I often hear people talk about “protecting your peace.” I know it sounds cool to say. But some people are thinking about it all wrong.
Take for example a recent post from Trent Shelton:
My biggest issue is the part, “I’m not dealing with it at all.”
Really? At all?
We’re creating a culture of people who cannot communicate or work through difficult situations. We would rather cut people off to “protect our peace” than communicate.
Newsflash: you are responsible for your thoughts, feelings, actions, and how you interpret situations. Only YOU can decide to let your peace be disrupted.
This anti-communication trend is amplifying cut off culture. Trent Shelton is a relationship influencer and his advice to you is to avoid the challenging work on building the skills you need for any healthy relationship.
Let that sink in.
You have more power over your thoughts and feelings than you give yourself credit for. And it’s time you stop giving that power away.
How to Really Protect Your Peace
Take Ownership of Your Peace
The real way to protect your peace is to learn how to manage your mind. You have to look at peace as something you learn how to cultivate, despite what is going on around you.
It’s easy to cultivate inner peace when we’re alone meditating. It’s a lot harder to feel inner peace when interacting with other people. Regardless, we have to take ownership of that responsibility.
We have to practice not letting our thoughts about the behavior of others stir up negative emotions.
Furthermore, there will be times when cutting people off or spending less time around “toxic” people is the answer. However, this cannot always be your first line of defense. Instead, learn how to manage your mind around other people.
That being said, this is easier said than done — but totally worth mastering. The better you get at it, the more fulfilled you’ll be in all your relationships and the easier it will be to cultivate inner peace.
Understand your Triggers
Start to learn what sets off lack of peace, fear, worry or anxiety in your life. When you begin to feel stress or negative emotions rising in your body, stop to analyze why you are feeling a certain way and what caused it. Most of the time, these patterns are defense mechanisms we learned in childhood and carried into adulthood.
If certain situations in your relationship cause an emotional response, you have to understand where the initial trigger comes from so you can address it.
How can you create empowering thoughts about that trigger instead?
Having awareness about these patterns and triggers will give you the power to overcome them. Otherwise, they will control you.
There are things you should not and do not have to allow into your life. Such as abuse, racism, and sexism. So yes, you need to have those important boundaries that are not about changing the behavior of another person, but about what you will do if that behavior occurs.
An example would be, if “X” occurs, I will get up and leave. In this case, leaving a situation or avoiding a toxic person is the best response.
Build emotional intelligence.
Emotional intelligence is the ability to manage, and effectively express your feelings, as well as engage with the feelings of others.
Many people just react to another person’s behavior without stepping back and thinking about the behavior that just took place. Part of building our emotional intelligence requires us to stop and think before we act versus having knee-jerk emotional reactions.
Don’t Take it Personally
In the classic personal development book The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, the second agreement is “Don’t take anything personally.”
Even when a situation seems so personal, even if others insult you directly, it has nothing to do with you. What they say, what they do, and the opinions they give are according to the agreements they have in their own minds
Ruiz also says that taking things personally is the maximum expression of selfishness because you make the assumption that everything is about you. Check out my podcast EP32: Don’t Take it Personally for more actionable advice about not taking things personally.
It’s liberating and when you learn how to do this. As a result, you take control of your peace.
Wrapping Up the Series
Thank you for allowing me the space to share my thoughts in this series.
The longest study ever conducted confirms that the quality of our relationships is one of the most important factors in determining our overall fulfillment and health.
I only want to see people happy. I believe the best way of doing that is taking ownership of what we can control — ourselves.