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3 Ways to Protect Your Peace

Updated: Nov 27, 2023

While I was recovering after my surgery, I took to Instagram to get some of my emotions out and explained my brain tumor like this:

I’m not quite sure how long the tumor was growing, and with all the chemicals that we are exposed to on a daily basis, I’m not quite sure what caused it. Although I’ll never know the answers, I can’t help but think that in some ways, I brought it on myself. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been a giver. I give and give and give and a lot of times I get nothing back in return.

Being a giver means that I allow people to take from me. I allow people to take my time and energy. I give advice to friends and people that I barely even know and I make their problems my own. While there’s nothing wrong with being a giving person and putting other people first, I can’t help but feel like every time I took on someone else’s issues, I fed that tumor.

When I listened to my friend talk for hours about her issues without getting even a second to share what was going on with me, it grew. When I didn’t mention the fact that I had been struggling with anxiety for months to friends or family because I knew they had “bigger” things going on, it grew. And, when I tossed and turned at night wondering how I could make others happy despite of what I wanted for myself and my own peace of mind, it grew even more. It grew and grew until it literally started to weigh on me, cause my brain to swell, cause me pain, and impact my health. It grew until God said, enough.

Metaphorically, I feel like learning about my tumor and subsequently having it removed represented the fact that I’ve got to stop taking on other people’s shit. Not that I’ll stop caring or being a good friend to those who deserve it, but with all the built up garbage that I took on for years and years out of my head, I have a clean slate. I plan to take full advantage of that clean slate by making protecting my peace my number 1 priority.

Protect Your Peace

Having that revelation just 3 weeks post-op really changed everything for me. It changed my whole perspective on not only my brain tumor and what God may have been trying to show me when he placed it in my path, but it also changed my perspective on self care. Self care is so much deeper than mani/pedis, massages, and adult coloring books. Self care is about establishing and maintaining inner peace, and while the typical self care activities can definitely be helpful, peace is so much bigger than doing something for yourself each week. Peace is a constant state of mind – a place that’s full of gratitude and free of anxiety, comparison, and negativity.

Now that I’m back on my feet, I’ve vowed to continue the practice of protecting my peace by any means necessary. Making your peace a priority isn’t something that just clicks over night. Just like any lifestyle change, it takes work and focus, but, recognizing that inner peace is the new success and choosing where your energy goes each day is the greatest act of self care possible. Just like everyone else, I’m still a work in progress, especially in this department, but these three things have helped me to protect my peace:

Set Boundaries

You can be a employee, a good family member, a good friend, and a good person and STILL say no. Setting boundaries with the people that I care about has always been hard for me, but what I’ve come to realize is that if I’m not willing to set boundaries, I may as well give up on the idea of peace. It’s OK to say no. It’s OK to make yourself unavailable. There is absolutely nothing wrong with having healthy boundaries that you simple won’t allow others to cross. Boundaries mean different things to different people, so yours and mine may look nothing alike. That’s OK too! What matters is that you determine what you can and cannot take on and stand firm.

Make Your Space a Sanctuary

No matter how much we prioritize peace, life happens, and stressful times will arise. Having a place of refuge makes such a difference on those days when you’re not in the right frame of mind, have over extended yourself, or have allowed negativity to penetrate your thoughts. Fill your home and office with things that make you feel centered, whether that be freshly cut flowers, inspirational quotes, or smells that relax you. Smells are really important to me, and I’ve discovered that the simple scent of lavender can bring my peace back whenever the outside world tries to steal it.

Eliminate Toxic Energy

A social media friend of mine said it best, “Sometimes peace comes at a price. You may have to lose things or people or make tough decisions. But trust that you’re doing what’s best for you and you are one step closer to peace, which equals freedom.” Peace isn’t free and it requires that you eliminate anything or anyone who is toxic from your life. That TV show that give you bad dreams – stop watching it. That friend who’s life stresses you out – scale back how often you talk to her or don’t talk to her at all. That person on Instagram who makes you hate your body – unfollow them. Peace and toxic energy cannot coexist, so you have to make some tough choices and get rid of anything or anyone in your life that does not serve or respect your goal.

How to Protect Your Peace

Peace is truly a beautiful thing and, for me, it’s the ultimate goal. Unfortunately, in this day and age, when we’re more accessible than ever before at any given moment, it’s something that’s fleeting. Therefore, it’s something that should be protected. Fight for your peace. Prioritize it above all else. Inner peace, after all, is worth more than all the luxuries in the world.

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