woman smiling with umbrella

We’re so hard on ourselves.

Here are a few things I’ve heard — from friends, family, my inner thoughts, articles, you name it:

I’m not getting outside enough these days.

I wish I had a partner during these tough times.

I’m drinking too much.

I wish I had more friends.

And so on.

These statements are all versions of “I’m not good enough.” And it’s heartbreaking. Where did we get the idea that we’re not good enough, if we don’t do abc, don’t have xyz, and slip up, every now and then?

We’re human, and we will slip up. We will lack certain things that others have. We will wish for more. And all of that is okay. So we deserve to be okay.

There is no such thing as perfect balance. There will be times when we’re excelling in our careers, but our relationships could use some love.

Other times, we’ll have a plethora of people in our lives, only to realize we’ve been neglecting ourselves. We may say the wrong things, spend time with the wrong people, and overindulge.

And through the twists and turns life takes us through, it is so important to find peace within ourselves. That is a constant that will carry us through tough times.

But how to find inner peace? Not the fleeting kind you feel when you’re doing yoga or getting a massage, but the kind that lasts?

Step 1: Give Yourself a Break

One of the keys is giving yourself a break.

I have this theory that our inner souls lash out at us when we’re too hard on ourselves. When we put too much weight on our backs. When we demand perfection of ourselves and those around us.

And that’s when we start to “slip.” To face our humanity.

We may be doing so well with one of our goals, leaving little time for the others. There are only so many hours in a day. Only so much mental and emotional energy we can spare.

Acknowledging we have finite resources — and we must choose what is most important to us — is step one to finding inner peace. We need not do it all. We need not be everything.

Step 2: Release Yourself From Others’ Judgment

The second step? Rid yourself of the weight of others’ judgment. And by judgment, I mean those opinions that come from a place of negativity or scorn.

So long as you’re treating others with kindness, staying true to yourself, and doing the best you can, that is all others can ask for.

You were given the ultimate gift of life, and that gift remains yours. You can share the gift of your life — your time spent here on earth — however, and with whomever, you’d like.

You get to choose whose opinions matter. Who you value and support. Who you feel is here to give you the same.

We’re all trying our best. And when we fail to rise to our own standards, that is tough enough! Let’s not make it tougher by accepting unnecessary negativity into our lives.

There is so much positivity and love to share in this world. Focus on that, and you’ll find inner peace.

Step 3: Find Something That Ignites Your Spark

A lot of things make my soul happy. Chief among them is writing. When I write, I feel at peace. Even if the writing is bad. Even if there’s no point to it.

I’ve always felt this, and whenever I need to feel at peace, I turn to a blank page. What do you turn to?

If you’re not sure, I get it! There are a million paths you can take in this life. It can even be overwhelming. But in that same overwhelm is an undeniable beauty. The beauty of freedom.

There are so many things that can ignite your spark, and provide that sense of inner peace. You can turn to loved ones, new places and experiences, hobbies you’re passionate about . . . the options are endless.

But they’re yours for the taking. You need only the courage to take them.

We all have that courage. And so long as we’re kind to ourselves, accepting of others, and steadfast in the pursuit of our dreams, we will find inner peace.