Make Your Peace a Priority: The Hardest Part of Self-Care

It’s time to make your peace a priority. And no I don’t mean inserting daily meditation time into your already busy schedule, or finally signing up for that weekly yoga class all of your friends talk about. I mean focusing on YOUR peace and yours alone.

We all know the words “self-care”, it’s used as a marketing tool to sell face masks and jade rollers and gym memberships, but vital self-care is also difficult and ugly and painful.

Growing up, my dad would always say “never let anyone kill your peace”, it took me 21 years to truly learn what that means. For me, wearing earplugs when my old roommate would come back from clubbing at 3 am was what protecting my peace meant to me. I could sleep through the night without any interruptions, waking up refreshed the next morning with no negative feelings towards the fact that she had late night fun when I had early morning classes.

Making my peace a priority has been a lot harder than that. But it’s the most important thing I’ve ever done, and this is what it looks like.

Sometimes, prioritizing your peace means simply exiting a situation you’re uncomfortable with. Say you’re at a social gathering and somebody says something sexist but you don’t want to “cause a scene” by standing up for yourself. Instead of sitting in that situation, prioritizing your peace means leaving the room, even for a moment instead of sitting in that forced discomfort.

Other times, it can be more difficult. Maybe you have a group of lifelong friends and the connection feels strained and forced or sometimes your friends are unsupportive and shady. The hardest thing to do is leave a group you are uncomfortable with, but preserving your peace means leaving no matter how long the bond has existed. Time means nothing in comparison to your personal harmony.

Maybe you have a job that does not appreciate the extra time and work you put in. Each day you wake up stressed about having to go to a job that would replace you in an instant after you’re gone. This post is a sign to find a new place of employment that values your personhood.

Another way to prioritize your peace is to simply say “no”. If you are the sage among your loved ones, you may be constantly asked for help and advice. Soon other people’s problems become your own and you are stressed about situations that have nothing to do with you. Sometimes being selfish is the answer. It is okay to tell the people in your life “I can’t help with that, I have too much on my plate at the moment”.

The most difficult ways to preserve your personal harmony is in relationship to commitments. We have all been in situations when we bite off more than we can chew, causing us to panic while showering because we could be using that time to complete a task. Sometimes you may have to step down from projects, opportunities, and commitments because they are eating away at your personal wellbeing. Those tasks will always be there, and your self-care is far more important.

Your peace is more important than time, relationships and commitments. This has been one of the hardest, most important lessons I’ve ever had to learn, but it’s one that I’m glad I learned sooner rather than later.

Also published on Medium.