To many people, inner peace sounds like something only monks or yogis can achieve.
Heck, I used to think the same. But recently on a vacation in a small Spanish beach town, I met an elderly woman who proved that misconception wrong.
She exuded such a pure sense of peace and happiness. I had the pleasure of talking to her about her life experiences and how she got to this point.
Interestingly, rather than speaking about things like success or her lovely environment, she mentioned certain things she gradually cut out of her life.
And now we can all learn from her. Ready to find out what you should say no to in order to find true inner peace?
Just keep reading.
1) Negative self-talk
One of the first things the wise elderly lady mentioned was negative self-talk, and how harmful it can be.
It surprised me, because it’s a fairly modern concept that’s only recently gaining popularity.
But this lady said she learned from her own experience how important the way we talk to ourselves is for our wellbeing.
Because of the way she was raised, and a few painful experiences she had, she became extremely harsh to herself. Her mind has a background track constantly saying things like “I can’t do this” “I’m a total failure” and “This is all my fault”.
Most people have a voice like this — and we become so used to it we don’t even realize it’s there. We just accept it and take what it says at face value.
But over time, this lady woke up to that voice, and realized how unfair she was being to herself.
She would never talk that way to her family, friends, colleagues, or even strangers. Yet she had become her own worst bully.
It took time to rewrite this habit, but she started focusing on treating herself with kindness, the same way she did others. And at the same time, she started seeing her wellbeing transform.
2) Toxic relationships
Another piece of wisdom this incredible lady shared with me was about the company we keep. “You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with,” she said, echoing a sentiment that many of us have heard before but maybe never truly absorbed.
It’s inevitable that some of our relationships turn out to be good, and others a little toxic.
Toxic doesn’t necessarily mean the person is bad, or has ill intentions towards you. It can just mean that you trigger each other in ways that aren’t healthy, or you aren’t able to support each other the way you need.
This could be romantic relationships, but also friendships, colleagues, and even family members.
How do you know if a relationship is toxic? It will feel like it drains you, and makes you doubt your worth and capabilities.
Or, they influence you in a way that you don’t like, bringing out the worst in you or impacting the decisions you make.
It is really for the good of both of you that you should put more distance in these relationships.
We’ve all done it. Scrolled through social media and seen someone’s “perfect” life and thought, “Why can’t that be me?” The truth is, this habit of comparing ourselves to others is like a thief that sneaks in and robs us of joy and peace.
The kind-hearted woman I met made it clear how dangerous this habit can be.
She explained that there was a time in her life when she looked at her neighbors, her friends, even strangers, and felt like she wasn’t doing enough, like she wasn’t enough.
And that was BEFORE the rise of social media! Today, it’s easier than ever to fall into the trap of comparison because it seems like everyone around us is achieving something great.
But remember, social media is just a highlight reel. No one’s life is as perfect as it looks from the outside.
This lady chose to kick the habit by focusing on her own path and celebrating her own small victories, no matter how insignificant they seemed at the time.
And you know what? The more she focused on herself, the more her own life improved, and the less other people’s achievements seemed to matter.
You know the drill: you’ve got a task to do, but somehow, you end up binge-watching a TV series or scrolling through your phone instead. We’ve all been there, including the wise woman I met.
She confessed that procrastination was a hurdle she had to jump over many times in her life.
She described it as a “silent enemy” that quietly stole away her time and, before she knew it, her peace of mind.
But here’s the kicker: Procrastination isn’t just about being lazy or lacking discipline. It’s often a way to avoid facing what makes us uncomfortable or anxious.
The trouble is, avoiding it only makes it loom larger in our minds, chipping away at our inner peace.
The woman told me that she started conquering procrastination by simply acknowledging it.
She stopped beating herself up and instead asked, “Why am I avoiding this?” Often, she found that the task itself wasn’t the issue; it was her mindset about it.
Have you ever found yourself saying ‘yes’ to every invitation, project, or favor asked of you, only to realize you’ve bitten off more than you can chew? I have, and so had the wise woman I met.
She used to be what some might call a “people-pleaser,” always eager to lend a hand or be part of something, even at the expense of her own well-being.
In her quest to make everyone happy, she forgot about her own happiness and, inevitably, her sense of inner peace crumbled.
Then she told me how she turned things around: she learned to set boundaries. This wasn’t such a buzzword back then, so she didn’t call it that way, but the principle was the same:
She became comfortable with the idea that saying ‘no’ to others often meant saying ‘yes’ to herself. And to her surprise, people understood.
It might feel uncomfortable at first to decline invitations or opportunities, but it’s essential for reclaiming your inner peace.
The truth is, you don’t have to be everything for everyone. And trying to be can lead you down a path of stress, resentment, and burnout.
Ah, the allure of perfection. It sounds nice in theory, but as I learned from the wise woman, perfectionism is often an invisible chain that keeps us stuck in place, unable to move forward.
She confessed that there was a time when she aimed for perfection — specifically in her job, but also in other areas of her life.
She thought it was the only way to be happy and successful. But she was wrong.
Striving for perfection didn’t make her feel more accomplished; it made her feel perpetually inadequate. She was never satisfied because her goals were unattainable.
And this constant dissatisfaction took a toll on her mental health.
Here’s what she did to break free: She redefined her standards. Instead of aiming for the unattainable, she started striving for progress.
She celebrated her small wins, learned from her failures, and reminded herself that she was a work in progress — and that’s perfectly okay.
Letting go of her perfectionist tendencies didn’t mean she gave up on her goals; it meant she found a healthier, more balanced way to approach them.
7) Social media overload
This last point might not have been on the wise woman’s radar, but it’s undeniably a modern dilemma we can’t ignore: the overconsumption of social media.
We all know that friend who can’t eat a meal without Instagramming it, or that cousin who’s more interested in tweeting than talking. And hey, we’ve all been there — scrolling aimlessly, getting lost in the latest trending hashtags or funny cat videos.
But let’s get real. The constant checking, posting, and scrolling can quickly evolve from a pastime into a stress-inducing habit.
It creates unrealistic standards, fuels the comparison game, and often leaves us feeling more disconnected than ever. In other words, it’s a recipe for losing inner peace.
While our wise elder didn’t directly discuss this, her teachings imply the importance of being present in our real lives rather than getting lost in the virtual world.
You don’t have to quit social media altogether; it’s about setting boundaries.
Consider allocating specific times for checking your accounts. Turn off those constant notifications that pull you in like a magnet. Make it a rule to put your phone down during meals and meaningful conversations.
By doing this, you’re not just gaining back your time—you’re reclaiming your mental space, reducing stress, and setting the stage for the inner peace that we’re all striving for.
The road to inner peace starts here
There you have it — 7 roadblocks to dodge on your journey to inner peace.
From silencing negative self-talk to setting boundaries on social media, every ‘no’ you utter is a powerful ‘yes’ to a happier, more centered you.
The road to inner peace starts here, and it’s a journey well worth taking.
Are you ready to step onto that path? The choice is yours.