I was plagued with anxiety before, during, and after I decided to separate and divorce in early 2017. It was as if the person driving, working, living, and caring for my children was not me. My body was moving, but I was not in control. I was present but merely a bystander in Yengyee's life. Modern psychology will call this disassociation, and a Hmong Shaman may say, "nws raug dab" (possessed by an evil spirit) or "nws tus ntsuj plig tsis nyob lawm" (her soul is no longer with her). I would say to some degree both views will be accurate.
I did disassociate, and my spirit was not an active participant in my daily activities. It was how I coped with coming to my decision and the pain within me. It was my survival. If I could separate myself from the pain, my physical body could live. I needed to live on for my children and the mere fact that surviving is the only thing I know to be of dignity. I needed to keep the very last of my pride.
I will not go into the details of overcoming my challenges and living with anxiety as that is in my book, but I want to share how I attained inner peace and happiness and how you can as well. No matter what you are going through, if you work hard on all these three strategies consistently, you will achieve inner peace and happiness.
Step One: Acknowledge yourself.
The first step is the acknowledgment of your present self. This recognition requires complete and utter ruthless honesty. It requires you to look at the good and evil in yourself, your white lies, blatant lies, and the cold hard facts. It is ugly, painful, raw, and it is beautiful, durable, and resilient. It is acknowledging what people say about you that is true. It is your mistakes and your wins. It is not making excuses for any of the parts of you and the factual information that characterizes you.
There are many ways to come to acknowledge yourself. 1) Ask others (friends, family, colleagues, and bosses) for honest feedback about you and your behaviors. 2) The daily practice of self-reflection. What did I do right? What can I improve? How was my reaction? How would I rate today? What would I change about today? 3) Get a personality assessment done by a certified Practitioner.
Step Two: Love Yourself.
After acknowledging yourself for who you are, start loving yourself. Love yourself for who you are, even if you are a beautiful mess at the moment. You are returning to yourself, and you should be proud and happy to meet her/him again. To love oneself is to take full responsibility for who you are. It is not writing the wrongs you have made or glorifying yourself. It is accepting you in your completeness. To love yourself is also to forgive yourself for losing yourself along the journey of life. It is self-compassion. It recognizes the human in you.
Lastly, to love yourself is to change what is not you and the behaviors that are not in alignment with who you are and want to be. To love yourself is to act and show change behaviors and thoughts that are self-loving. Love is not only a feeling but a way of being and doing. If your lover did not show you he/she loved you; eventually you would fall out of love with that person or see that they are lying. Yourself would know if you truly loved you.
Step Three: Fill Your Peace and Happiness Meter
Your peace and happiness meter can be filled in conjunction with the first two steps but cannot be achieved without them. If you do not accept and love yourself, you will not be able to find peace. You may feel peaceful and happy, but it will be temporary. True peace and happiness come from acceptance and self-love. It is a complete alignment between the head, heart, and soul.
What can you do to fill yourself with peace and happiness? Practice being alone and enjoying your own company. Get out into nature and sit with it. Observe how the birds, trees, ants, grass, rocks, animals, and people connect in the circle of life.
Practice small daily acts that bring serenity such as reading a book, exercising, meditation, putting on makeup, wearing clothes that make you feel good, doing your hair, riding a bike, spending time with friends, spending time alone, take yourself on a date, buy yourself something beautiful, or any activity that increase your energy. You can measure your peace and happiness by how much energy you have.
May you all find inner peace and happiness!I