In order to be at peace with others, I must be at peace with myself. This means accepting my past and present, my mistakes and successes, my strengths and weaknesses, my choices and behaviors. It means being open to knowing all of me. This does not mean that I heap blame on myself, for many factors have contributed to who I am – heredity, my family upbringing, my school and work experiences, my relationships, stresses, losses, circumstances, etc. Some of these things I had no control over. I came into this world as a valuable, lovable infant, as we all do, a child of the universe. What happened after that was not completely under my control, and perhaps resulted in feelings of shame and low self-esteem. It does not mean I blame others either, but that I take responsibility for fixing myself now.
Despite all these things, I can find peace within, by taking charge of my own life, and by realizing that I can let go of past hurts that may interfere with my present feelings and relationships. I can let go of the anger that has built up over the years – anger at others and also at myself. I can forgive myself for my mistakes and others for theirs. I can do this by talking to someone or by writing about it, or in other ways that work for me. None of us is perfect–‐ everyone has a dark side. Our mistakes have an important teaching role in our lives. Did you ever stop to think what a perfect world would look like? No lessons, no learning, no challenges, no growth – in short, no humanity. We were never meant to be perfect, but to become the best we can be, which will always be imperfect!
I can choose to love and care for myself, and enjoy my own company. I can choose to have more positive thoughts, to participate in activities I enjoy. I can choose to assert myself in a healthy way with others – to say how I feel and what I need without becoming defensive or angry.
It doesn’t matter how I look or how old I am, or what has happened in my past. It doesn’t matter how much education I have or how much money I earn or what my title is. These things do not give me self-esteem, and do not have to control me for the rest of my life. I have as much worth as anyone else. We all have different starting places, different obstacles to overcome. I am part of nature, part of God or a Higher Power, part of this mysterious, miraculous universe, and by accepting all of me, the light and the dark, and the same in others; I can come to find wholeness and peace within.