How to Make Peace in Your Life

Debra K shares insight and suggestions for making peace with people and situations that cause your anguish.

By Debra K | Posted August 27, 2013 |

Acquiring a peaceful life … sounds blissful doesn’t it?  Sure does, but then again we have that horrible boss, temperamental teen and nagging in-law to contend with, so who has the time to try and make peace.  There are some gifts of insight over four decades of living on this planet have offered and one has been to utilize forgiveness as an instrument to move towards peace.  Regardless of your age odds are at some point a person or situation has caused you pain.  Most of these situations reside in our past, but somehow still manage to negatively impact who we are today.  As adults now, it is our responsibility to determine how much chaos we continue to allow these situations to manifest in our current situations.  There are numerous articles on the benefits of forgiveness and most highlight great reasons to forgive and move on, but they don’t always offer ways to actually do this. It truly is hard to finally release the anger and pain you might be holding against someone.  And, on some level we enjoy the distraction caused by our opinions of others because it gives us a reason for why we can’t do our own work.

One of the biggest life lessons I’ve learned so far is personal ownership. In reflecting back on “bad” situations since being an adult, it is clear when I’ve owned my role in uncomfortable situations forgiveness came for myself and others.  More importantly, when able to own my own part it became much easier to “let it go” eliminating its diminishment of who I am in the present moment. Negative memories of the past shifted as I moved from being a victim to a full participant.

This is not advice to accept bad behavior, but an acknowledgement that you allowed that person or situation to wreak their havoc in your life. Your fears about addressing it in those moments – I can’t be alone, I can’t financially do this, I am obligated, there is nothing better – outweighed your ability to take a stand, evoke change or leave the situation. When this ownership of your own role crystalizes in your psyche, your grasp on the past loosens and your present opens in a miraculous way. It is very liberating!

So, who might we need to do this type work with?

Our Parents – For eons therapists have sat in sessions listening to others tell their stories from childhood.  This damage is tougher because when you are a child, you are not wholly developed yet and are dependent on people who have varying levels of health.  Unfortunately some children are born to monsters and the best they can do is survive.  So, how then as an adult do we make peace and find the ability to move away from feeling a victim to circumstances that no longer exist.  For me, I began to look more specifically for what overall positive characteristics could specifically be attributed to how I was raised.  For example instead of resenting the regimented daily chores and “to dos”, find thankfulness for my incredible work ethic today.  Instead of focusing on having no memory of being told I was loved, remembering how this influenced me in making sure my kids always knew they were loved.  As a kid I found my parents “natural and healthy” ways annoying and resented being forced to partake in all the dehydrating, canning, weeding and junk food deprivation.  Now, I can see how this influenced my life’s path and helped to foster within me a desire to explore natural health.  It is impossible to change the facts of anything painful that happened as a child, but we can decide what to focus attention on – to find the gifts our parents did bring us.  Sometimes the fact is, they did the best they could and it wasn’t perfect.

Our Ex – Oh, this is a good one.  How in the World do we forgive THAT MAN/WOMAN!! The one who _____ (cheated, lied, stole, didn’t care, wouldn’t grow or was never there).  Ownership, the way discussed above, plays a HUGE role here.  There probably isn’t anyone on the planet that is perfect at being in a relationship with another human being.  Seriously, there have been times when I wanted to punch someone in the head so badly because they just weren’t acting quite as expected.  Shortly after my divorce, when the failure of the marriage was still almost entirely his fault, I had an epiphany.  For some reason my perspective shifted and I could clearly see that it had been my choice to spend 12 years of my life with someone that wasn’t compatible for me.  I had used every excuse in the book, but in the end no one forced me to date him, marry him or stay with him. I had invested much of my time and energy in the relationship wishing he would be different and blaming him when he couldn’t be.  And in the end, with a new sense of ownership, I realized he didn’t owe me anything.  I owed it to myself to always make decisions that kept my best interests at heart. When I was able to truly own my role and decision in everything that transpired, a weight lifted and I was able to move on without harboring major angst.  He is who he is…I am who I am and when that didn’t work then it became my decision to stay or go.  I stayed for a long time and then I chose to go.  End of Story.

Ourself – Our biggest objective as humans is to find our way back to holding unconditional love and acceptance for all that we are.  Forgiving ourselves can sometimes be hard and when we don’t, we allow our angst to sabotage our potential magnificence.  In this article, I share my journey to making peace with all that I am

When we have done this work, then as the Mayo Clinic writes below…we will begin to experience all the delicious benefits of incorporating forgiveness as a key part of our wellbeing.

What are the benefits of forgiving someone?

Letting go of grudges and bitterness can make way for compassion, kindness and peace. Forgiveness can lead to:

  • Healthier relationships
  • Greater spiritual and psychological well-being
  • Less anxiety, stress and hostility
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Fewer symptoms of depression
  • Lower risk of alcohol and substance abuse



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