One day, while driving alone in my car, I caught myself turning down the radio because it was interfering with the conversation I was having in my own head. The simple turn of a radio knob was all I needed to realize it was time to realign my priorities and find a way to calm the chaotic inner state I was unintentionally harboring. It's been over a year since that day, and with a conscious daily effort (some days being more successful than others) I have squashed the chatter and have gained a renewed sense of self, and a greater state tranquility.
The following steps encompass values and traits that you too can foster to help achieve this goal.
1. Live with intention.
Make your actions matter. Living with intention simply means to be mindful that your actions are purposeful with forward movement that can lead to positive results.
2. Live with authenticity.
Living with authenticity is to not let others define you. Don't worry about "fitting in" or being judged. Resist bowing down to superficial external pressures. When who you are, is in conflict with who others expect you to be, you are on a direct path to depression, anxiety and unhappiness. If you are always pleasing others, you are most likely neglecting yourself. Listen to your inner voice, notice what makes you smile, what is it about that moment that grabs your attention? Remain true to yourself by acknowledging and utilizing your unique gifts throughout your life.
3. Shed your expectations of others.
News flash: You are not entitled to anything and no one owes you anything. Furthermore, people will not always treat you the way you would treat them. People are flawed, but flaws are pathways to growth and character so embrace them. Do not let the negative behavior of others, negatively impact yours. Always choose love, even when it's the harder choice.
4. Practice empathy.
If it doesn't come naturally to you, work to develop it. Step out of yourself and imagine what another person's situation would be like from their perspective. Think about the challenges they are facing. Even if someone else's struggles seem trite to you, they may very well be a painful burden to them. Acknowledging another's emotional state is a simple gift of validation we can give often and freely, and giving is a step to greater personal happiness and inner peace.
Forgiveness is a gift you can give to yourself. You deserve to be free of the weight of resentment and anger. You won't forget. There is a lesson to be learned when others hurt you, and that lesson will subconsciously become part of your protective instincts.
6. Foster creativity.
Always look at life with the wide-eyed wonderment of a child. Observe, question and re-imagine the way things can be. Our unique thoughts and expressions are accomplishments to be proud of and pursued with passion.
7. Let it go.
Don't obsess, over think, or keep reliving situations looking for an answers you may never find. It is a complete waste of precious time and energy. The "why" of something doesn't change the end result, and the result is what your are left to deal with. When there is no obvious lesson to be learned, the "why" becomes irrelevant. Learn to accept when you can't understand and move on.
8. Don't abandon your dreams.
It's okay to temporarily put them on the back burner when life tells you it has other plans. Just keep your ideas simmering in that creative "gray zone" and plan to take action when the time better presents itself. Until then, focus on things to be grateful for now, and look for things that you can do to help others. There is no peace living in a constant state of worry about trying to achieve something. Take a break if you have to, then come back to pursue your dreams with a renewed sense of passion.
Change is hard and it requires a consistent effort. Sometimes we cling too tightly to the familiar, even if it's an unhealthy state. With that in mind, desire and strength can lead to action. When you are ready, act, do so with intention.