The greatest obstacle to really being okay is this misconception that it's okay to just be okay. We would rather just pretend everything is okay and if we do then, everything will be okay....okay is the new norm. We'd rather just pretend things are okay, even when they aren't. This way of thinking pushes us to dismiss reality...not allowing us to really reflect on how we are right now. We just shrug and say, "I'm okay." We get complacent and content with just allowing ourselves to be okay. Well, wouldn't it be refreshing if, instead of muddling through life being OKAY, we lived our life as we are. What if we were authentic, honest, and true to ourselves. What if instead of being okay we were REAL?
We get so used to pretending that we are okay, we forget to reflect on how we really are. We ignore our true feelings thinking if we aren't okay then there's something wrong with us. When we aren't okay then we think we are doing something wrong. By focusing on what is wrong, we are reinforcing the idea that we are in some way broken and incapable of experiencing fulfillment now. We assume that not being okay is wrong.
By focusing on and trying to push away the bad stuff or change it into better stuff, we are forever judging this moment as not good enough, as not okay and therefore postponing our happiness. We have trained ourselves to believe that whenever there is judgement or negativity then everything is wrong...we must be broken. Then we focus on finding things that will "fix" us. Once we start focusing on the fixes then we endlessly discover more things to fix. When do we ever reach the point we can truly say "Okay, I'm perfect... now I can be peaceful?"... It won't happen. Focusing on the wrongs and chasing the fixes will never bring peace.
Finding inner peace involves accepting the who, where, what and why of this very moment. Contrary to what some may tell you, being truly okay and at peace is not found through self-improvement, it comes from self-acceptance.
We are lead to believe that being sad is not okay; that being angry is wrong. Where did these ideas come from? Who says so? It's natural to feel emotions, it is healthy to be sad at a loss, or angry when wronged. When we learn to respect and reflect on our emotions we find peace. It isn't the sadness that robs you of your peace...it is the little commentator in your head that says being sad is wrong. Guess what, the commentator is wrong! The amazing thing is that you can experience sadness and anger while still being completely at peace...accepting that these things are part of our life.
Instead of judging our feelings we accept them, honor them, live them...we resolve them. Judgment is more the thief of peace than sadness or fear ever will be. Life comes with good and bad, we have to experience life and all it brings us, accepting life as it is the key to inner peace...accepting the happy and the sad; the good and the bad is what makes life worth living. Being constantly okay is not living, it's not reality.
Peace is experienced when we allow everything to be as it is without resistance, when we learn to embrace every experience, the good and the bad. Of course, life will bring us heartache and loss, it's a natural part of life. When we are at peace we can accept our sadness, our grief and our anger instead of fighting it. We can find ways to move forward, to change, to learn and grow...that's living.
Say you are feeling down for example. First you are aware of the feeling and then comes the commentary "This is bad", "Will I never be free of this", "Everybody seems to be OK except me", "What on earth is wrong with me" and so forth. The feeling in itself isn't that bad, it's the 'story' around the feeling that robs us of our peace. It's that monkey mind that brings anxiety.
Finding inner peace is not about changing our thoughts, feelings or emotions (that would be an endless task), but rather about changing our relationship with the mind. What we understand, we become free of. Through understanding how suffering is created, we learn how to change it, we break free from the shackles of suffering. When we understand suffering it loses its control over us.
When we accept what is, we stop putting our energy into resisting the reality of it. We stop making a problem more powerful than it is. Instead, when we accept how things are then we can put our energy into moving forward rather than resistance. Here's the thing...it just is...whether we like it or not it is.
Now, accepting what is doesn’t mean to give up. It just means that you put yourself in a better position to take action, if necessary. Because now you can see more clearly, you can focus your energy towards what you want and take the appropriate action to change your situation.
By accepting what is it is much easier to let go of things and to forgive what has happened. Forgiveness is important because as long as you don’t forgive someone you are linked to that person. Your thoughts will return to the person who wronged you and what s/he did over and over again. When you forgive you do not only release the other person, you set yourself free, free from the suffering. Forgiveness of ourselves and forgiveness of others combined with the acceptance of this moment in life will bring peace.
Imagine someday when someone asks if you're okay you can say,
"I'm better than okay, I'm at peace, I'm real."