Reach Peace, Teach Peace | THEME: PEACE CONSCIOUSNESS MONTH

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September 30, 2022

Writers: Abby Alvarado
Researcher: Abby Alvarado
Editor: Rafael Reyes, Richardson dR Mojica
Peer Reviewer: Alvin Joseph Mapoy
Graphics: Sarah Mondoy 
Tweetchat Moderators: Marc John Paul Agbuya, Marian Lorrice Apostol, Llyssa Jane Fincale
Spaces Moderators: Lem Gallogo, Bill Fuentes, Richardson dR Mojica

Peacebuilding, aside from being a solace in the chaos, can also be beneficial in strengthening one’s personal boundaries and finding happiness.

(RE)BUILDING PEACE

Amidst the darkness of war and violence, the warm embrace of peace is what people seek. We have known war from history books, and sympathized with the victims of warfare through photographs and words, but we never thought for it to occur on the present pages, bugging the peace that we are maintaining in our country and in ourselves. Peacebuilding, aside from being a solace in the chaos, can also be beneficial in strengthening one’s personal boundaries and finding happiness.

As cliche as it sounds, no man is an island. Other people can influence our thoughts and actions no matter how hard we try to resist. The everyday struggle of dealing with life is something that could clutter our minds and bring us stress, from being late for work, getting low grades in a test after pulling an all-nighter, to giving the hundredth relationship advice to your persistent friend.  But we should face the fact that life’s hardships are unavoidable, and finding inner peace won’t make them go away. Building peace is necessary as it can help you maintain your composure in the face of stress by easing feelings of anxiety and worries [2]. Keeping a calm and relaxed outlook on life can make it so you can course through life’s frequent stormy waves and come out stronger.

It has been the lifelong mission of humans to find tranquility in life and achieve happiness. Yet people define peace relatively. There is a misconception that peace only exists if one is free of problems [2]. Rather, peacebuilding is what helps you get from A to B despite the obstacles along the way. 

For peace to be built, there is a need to empower the people’s voices, repair broken relationships, and reform the institutions to facilitate peace better. Understanding and dealing with the root cause of the conflict, not just the symptoms, is the key to moving things forward [5]. Treating only the symptoms means conflicts remain unresolved, and violence will likely recur [5]. But talking about traumatic events is easier said than done. Rebuilding peace is full of advances and setbacks, but making progress is the most important step. 

Although building your own peace sounds like a difficult task, there are several practices that can assist you through the journey [2]: 

  1. Accept what you can’t change and control 
  2. Practice Forgiveness
  3. Practice mindfulness meditation
  4. Make time for yourself
  5. Keep a journal
  6. Connect to nature

Focusing on a goal during your most miserable state can be difficult; however, considering these steps anytime and anywhere can help you get started. 

MAINTAINING PEACE

Building peace is already hard as it is, and maintaining it can be much more difficult. The thing with life is that we are not always in control. There will always be unwanted instances that could trigger cracks in the peace we worked hard to rebuild, and there is no way to avoid that. Life comes with waves, and all that we can do is surf through it. 

Solitude plays a big role in preserving one’s peace. Practicing solitude helps us tune into a much calmer state of mind and experience inner peace [6]. In order to protect your peace, you don’t necessarily have to gatekeep yourself from the world [7]. You can do so by being aware of your triggers, being mindful of the things and people who bring you down, and limiting your exposure to them. You’re allowed to say “no” to the things that make you uncomfortable, and you have the right to stand up for yourself in times of pressure [7]. Peace can also be protected through finding things that spark joy and keeping them in your life.

However, maintaining inner peace requires sacrifice. This means not being afraid to walk away and letting go of the things that stir conflict is imperative to preserving your peace. This might even involve cutting off an old friend or a relative and breaking up a relationship that is not mentally healthy for you. It is a matter of sacrificing your triggers or sacrificing your peace. When determining which to choose between peace and conflict, it is best to assume that nothing is worth giving up your peace for [8].

Despite all the efforts to maintain your peace, the bitter fact is there are times that everything might crumble once again. All that we can do is to take a deep breath and start rebuilding what was broken, just like what we did a hundred times before. As that one Ben & Ben song goes, all will be alright in time. 

RESPECTING PEACE

Maintaining your peace is important, but respecting others’ peace is just as crucial. Not being at peace with yourself can affect how you treat the people around you. The negative emotions it entails can be passed to people near you by just a simple interaction, and the people affected can do the same to others. Benjamin Kaplan, a physician at Orlando Health, notes that this loop can be challenging to break; as you become more stressed, you generate hormones that stimulate those around you as well [9].

Stress is contagious. It can be transmitted secondhand through touch, odor, frequency of the voice, and facial expressions [9]. Just like secondhand smoking, the secondhand stress acquired by people who interact with someone who does not have mental peace can also bring danger. But also like secondhand smoking, secondhand stress can be avoided through various efforts [9].

The most effective way of showing respect for other people’s peace is to respect their boundaries. It is possible that your presence in someone’s life brings them stress, and it is important to accept that they have the right to cut you off from their lives. Being fixated on how others might want to burn bridges can be deeply upsetting, but understanding and keeping distance is the best way to respect the other person’s peace until they are ready to talk about their problems. 

Amidst the frantic noises in the world, the embrace of peace is what we need. Being at peace with yourself helps others achieve theirs as well. Goodness starts from within. 

If you or someone you know needs mental health consultation, kindly refer to our directory for mental health facilities, services, and organizations around the Philippines: https://mentalhealthph.org/directory/

 

Pre-session Activity:

  • 4 Pics, 1 Word, with “PEACEFUL” as the word

Guide Questions:

  • When was the last time you felt peaceful?
  • How do you respect others’ peace?
  • What do we need to build and maintain peace in our institutions?

Post-session Questions:

  • What does “PEACEFUL” mean to you?

References:

  1. National Today. (2022). National Peace Consciousness Month. https://nationaltoday.com/national-peace-consciousness-month/#:~:text=National%20Peace%20Consciousness%20Month%20%E2%80%93%20September%202022&text=National%20Peace%20Consciousness%20Month%20in,peace%20in%20the%20Filipino%20people
  2. Raypole, C. (August 2021). How to find peace of mind?. https://psychcentral.com/blog/how-to-achieve-peace-of-mind#forgive
  3. Conciliation Resources. (December 2015). Why is peace more important than ever?. https://www.c-r.org/news-and-insight/why-peace-more-important-ever
  4. Conciliation Resources. (October 2011). What is peacebuilding?. https://www.c-r.org/who-we-are/why-peacebuilding/what-peacebuilding
  5. Vernon, P. (January 2018). The root causes of what? How root cause analysis can get in the way of peacebuilding. https://philvernon.net/2018/01/23/the-root-causes-of-what-how-root-causes-analysis-can-get-in-the-way-of-peacebuilding/
  6. NUS University Health Center. (September 2022). Spend Quality Time Alone and Find Inner Peace.  https://www.nus.edu.sg/uhc/resources/articles/details/spend-quality-time-alone-and-find-inner-peace#:~:text=Practising%20solitude%20enables%20us%20to,energies%20towards%20creativity%20and%20productivity
  7. Crespo, R. (May 2022). 17 ways to protect your peace. https://www.minimalismmadesimple.com/home/protect-your-peace/
  8. Fronsdal, G. (n.d). Peace and Its Sacrifice. https://www.insightmeditationcenter.org/books-articles/peace-and-its-sacrifice/
  9. Kaplan, B. (April 2015). Secondhand stress: how people around you can increase your anxiety. https://www.orlandohealth.com/content-hub/secondhand-stress-how-people-around-you-can-increase-your-anxiety

 

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