“Nobody can hurt me without my permission.” – Mahatma Gandhi
I was searching for quotes about peace and contentment when I came across this one from Gandhi. It resonated with other little pieces of self-help advice that I have written about in the past. I think we all seek peace and contentment in our lives, although most of us spend time looking in the wrong places. Then, just as we may have achieved some measure of both in our lives, we give someone else permission to hurt us. We take offense and something that they’ve said or done or we react to some slight or slur (real or imagined) and fall back out of our state of contentment. Gandhi’s advice rings true in those moments. We have invited this external influence into our sanctuary and allowed it to tarnish our contentment or destroy our peace. Don’t give permission.
Ralph Waldo Emerson was on the same page as Gandhi when he said – “Nothing external to you has any power over you.” Emerson was referring to the fact that you control how you react to all things external to you. If someone says something hateful to you, or about you; how do you react? Do you let it hurt you or is your reaction to feel sorry that they are in such a state of mind that they feel the need to lash out at you. Do you shrink back in offense or offer your help and prayers to them? After all they haven’t really done anything to you, if you didn’t let them do it; but, they have exposed an ugly side of themselves for others to see. They can’t hurt you if you don’t give permission.
Finally, being at peace means being comfortable with yourself, liking yourself and being confident in yourself. Sanaya Roman put it this way – “Having inner peace means committing to letting go of self-criticism and self-doubt.” So, in addition to the things and people outside that might be trying to upset your contentment; one must believe in yourself. I wrote about that in a post – https://normsmilfordblog.com/2014/07/31/first-believe-in-yourself/ and I also advised against beating yourself up. What good does it do you to spend time on self-criticism and slef-doubt. Rather you shouls spend that time on self-improvement. Learn from any mistakes and move on, don’t wallow in self-recrimination and guilt. Even for your own thoughts, don’t give permission.
So, resolve today that you will withhold permission for the actions and words of others to hurt you. Focus instead on how you can offer them help that they may need to get to the place of peace and contentment that you enjoy. I’ve noted here in past posts that the local Methodist pastor Doug McMunn often uses a wonderful little retort when he encounters someone who needs help regaining control. He will just say, “be at peace.” Doug always seems to be at peace and to ready to help other, I suspect because he makes a daily effort to stay ther and when he encounters situations that might otherwise be inflammatory he doesn’t give permission for those things or comments to invade and destroy his inner peace.
Be at peace this coming week; and when things try to get to you; remember that they cannot hurt you if you don’t give permission.