"Until you make peace with who you are, you'll never be content with what you have."
Lately, I've been doing a lot of listening. It's my job now. It's my job to help children learn to cope with sadness and anger, and to help their parents relate to their children. It's my job to help parents realize they should not to expect their children to act like tiny adults, and how to teach responsibility that is at their age level. It's my job to connect these families with services that might help make their lives a bit better.
One thing I've heard lately is the struggle of financial stressors. Many have expressed their thoughts of this situation. Many feel that if their financial stress would lessen, they could control their other life issues. They would be more willing to work with their children, more willing to speak instead of yell at their spouse, more willing to bond together as a family. It is difficult to explain that they must reverse that mindset, and to make peace with who they are.
I have seen families with low income and minimal material belongings that couldn't be happier with their lives. They know who they are, they have their faith, and they have the peace within their hearts of what truly matters. And on the other end of the spectrum, I've seen families with high income and many material belongings that are not happy with their lives. It is easy to try to fill a void with material belongings, only to realize that the void is still there. People look out into the world instead of looking within to find happiness.
I have also found this to be true in relationships. Many attempt to find their contentment within someone else, and continue to find disappointment. It is difficult to have a healthy relationship with another individual when you do not have peace within your own heart. You cannot expect changes in a relationship until you begin to make changes yourself. You can only change yourself. We cannot expect anyone else to do this for us, nor can we attempt to do this for anyone else. It must come from within.
For 2010, I hope that we can all continue to find more peace within ourselves, so that we can be reminded everyday of how blessed we are. I've learned over the past few weeks that you cannot change anyone's priorities, no matter how out of line those priorities may seem. If we can continue to grow the peace within ourselves, we allow our contentment with what we have. For me, it is to continue to grow with the peace that God always lives in my heart. For you, it may be something different. I hope that you find, or have found, what makes the peace within yourself to be content today.