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Opinion: What is the true definition of peace?

Building peace is an essential tool for addressing societal problems and can be possible.
<a href="https://highschool.latimes.com/author/kaylapinkham/" target="_self">Kayla Pinkham</a>

Kayla Pinkham

February 23, 2023

Peace. A phrase that appears in all of our dreams, a word that, when used, makes people smile. A saying that gives us hope, even in the worst of circumstances. 

But what does true peace entail? 

The Oxford Dictionary defines peace as “freedom from disturbance; tranquility.” But could it also be an opinion? 

We all have different minds, so could it mean something different to me than to you? “We won’t achieve true peace until we think as one mind and one body,” Priya Surana said, who is a  freshman at the International School of Zug and Lucerne.

Nevertheless, for most of us, peace is a world without war or a place where all are free. Could true peace also be a world where we accept each other for who we are and work together to make a difference?

A place where love and compassion are the most important things and where we work collectively to make sure that everyone has what they need. A world where all respect each other’s differences and learn from each other. 

Even with this in mind, since we live in a world full of turmoil, it is hard to imagine what true peace would be like. War, hate, and violence are ingrained in the fabric of society. Can we imagine a world without these things? It is possible.

A world that is absent from all forms of hatred and violence, not just war, is true peace – where people can live together in harmony, regardless of their differences. We may not live in a world of true peace, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive for it. 

The American Psychological Society describes one approach to attaining peace, which begins by first being equipped to recognize mental models that foster conflict and violence toward others. Its view is one of having the ability to examine the world from various angles and acknowledge that not everyone shares our viewpoint.

This is essential to break the cycle of violence that so frequently results in conflict. UNICEF’s Swiss chief representative, Jean-Claude Juncker calls this, “promoting non-violent conflict resolution and by working to create a more just and peaceful world.”

Alternatively, The Conciliation Resources offers a long-lasting way to resolve societal problems through peacebuilding activities that address marginalization, inequality, and poverty, which are often precursors to war and violence. Peace is the most effective means for ending wars and conflicts that infest the world.

There are three key reasons why peacebuilding is important. First, the impacts of war can linger for years. Second, employing military force to end a war is occasionally insufficient. And third, war damages families, communities, and lives.

Peacebuilding is an essential tool in addressing societal problems and ending wars and conflicts, and it requires a long-term commitment to understanding the ripple effects of war and violence and working to rebuild the things they’ve destroyed.

Depending on the unique environment and needs of a particular community, peacebuilding initiatives can take on a wide variety of forms. Typical peacebuilding initiatives include the establishment of community hubs or safe places, the organization of community events and activities, or the implementation of campaigns to raise awareness and educate the public. 

Initiatives to advance peace are detrimental. However, if we hope to bring about world peace, we must first bring about inner peace. Once that is done, we can concentrate on promoting harmony in both our immediate environment and our interpersonal relationships. When we are at peace with ourselves and our surroundings, we are more likely to be able to solve issues and build healthy connections with others.

Meditating is one good approach to developing inner peace. Studies show that it is good for physical, mental, and emotional health. Particularly, practicing mindfulness meditation has been found to lessen anxiety and protect against depression. Spending time in nature, whether through leisurely hikes or even appreciating it, helps in finding tranquility and calmness. Taking deep breaths can help clear your mind and with it, challenge things. 

For Ameilia Thompson, a freshman at Nord Anglia International School in Dubai, “Inner peace comes from within; you must be willing to take the journey within to find it,” she said.

Achieving world peace will take time due to violence, discrepancies in how to achieve it, and changing people’s ideas and behaviors. Nevertheless, we must strive for peace, find balance within ourselves and our environment, and seek guidance from professionals or trusted ones to move towards this goal.

Utilizing resources such as helpful insights and tips from the Kentucky Counseling Center and The Greenheart Program get us a step closer to this. Additionally, we can choose to be kind and look out for ourselves and others — to love, give, and accept care.

Even in a huge and scary world, peace is possible. It will require a commitment to work together and respect differences. Check out some steps outlined by the Harvard Graduate School of Education in building relationships and dialogue, understanding different contexts, and advocating for justice. Together we can be the change and create a peaceful world.

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