1. People or circumstances we allow to steal our peace.
Okay, I confess I made up the word and definition. Here’s how it happened. My mind flashed to the 1984 movie “Ghost Busters”. It was about a team of scientists that battled supernatural forces in order to save New York City. As I hummed the theme song, I reflected on a different battle: The internal and external battle for peace.
From the board room to our living room peace busters steal our tranquility.
The dictionary defines peace as freedom from disturbance; quiet and tranquility. Jesus promised
“Peace I leave with you; My [perfect] peace I give to you …” (John 14:27).
So why is it that so few experience peace?
As a young mommy I fought to have just one hour of peace by rising every morning at O’dark thirty. I would sneak into my home office/sanctuary before anyone stirred. It was bliss. This became a habit. It has become my life long morning spiritual practice to spend the first hour or more praying, meditating and preparing for the day. Out of 24 hours I can at least count on enjoying peace for one.
Everything from our health to our prosperity depend upon being at peace.
Even the word dis-ease (not in ease) reflects this truth. I have spent a great deal of time reflecting on what steals our peace and how to regain it. Here are 5 common peace busters and tips to restore peace.
5 Peace Busters
- The need to defend (be right).
In the book, New Earth Eckardt Tolle tells a story that has made me think.
The Zen Master Hakuin was esteemed by the people in his village. One day a distraught young women finds she is pregnant and tells her parents the father was Hakuin. Furious they rush to the Master informing him he is a father. “Is that so?” is his only response. Hakuin’s reputation in the community is tarnished. After the birth of the baby they deliver it to Hakuin to raise. He proceeds to raise the baby with love. One Year later the daughter confesses her lie. She reveals the true father to be the young man who worked in the fish market. Sheepishly they return to the Master and apologize. They inform he is not the father and they have come to take the child back. Hakuin’s only response as he hands the baby back to the parents was “Is that so?”
All have experienced times of being misunderstood or judged. In these times, our motives, integrity and character are called into question. We desperately desire to defend and tell our side. Have you found that this rarely works?
Perception is a funny thing. It gives infinite ways to look at something. We (Ego) passionately believe our version is the right one. Proverbs says,
“Every man’s way is right in his own eyes…” (Prov. 22:2 AMP)
Attempting to defend our point of view is energy draining and usually futile. It almost always leads to division. Ultimately, it separates friends, families, even countries!
Solution: The story of Hakuin introduces 2 powerful tools: Acceptance and Empowering Questions. With acceptance (of himself, neighbors and what is) Hakuin was able to avoid being caught up in the emotions and drama. Asking questions with love and humility can diffuse the situation. Empowering questions can uncover creative solutions.
- Ask your self, “Is that so?”. Although there may be exaggeration and inaccuracies, there is almost always also usually a grain of truth. When we look for that grain and do some self examination we will see a bigger picture. This is a hallmark of maturity.
- Ask others, “Is that so?”. When we stop defending and just listen truth will surface. When we stop being their “Holy Spirit” then Spirit can do it’s work! Jesus did not defend himself.
“And the chief priests accused Him of many things, but He answered nothing. Then Pilate asked Him again, saying, “Do You answer nothing? See how many things they testify against You!” But Jesus still answered nothing,..” (Mark 15:3-5)
Scripture tells us Pilate’s conscience was bothering him when his wife sent him an urgent message concerning Jesus. Perhaps truth needs us to BE it more than defend it.
2. The need to change others.
I often wonder why it is so easy to see the faults of others and not our own. Attempting to change another is exhausting and it robs the relationship of peace. Between the command to not judge and a treatise on prayer, Jesus was clear about trying to “help” others.
“And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eyec] when you have a log in your own? 4 How can you think of saying to your friend, ‘Let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,’ when you can’t see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log in your own eye; then you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend’s eye.” (Matt. 7:3 NLT)
- Ask yourself “What is the purpose of trying to change that person?” Is focusing on the faults of another your way of avoiding looking at yourself (looking at the speck instead of the log)?
- Focus on what you love about the person. There is a saying that which you appreciate, appreciates. When we accept others and focus on the things we love those qualities often increase.
- Understand everyone is doing their best based on their level of awareness. When we understand that we are better able to extend grace and allow them to grow at their own pace.
3. The need to be perfect.
Perhaps you were raised with the idea of doing it perfectly or not at all. When I was growing up my dad would ignore the 5 A’s on my report card and focus on the C. This desire to be perfect is not only a peace buster, it keeps us in perpetual stuck mode.
- Focus on progress not perfection. Years ago I learned an acronym from Tony Robbins – C.A.N.I. It stands for constant and never-ending improvement. When we focus on our progress perfectionism loses it’s power.
- Do it ugly! A fellow coach shared this motto as she showed me her first training manual. It was a simple spiral bound photo copied book. James Malinchak once shared how his friend ridiculed his first book. “Your book is so ugly!” he would tease. James simply responded, “My ugly book that is making me more money than yours that is still not written!” I’m sure we can all relate to the many great ideas and projects still in their unfinished state because of perfectionism.
4. The need to impress.
We all have felt the desire to keep up with the Jones from time to time. Scripture says,
“The fear of man brings a snare“
Needing the approval of others is a peace buster. It can control us so much it becomes an addiction.
- Awareness. All change begins with awareness. Practice becoming the observer of your life. Watch yourself attempting to impress. Then observe the response it evokes. Often our attempt to impress creates the opposite response. Are you impressed by others boasting or drawing attention to them self? Neither are they.
- Beliefs. Usually the need to impress is based on the false belief (illusion) of lack. When we feel we lack beauty, talent, resources or love we respond by attempting to hide our perceived lack. I love the affirmation, “I AM enough”. It contains great power to set us free from the need to impress
- Focus on others. When we direct our attention to seeing the good in others it takes it off our self. We activate the law of give and receive. The more love, honor, respect we give the more we tend to receive. We are all interconnected.
What we do to or for another, we are doing to/for our self.
- Rapport. When it comes to rapport, a general principle is I like people who are like me. i.e. I like people who speak and understand the same language as me. We expect a person speaking German will have a communication challenge speaking with someone who communicates in Japanese. But most of us are unaware of the additional languages we use that create or destroy rapport. Learning the languages of rapport pays huge dividends including improved communication, enhanced relationships, increased sales, referrals and retention.
Learn more here, “Do You Speak the Language of Rapport?“
5. The need to be liked.
This is very similar to the need to impress. Usually we seek to impress because we desire to be liked and accepted. When we are driven by the opinions of others we loose our peace and our freedom.
- Fascination. Fascinated people are fascinating. When we are fascinated by people we ask lots of questions and pay attention to their answers. This in itself makes them like us. When we are fascinated with life we sparkle. Jesus talked about salt loosing its saltiness. He spoke of being lukewarm and neither hot nor cold. Playing it safe and attempting to blend is the very thing that drives away the attractiveness we desire.
- Focus. I love the motto, “Others opinions are none of my business”. Not being influenced by the opinions of others restores peace. It truly sets the captive free! They key is knowing that most of what others say and do has nothing to do with us. We make it about us. They have an entirely different movie going on in their head than the one we imagine. My 12 week Bible Study audio series “