All In for Peacebuilding!
On February 22 of each year, Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from 150 countries celebrate World Thinking Day. (That’s one big celebration!) World Thinking Day is a way to celebrate with girls all over the world by doing the same activities around a shared theme. The 2021 World Thinking Day theme is Peacebuilding.
To help us explore this theme, our staff sat down with some individuals whose organizations make peacebuilding a part of their mission. One such peace builder is Natalie Vorst, a Girl Scout alum who currently serves as the Spiritual Leader at Unity of Toledo Spiritual Center – a spiritual center open to all spiritual modalities that generates connection and community. Here are some recommendations Natalie has for peace building in your own life and for championing peace in our communities!
Through Girl Scouts, one of the greatest things a girl can learn is how your positive actions can positively influence those around you. By promoting peacebuilding in the community, you aim to gain a sense of understanding someone from their point of view and trying to make a true connection of acceptance.
So where do we start? As we begin this new year, let’s hear some ways we can promote peacebuilding within ourselves and our community.
Work Toward Peace Within
Peace is your natural state of being. So, it should be easy to achieve, right? Well, while we aim to always be at peace, it is important to know that having peace is trial and error—it is something we should always be working toward, and it takes practice. You should constantly try to learn from your experiences and use them to adjust for the next situation, always working toward the ultimate goal of peace.
Know You Have Control of Your Thoughts
By working toward an understanding of the self, we should observe our thoughts in order to be able to live toward a more peaceful state of being. Know that you can be the observer of your thoughts and have control over them. Understanding and practicing that is a key to releasing negative thinking. When you experience negative thinking, try to observe it in yourself, and remember you can choose how you react to it and the situation.
Go to the Next Best Thought
When you experience a negative thought, remember to be gentle with yourself and work on going toward the next best thought. It can be challenging to go directly from sadness to a positive view on the experience. Take your feeling or emotion and try to move it to the next best thing on the scale. If you are experiencing sadness, move to anger, then from anger to neutral, and finally to a positive. Perhaps the positive is what you learned about yourself through the emotions you’ve experienced. Remember that you have a choice to shift up your energy and thoughts—always try to move closer to the positive, one thought at a time.
Go “Viral” by Being at Peace
Change within yourself reflects outwardly. Giving peace to yourself at any given time echoes out to others like a ripple in a pond—but it all starts with you. Once you heal those things within yourself, you’ll enter the next situation with tools needed to be peaceful in many situations. By being at peace with yourself, you’ll make the best decisions—on the soccer field, at school, with your family—and then it goes viral! Showing good sportsmanship on the field or reacting peacefully to situations at school encourages others to be at peace, too. To bring peace to the world, start by bringing peace to yourself every day.
What will you do to work toward peace this year? Whatever you decide, know that when you are at peace, others see it and start to work toward it, too!