Peace Week 2021
The theme for Peace Week 2021 is ‘inner peace for outward action’.
All of us want to make the world a better place. We talk a lot about how we can help others – it’s so important! But something we don’t talk about very much is how to look after ourselves.
This is a bit strange when you think about it, because how well we care for others is connected to how well we take care of ourselves.
Some people think love is only about other people, but have you noticed how much that leaves out? We can also love animals, the land, the natural environment, and – of course – ourselves.
All of the visionary thinkers on love emphasise the importance of self-love. Black lesbian poet Audre Lorde believed that it is impossible to give and receive love without first loving ourselves. Similarly, Vietnamese Zen Master Thich Nhat Hanh writes, ‘Caring for yourself, reestablishing peace in yourself, is the basic condition for helping someone else.’
When we show ourselves love, we nurture inner peace. This helps to ensure that we are happy and healthy. It also means we’re much better able to take care of others. All of us have to deal with difficult experiences. As humans, we sometimes experience embarrassment, insecurity, and guilt. When we love ourselves – by showing ourselves care, understanding, and forgiveness – we develop loving skills that we can then bring to our relationships with others.
What does self-love look like for you? It might involve karakia, meditation, spending time in nature – or something else entirely! For me, it means taking time to read, talking about my feelings with people I trust, and having lots of cuddles with my cat Minnie. This Peace Week, I hope you will discover more strategies for taking care of yourself. Your inner peace is important for all of us.
Me te aroha,
Philip (Piripi) McKibbin
This appeared as the foreword for the NZ Peace Foundation’s Youth Peace Week 2021 toolkit.
Philip McKibbin is a writer from Aotearoa New Zealand, of Pākehā (NZ European) and Māori (Ngāi Tahu) descent. His book Love Notes: for a Politics of Love is published by Lantern. He co-organised ‘The Politics of Love: A Conference’ at All Souls College, Oxford. www.philip-mckibbin.com
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