“Peace is not just the absence of conflict”

23 Sep 2019 By Abbey Krause, Mediator

“…Peace is the creation of an environment where all can flourish regardless of race, color, creed, religion, gender, class, caste…” (Nelson Mandela)

When we talk about peace we often think of it on a large scale.  Countries and communities living together harmoniously free from conflict and violence.

In families peace can mean time to watch your favourite TV program or the space to be left alone in your bedroom.  Peace can mean the ability to have a conversation about school without shouting at each other. Peace can mean mutual respect and kindness with each other through difficult times.  It can mean freedom and trust.

Peace is not just the absence of conflict. Peace is about having the real relationships, the ones that nurture you to reach your potential and be the best version of yourself.  Because when relationships are hard, life is hard.

Peace can mean having the tough but compassionate conversations. It’s not always about agreeing but having respect.  Peace is equality and kindness when we are challenged.  Peace is about growth, about talking through the things that make us angry.  It’s about being vulnerable and honest when we are in pain.  It’s about walking a mile in the other person’s shoes and really honestly thinking about what life is like for them.  Peace is about making sacrifices because you love someone.  It’s about admitting when you are wrong and working hard to figure out the next step that will work for everyone.  Peace is about hope.

I’m not saying this from a place where I have it all figured out.  I am challenged every day to bring about peace in my life and I have noticed that peace definitely starts within.  If I’m not in a good place, my relationships will not be peaceful.  I find conflict really difficult, but I also see it as an opportunity for change.  Happiness cannot exist without sadness, light cannot exist without darkness and peace cannot exist without conflict.

The 21st of September marked International Day of Peace around the world.  The General Assembly has declared this as “a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.” https://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/

So to mark this occasion today, I will try to be better.  I will listen more, I will be patient and I will have that difficult conversation without judging, blaming or avoiding.

What will you do today to create peace?  Whether you are a young person, a parent/carer you can make decisions about your relationships.  Will you step into the fire and have that conversation that will challenge you, but will you do it with respect and kindness and a willingness to reach a deeper peace?