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Front Page » October 19, 2004 » Opinion » Finding peace of mind
Published 3,567 days ago

Finding peace of mind


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By KEN LARSON
Sun Advocate publisher

Most human beings have points in their lives where they cannot be pushed beyond without losing emotional balance. We are all different and most of us are around people all day. I have seen some people troubled through 10 or 20 years of their lives, and then all of a sudden, one day, one crisis pushes them over the edge and they begin to come unraveled. I have also seen others who get pushed over the line by a simple incident or problem. There are also those who go through life, handling each thing as it happens and staying calm and steady through some very difficult situations. On top of that they truly appear to be happy.

I have often wondered what causes one person to be pushed off balance more easily than someone else. There are certain times of the year that things begin to pile up in my life and during these periods I have to think things through and carefully prioritize everything.

When we say "peace of mind" that's what we really mean, inner stability. It takes an awful lot to push stable people off their balance. I think this depends a great deal upon the kind of parents that we were given in the first place. Infancy and childhood can be full of emotional struggles, frustrations, conflicts and fears. I grew up in this kind of environment and it took 20 years of adulthood (and a lot of therapy) to help change my thinking. My early adult life is definitely affected by the number and kinds of struggles I had to face in my infancy and childhood.

What I have learned is that it's not the struggles that cause the problems, it's my reactions to these experiences of life.

I have found that every single bit of behavior is directed toward fulfilling some important need such as something to do, someone to love or something to hope for. If we could always have complete fulfillment in one of these three areas I doubt if I would ever break down. However who could expect, let alone hope for, a life of complete fulfillment?

Since frustration exists for everyone, why do some people have nervous breakdowns, go insane, live miserable lives, rely on drugs or alcohol, while others go merrily through life?

The secret I have come to believe is not learning to solve any one individual problem, but to reinforce my stability (mostly inside) to such a degree that I am able to face the problems that come my way, no matter what they may be, without going to pieces.

These problems help shape our personalities and build our attitudes.

The biggest lesson I have learned is that there are no big deals. But here are a few things that cross my mind as I think of how my personality has been reshaped as I grow older.

I try never to be a slave to anxiety and fear. This is the greatest destroyer of happiness. We cause anxiety. It is our thinking that does it. What we think about grows and expands, so if we think sad and overwhelmed, we usually find ourselves sad and overwhelmed. I have heard that every person who has a nervous breakdown struggles with fear. Fear tortures the mind, kills the appetite, destroys health and ruins lives.

To be happy I must think happy. There are people who decorate the rooms of their minds with awful skeletons or ghosts of yesterday. I have them too and if I were to deal with the neglect and abuse of my childhood I would still live in the fear of that home. However, I have learned how to decorate my mind today with nicer thoughts, brighter wallpaper and more pleasant surroundings.

Enjoy yourself. One thing is that we are all truly equal. We all get the same 24 hours a day. The richest people don't get any more or any less. I have found that no matter what looms ahead, if I can eat today, enjoy the sunlight or the rain today, mix in a bit of good cheer with friends just for today, then I am today.

Sanity is difficult to preserve unless I have a strength deep within me. This strength can be achieved. I remind myself that its not so much what happens to me that makes me what I am, its how I take it.

And finally the sunshine of the soul is laughter. Some peoples' problems appear insurmountable. But I truly believe that once I understand that every problem has a solution and it often takes a sense of humor to help find the solutions.

Looking for peace of mind? Look inside.


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