Today, I was at IKEA with my family, which is a pretty anxiety-inducing activity to begin with, especially on a weekend afternoon. It’s always crowded, and there are lots of children, and people are either wandering or frustrated. There’s really no such thing as “grab it and go,” or like, “an IKEA run.” You go to IKEA to spend a long time at IKEA. And I don’t mind browsing. I love walking around, taking in all the modern Swedish interior inspo and feeling all the different textures. (Yes, I am a feely shopper.. I do that thing where I just stick my arm out and run my hand through clothing racks and against walls. God, I’m such a child.)

I don’t know, but today I came in with a list. I did my research beforehand, and this list was complete with those too-many-consonant IKEA names, prices, item numbers, and even aisle and bin numbers. Man, I was ready; I had that “grab and go” mentality. When I browse, I can take forever, but when I’m on a mission, I’m efficient like no other.

And it went great. Anxiety spiked when I had to weave through human beings that were moving in every which way. Anxiety spiked when I had to keep stopping to wait on my parents to keep up. (There’s no phone service in the first floor marketplace, so losing them would’ve been a hassle.) Anxiety spiked when I just wanted to look at something or take some time to make decisions, but there were too many people in the way, or I was blocking traffic.

We left IKEA three hours later with all but two things on my list, which I’m happy about. But I also left feeling relieved. Today’s IKEA experience is just a random example of a discussion I want to have about having patience and practicing peace. I’m always working towards improving my character, a form of self-respect, and so I feel that this is important.

I’m generally a very anxious and worrisome person. I overthink everything, so patience and peace are two of the most difficult traits for me because they go directly against my nature. To balance myself out, I’ve been practicing how to be patient and how to be more at peace throughout my daily life. I find that letting go of that short fuse, that irritability, and that self-centered impatience with the little things results in a calmer and smoother turn of events.

For me, the most important thing to remember is not merely to “chill out” but to accept the fact that things will play out the way they play out. Fretting over it just sets me farther away, ending up with the same result, regardless of whether I have control or not. It’s like having a little pep talk with myself every time I start getting anxious. I know that simply telling myself to stop worrying has no effect. And recognizing that, I will instead ask myself if the issue at hand is worth freaking out over. Thinking over this question often buys me some time. To breathe. To take a step back and look at what really matters. To wait and watch life unfold gloriously without the additional burden of my frustration or anger.

Yeah, just like that, I’m more at peace. And in turn, I’m all around a little happier, a little more carefree.

The world we live in is the most chaotic thing we know, and it’s not stopping to heed the troubles we have in our minds. It’s a difficult feat, but internal peace should be spread like the most beautiful, paradoxical wildfire you’ve ever seen. Another person can give you hugs and sympathetic whispers to calm you, but if you yourself can choose to take care of your own being, settle yourself with internal peace, then you will do the world a favor, and you will do your life and the way you see the world an even bigger favor.

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