We all have different internal struggles that cause us stress and anxiety, making it difficult to find peace. Maybe it is worrying about self-image—our weight, the clothes we wear, our hair color, etc. Maybe it is concern over what others are thinking—did I say the wrong thing? Did I make that person mad? Or, maybe it is a burning desire for something “bigger” in life—career success, family, home, etc.
Don’t get me wrong, wanting things in life is a good source of motivation to make positive changes. But, when we are constantly wishing for something different, it is hard to ever feel content with what we have. It is difficult to experience real joy and peace if we are always thinking about what we don’t like or wish we could change.
This is why at Move Forward we encourage our counseling clients to shift their mindset—practice acceptance.
Learning Patience and Compassion
Think about it. It takes a lot of energy to be unhappy. It is stressful and exhausting to always be wishing or fighting for change or to be disappointed when things don’t go your way.
Instead, try practicing patience and compassion even if at the time you are feeling judgmental or ungrateful. Try paying attention to the little joys happening all around you. Focus on the good things happening in your life. When you are always wishing or hoping for more, you are missing all the things you already have.
In order to find peace and contentment, you have to be aware of what you already have. Take the time to focus on all the good — practice gratitude. There are always things to be thankful for—running water, happy healthy kids, a roof over your head, a job that pays the bills, family that is still in your life, loyal friends, the ability to walk, etc.
Stop and slow down. Take in all the things that are right in front of your eyes. If daily journaling or gratitude practice is not your thing, then try taking a few minutes one day to list things that make you happy. Keep that list handy so when you are having a rough day or moment you can reference it.
Accept Things As They Are
Acceptance is a learned skill. It takes some practice but once you become more aware you are better able to accept the things you cannot change.
If you find that you are frequently thinking negative thoughts about yourself, ask yourself where those thoughts are coming from. Are you comparing yourself to others? Are you jealous of another? If your thoughts aren’t coming from a place of self-compassion it may be time to reevaluate. Practice accepting yourself as you are. Embrace self-love. A licensed counselor can help point out unhelpful thought patterns and behaviors and guide you in acceptance.
Trust the Process
Patience is hard. We want to be successful and be successful now. We want the big house or the family now. We are frequently afraid we are missing out on things, causing us to make impulsive or rash decisions.
Instead, work on trusting the process. Trust that things will happen in time. Give yourself grace. Once you stop trying to rush to the next big thing you will notice that you already have everything you need. You will be able to find more peace and contentment.
Take the pressure off yourself. Breathe. Stop trying to control the next move and let things unfold on there own. You don’t have to have all the answers right now. Enjoy the moment. Be open to wherever life takes you.
Therapy Can Help
If you are struggling with finding peace in your life or changing your mindset, consider seeking help from a licensed mental health professional. At Move Forward our counselors regularly work with clients on self-love, compassion, and acceptance. We help clients in Williamsport, Harrisburg, Lancaster, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Gettsyburg, York, or anywhere in the state of Pennsylvania.
Ready to begin counseling in Pennsylvania?
Our professionally-trained and licensed counselors have online therapy appointments available. Just call our office at 717-462-7003×1 and speak to our administrative assistant to get started to feeling better. We are here for you. You can find peace and contentment.
Author: Alison Pidgeon, LPC
Alison is the Founder and CEO of Move Forward Counseling, a boutique private practice for women with three locations in Lancaster County, PA. She is passionate about reducing the stigma related to accessing mental health services. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.