This article is written in partnership with Say Your Peace. Their movement is dedicated to peace, healing, and positive transformation for our sweet planet and all of mankind. We’re honored to work with them. ~ ed.
When we’re feeling lost or hurting, who do we turn to?
Is it a family member, work colleague, or maybe a long-time friend? Perhaps it’s someone else entirely?
Most of us have a few people we can rely on, our designated support systems. Each of these support systems is built up of small “human ecosystems” that serve as our emotional safety net.
At times this net nurtures us, encouraging growth and evolution. Other times it provides us with tough love and different perspectives we may have been too blind to see in the moment. But the beauty of these nets is that they are dynamic. Each individual who is a part of our nets is also handling their own challenges or even pains, responsibilities, hopes, and dreams. They have their own weight to carry.
And, sometimes, when the individuals who make up our support systems have their own personal battles at the same time as us, this can shorten our emotional bandwidth without us realizing the impact. When that happens, more often than not our communication skills can decline to the point where we feel alone, ignored, shut down, or cause others to feel that way through our responses.
It is in these moments that it is most important to remember that we’re all, in a way, cycling through this pattern—working through a forest of our fears, problems, and suffering, and may be feeling isolated and unheard. This is what, funnily enough, connects us all.
Stories are a power for change in the world.
When we share our own tales and take the time to listen to those of the people around us, we take one step closer to making the world a better place.
Our friends at Say Your Peace embody this philosophy. They have sparked a movement that aims to catalyze global change through self-transformation and community dialogue. They offer a space for discussion, lift diverse voices around the world, and provide resources about individual and social change.
The philosophy of Say Your Peace is centered around the writings of Daisaku Ikeda, a Buddhist philosopher, peacebuilder, educator, author, and poet.
With his beliefs firmly rooted in and stemming from Nichiren Buddhism, the fundamental dignity and preciousness of life is a value that Ikeda sees as the key to lasting peace and human happiness.
“When things change inside of you, things change around you.”
We’ve all heard this phrase. And it’s true. It’s crucial for finding our own inner peace—and for us to be of benefit to others. Because when we’ve done the work to better ourselves, the results spill into other aspects of our lives.
This “spilling out” is exactly what Say Your Peace is aiming for: creating a powerful ripple effect of healing and human goodness—of lasting, positive change.
In Ikeda’s view, global peace relies ultimately on a self-directed transformation within the life of the individual, rather than on societal or structural reforms alone.
But, we all know that being considerate of others is tough in moments when we are wading through our own murky waters of pain—even with the people in our support systems.
Say Your Peace recognizes the difficulty and the importance of doing the inner work, creating channels of open communication, and feeling heard. And, honestly, it’s often within the sticky, emotional dirt of disagreement that the seeds for growth and understanding are planted and watered.
We don’t have to agree every step of the way, but the ability to connect and respectfully have the dialogue (and maybe learn something) is where the healing truly begins.
But if we feel like we simply can’t understand where the other person is coming from or feel like we’re about to explode with rage…
Here are 4 things to remember in the middle of an argument:
- Acknowledging the pain we share
- Having or maintaining hope to move forward
- Remembering that we’re all interconnected
- Understanding it’s okay to disagree agreeably
It’s important to talk about the tough stuff. And if we remember that everyone is struggling, we’re able to carry the torch of empathy and positive change a little further—keep the light going. Because, we might feel like we’re all on our own, but, as writer and teacher Ram Dass would say, “We’re all walking each other home.”
A big part of the Say Your Peace mission revolves around the belief that global problems cannot be solved on their own. To create a better world, we must respect and care for our communities, and sometimes put the needs of the planet ahead of our own.
How can I carry the torch and Say my Peace?
Say Your Peace invites all people regardless of gender, ethnicity, color, disability, or sexual orientation to join them in inspiring others to look at personal change and dialogue as a means to achieving global transformation. (Just like our mission here at Elephant Journal!)
There are several ways to get involved:
- Embrace inner peace through reflection and self-empowerment
- Honor our unique experience and trust our own voice
- Start an honest dialogue on social media using #SayYourPeace
- Share their images and posts on our social media channels using #SayYourPeace
- Attend one of their virtual dialogues featuring Say Your Peace partners, recognized thought leaders in the field of awareness and social change
- Tell the story of how we find inner peace on our social media channels for a chance to be featured on the community’s Instagram and Facebook page. Be sure to tag @sayyourpeace!
But wait, there’s more!
To help us create these powerful connections with one another, Say Your Peace prepared an immersive toolkit including a guide to reflection and relatable quotes to help frame where we are in our journey, and central messages from this Movement. (Don’t forget to give them a shout when we do: #SayYourPeace.)
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Here’s is an excerpt from an ultra-relatable story shared on their Instagram from one of the members of their online community. As I read through her words, I found myself nodding in agreement and aching with understanding. I don’t even know her….but I felt connected to her. I felt seen:
“I was a wreck. I was still learning what it meant to be a wife. I was a new mom – tired – physically falling apart and then lost my job soon after...I was missing all the pillars of my identity and I was lost. Trying to make it through the day and be happy, but I was floundering.
In hindsight, these events turned out to be the catalyst for the best parts of my life now. I’m able to look back and recognize that I was not as fulfilled before as I had thought. Not the way I am now.
I used creativity to find myself again.
Painting is how I #saymypeace and share myself and my gifts with the world. I am lucky enough to now help other women do the same… #SayYourPeace”
We all know those conversations—the ones that hurt and the words are hard to get out but feel oh-so-good after we release them. That right there is what I felt reading that testimonial. That is the marvelous, pervasive power of the Say Your Peace movement.
Your story can, quite literally, change the world. There’s no better time to start than here & now>>
It’s creating a space for others to feel safe to share their own story (or maybe just learn something new). It’s recognizing that when we focus on bettering ourselves, we’re able to show up for the world around us. It’s taking our alone-ness and closing the gap toward that deeply necessary connection.
Say Your Peace-ers would say, “Finding those commonalities that bind us is what enriches our lives and helps our communities come together to solve our world’s most challenging issues.”
So, whether we’re struggling with finding ourselves after getting married (this one really hit home for me), struggling with happiness in general, feeling unheard, frustrated by a conversation, searching for purpose, or any other little-big issue that occurs in the human experience…there’s always hope. There’s always support.
Say Your Peace is the inner circle (or maybe “global circle”) we can go home to for support, inspiration, accountability, and growth. And it all starts right here. With you. With me.
Our voices are as important as ever. Are we ready to Say Your Peace?
“A great human revolution in just a single individual will help achieve a change in the destiny of a nation, and, further, will enable a change in the destiny of all humankind.” ~ Daisaku Ikeda