the outer world until we make peace with ourselves.”
– The Dalai Lama
Without any doubt, our lives can be hectic and stressful. The above quote from the Dalai Lama is a tribute to the fact that, despite the many difficulties that we face in both our internal and worlds, real peace comes from within. There is neither any person nor circumstance that can disrupt your inner contentment and peace in this world unless you let it.
In order to create this sense of inner peace, there are certain actions and behaviors that must be avoided. While initially difficult or maybe even unknown to your conscious thought process, these practices eventually become habitual. When these practices become routine, your own peace is routine as a consequence.
Here are 21 actions and behaviors to stop that are crucial to your world of inner peace.
1. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
We are all faced with difficult circumstances, trials, and tribulations in this life. However, feeling sorry for your past or present is a tremendous waste of energy and is a terrible habit. Instead, focus on your goals and the actions needed to attain them.
2. Stop feeling sorry for others, too.
Feeling sorry for someone else, while certainly natural, is counterproductive. This is because it’s actually negative energy disguised as sympathy. Instead, create positive energy by praying for them, showing true compassion or doing something productive that will better their situation.
3. Stop trying to buy love and happiness.
You can’t buy love and happiness for yourself or anyone else. History is full of people who have tried (and failed) to use money and possessions for this purpose. On the other hand, living minimally and appreciating what you do have can create a sense of love and appreciation.
4. Stop spending time with negative and critical people.
This is a key point, so please read carefully. Energy from others is conducive, just as energy from a power source is. Human beings derive our essence and disposition through either positive or negative energy Instead of feeling an obligation to spend your time with negative people, disburse this time through being positive around them. You’ll notice a positive difference, even if it’s not immediate.
5. Stop every kind of lie.
This includes “white lies,” those alterations of the truth that you think don’t hurt anyone else. Here’s the thing: it still hurts you. The vast majority of us are guilty of this (admittedly, so is the author of this article). We can never realize a true sense of peace without living honestly all of the time, even when it’s difficult.
6. Stop procrastinating.
According to a study done at the University of Colorado, the tendency to procrastinate impulsively is linked to genetic factors and evolution. However, studies also show that procrastination is a habit that can be reversed through repetitive action. The key is to create small, manageable steps for each task and to consciously manage your time. In other words, stop your brain’s autopilot and control the cockpit.
7. Stop running from your problems.
Immediate action is the antidote to anxiety and worry. This includes anything from your finances to fitness. Stop overanalyzing and, as Nike famously quotes “Just Do It.”
8. Stop denying what makes you happy.
We all fear disappointment and failure. The key is to remember that this life is fleeting and temporary, so you might as well embrace your dreams. Cue Steve Jobs: “Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.” Well said.
9. Stop being what other people expect you to be.
“Be yourself.” Certainly an oft-used adage that we have heard over and over…but are we living it? Social pressure, such as that encountered in social and work settings, often alters our true nature…which alters our peace. Don’t allow it.
10. Stop living in the past and/or the future.
Being present is such a powerful and peaceful way to live. Whatever situation is in front of you, deal with it. Forget about the problems that lie behind or in front of you. Focus your mind and heart on being in the present moment.
11. Stop negative habits.
Our lives are a culmination of our habits – both positive and negative. Everything from cracking your knuckles and biting your fingernails, to driving to the gym and doing the laundry, is a habit. Consciously assess these habits and change those that need changing.
12. Stop holding onto past relationships.
This can be a hard one, especially if it involves the loss of someone that we loved. But we can’t truly embrace the great relationships waiting for us if we are reliving those that have since gone. We must move on while remaining open to those that come into our lives.
13. Stop rejecting love because of past hurt.
Just as we can’t truly embrace great relationships when holding onto past relationships, we can’t truly embrace great love when holding onto love that has since faded. This includes continuously thinking about those that have hurt us and perhaps betrayed our love and trust.
14. Stop holding onto negative beliefs about money.
Believe it or not, negative beliefs from people around us (including family and friends) are what hold us back from attracting money. A great source for information about this is the “Law of Attraction” (or LOA), a widely-embraced school of thought derived from Abraham Hicks. Money will not solve all or your problems, nor is it evil – it is our belief about money that makes it so.
15. Stop believing the negative labels – from others and yourself.
Some of us have a tendency to label people by characteristics that they show consistently. Likewise, we also label ourselves. Remember: the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Labels are, in no way, indications of a person’s true character.
16. Stop accepting your circumstances if they are hurting you.
It doesn’t matter what the circumstance is that’s currently causing harm…it doesn’t have to be that way. While it may indeed take some emotional strength and resilience to escape the situation, doing so will restore us. Get out of the hurtful situation…immediately.
17. Stop following the crowd – take the path that is right for you.
We see crowd-following almost from the time we’re able to perceive the world. Kids follow other kids at school, do the same things and get into the same trouble. Adults follow a particular group of people, hoping to be accepted and appreciated. Part of this is genetic and part is environment, but this fact remains: in being ourselves, we create our own path…
18. Stop trying to be a people pleaser.
Some people have the innate tendency to make people laugh, bring people together, or be the center of people’s attention – this is different… this is natural. However, going against the grain of our being and forcing ourselves to please people is not. This is another area where we need to be ourselves and not what others expect (or what we think they expect) of us.
19. Stop focusing on what you do not want.
Most of what we focus on is manifested in our lives. No, this doesn’t mean by focusing on money itself will magically produce money! However, focusing on the work needed to create money will indeed create it. Likewise, focusing on what makes us unsatisfied manifests itself in our disposition and how we approach the world. Focusing on what makes us happy, and disregarding the things that do not will ultimately produce success and fulfillment.
20. Stop perfectionism.
We could write a book on this topic, but suffice to say that perfectionism is not a virtue. Perfection is a myth…there is no such thing but in creation itself (and there are even arguments against that). However, there is excellence – doing the best we can do in everything. Excellence is what we should strive to achieve.
21. Stop being idle.
Idleness is damaging because it gives us too much time to think. We continuously replay our thoughts on what we should do…and nothing gets done. Next time this happens, don’t think so much…just take action.