With everything going on in the world—a global pandemic and the ongoing fight for equality that feels like a freaking apocalypse hit followed by a self-imposed war— well, it’s quite challenging to find any level of peaceful living amid what looks and feels like total chaos. But I am here to tell you your peace is within reach, and I promise you can find it. You actually never lost it, you just forgot. Let’s talk about rediscovering it for yourself and others.
Addressing Commiseration & Creating Peace in Chaos
Last night I had a conversation with some friends that made me ponder how we as human beings have a tendency to commiserate and complain — a lot. And there’s a justification for that in human nature. A commiseration is actually a form of processing, of self-reflection and ultimately creates a connection with another person. We tend to do it all the time because we as humans crave connection as one of the most social species on the earth. Without it, loneliness, disease, depression, risk of suicide are all prevalent. Sadly much of which has continued to rise in our society. As human beings, we have to find a connection to survive, and unfortunately commiserating has become a habit in our culture that is not sustainable and doesn’t actually do the trick in a healthy way.
We’ve found that this habit bonds us in so many ways, and it does serve a purpose. Yet, it keeps us in a space of unfulfilled striving and surviving instead of satisfying thriving. I’m certified in positive psychology and the science of happiness, and commiseration is a thing we address often that blocks us from finding true happiness and wellbeing. It’s a common practice for us humans, and it can make us feel better. It does help us process and make sense of things we don’t initially understand by speaking it out loud with others. But if you go too far within that commiseration, it can destroy you and maybe destroying us as a human race if we don’t catch it before it’s too late.
Venting with friends every time something goes wrong or something bad happens in the world or in your personal life is simply not sustainable nor healthy in the long run. It will NOT help you find your peace nor solve your life challenges alone.
Often the root of commiseration is about the belief that we are actually separate from each other. This belief is so unfortunate and simply not true. We are one. More, more, better, better thinking creates this separateness, increased levels of competition, and an egoic need to judge others in comparison to ourselves to find our worth.
We are in a space of what I like to call compare despair. And we do that to better understand who we are and where we fit in the world, along with the need for clarification to validate why we feel the way we feel, by looking to see how others feel the way they feel. And as long as we’re in that space of compare despair, we continue to keep that separateness and we continue to feel unsatisfied. This feeling of dissatisfaction is even more present in the midst of so much change and societal chaos.
“Great minds discuss ideas,” Eleanor Roosevelt said, “Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.”
This separateness is magnified anytime you find yourself commiserating to a point where you are judging another person, talking negatively about them, and getting lost in that negativity. A negative judging mindset will only serve for a short time before it takes its heavy toll. I beg of you to question your intent. Reflect on your need for complaining. Sure, it may feel good to vent and let it all out at first. But once it is out there, the question becomes what do you want to do about it? Look at your opinions, your judgments, your frustrations, and fears, and ask yourself, how is this way of seeing the world serving me? What can I do about this to change it?
How to Embody Peace Now, Despite the Chaos
So what can you do right now to help insert more peace in a world filled with chaotic and scary events like most of 2020, right? How can you insert positivity and hope where it seems nonexistent?
One way you can intentionally take action and find peace without even leaving your home is to incorporate peace in the way you interact with your language. What do I mean by that? Are you a negative Ned or complaining Cate or self-disparaging Dan? Begin observing your language and how you talk to others, talk to yourself, what you post on social media, how you answer the question “how are you?”, etc. Are you expressing peace and calm or drama and frustration? Why does this matter?
Like energy attracts like energy.
Speak peace into your life and into the lives of your loved ones and peace comes back to you. Attract more of what you want to see and experience in your life and the world beginning with what you say and why you say it. Choose language and rhetoric that is supportive and growth-minded instead of dramatic and trauma centered. Try calling someone up and offering them support and a listening ear as opposed to only venting about what’s not going well in the world or even your own recent dramas. Let them know that you have their back and that they can always turn to you in times of chaos. This generous act in and of itself has a positive ripple effect on the world and most powerfully on your own way of being in the world. You will feel better.
The best thing you can do is become an instrument for change by being the change you want to see in the world. Yeah, I know, you’ve heard it a million times, but imagine with every action, reaction, and interaction you take, you are part of that reconnection away from separation. Embody the change! Reconnect the human race!
The most significant signs you will begin to notice when you begin practicing this shift will be felt in your own body. Somatically our bodies are talking to us all the time. If you are in a story of drama, you will find your body tense, contracted, fatigued, and possibly ripe for injury and illness. Look at your fists. Check out how you are standing. This energy won’t serve you in the long run but only creates more shots of the stress hormone cortisol into your body. And, if this is a motivating thought to change, consider that it is often repelling what it is you actually crave and want in life.
When you find your body at ease, relaxed, and calm, you are on the more positive, sustainable track of embodying peace and attracting more of what you want into your life. Feel the difference? Look at your hands, your way of standing, and even the expressions on your face when you are in a story of hope and positivity. This is a life by design. Allowing yourself to be at ease doesn’t mean you can’t be upset or angry, it just means you’re more likely to find collaborative solutions and attract the peace you crave from those around you.
The Steps to Finding Your Peace in Chaos
“It’s horrible, scary, terrible, F%*;d up,” you might say to a friend after watching the nightly news. And it is. I’m not saying that it’s not. But after you get that out—because there is value in that anger and frustration, as there is value in all—here’s your chance to practice the techniques. It’s not that we go to that place of anger and frustration; it’s how long we stay there and what do we now want to do about it to make the world, your life, your experience, better?
So don’t just leave that venting conversation immediately, because you’re likely to feel like crap after dwelling on only the negative aspects of the world with no resolve. You’ve been there, done that. We all have. Pause and notice where commiseration can create a connected opportunity that can help you and your friends/family turn despair into action. Ask yourself: How can I move forward with this knowledge? How can I now embody a different way of being? How can I use this to find peace?
My favorite self-care practice is to take the drama and trauma and sit with it first and then ask for my intuition to lead me. Sit in meditation, in prayer if you are led to. What answers do you get? Sign a petition? Make a donation? Join a group? Do it. But do not waste one more ounce of frustration complaining and yelling and reposting the negativity. Because every time you do that, you manifest more of all the awful. Maybe you’d like to go and love everyone in your family to connect with them. Maybe there’s someone you can reach out to. In doing this, you are actually solving the world’s problems by reconnecting in a manner that ripples energetically and affects the whole world for the better. Share peace!
Sharing Your Peace Among Chaos
We like to feel like we’re one with what’s happening and connected to everybody but we often act separately in our attempt. Well, guess what. We are one! So drop the compare despair and step away from the fighting! If you can find the peace and joy and love that is within yourself and actually pause long enough to choose to stop seeing your neighbor, the stranger, the immigrant, the diverse colleague as separate from yourself then you are changing the world. You are fixing the problem you so often vent about. You are helping to educate by embodying that way of being that is peace. That is part of living a life by design. That is the human journey. That is being the change.
Please repost this, and if you know someone who is stuck in the arguments and the fights and the complaining, ask them, “What would peace do right now? What would you love to do? What would calm do? How can I support you to find peace around this topic?”
Pick up these conversation starters. Take a breath. If you have to go renew yourself, go check out the view, then come back into it. Do what you need to do. This is the shift. You’re doing a great job! You’re right where you’re supposed to be. And what if we thought about it this way: This explosion of chaos is necessary for us all to wake up. We’re talking about consciousness. Thanks for waking up with me.