Opinion — How to protect your peace

Ryley Wilcox

Protecting your peace is a concept circulating on social media, but what does it really mean?

Largely, I think it has a lot to do with boundary setting. Setting time limits on how long you will spend with a friend on Friday night, how long you stay at the coffee shop on your date or how long you will take to finish a homework assignment. 

As someone who has “achiever” in their Clifton Strengths, I am so worried about not finishing assignments both for work and class on time. But I recently found a new way of thinking about this; if it comes to be midnight, I just decide to call it a night. 

In college, it is normal to skip a meal or skip an extra few hours of sleep to finish an assignment. But I am here to tell you, skip that assignment. That assignment will not be a worry you have in two months, but your physical and mental health will be with you for the rest of your life, so you really should take care of it. In life, you must serve your body, mind and soul first.

Additionally, I think with everything going online in the last few years it’s hard to take time away from work. But it certainly is okay to cross a few things off your to-do list for the simple fact of you not wanting to do them. 

Make a priority list instead. Is it due tomorrow? No? Then today is not the “do” date and it can wait. You should still finish your assignments in a timely manner, but if it’s not needed tomorrow it can wait.    

Recently, a friend told me that “No.” is a complete sentence. Saying “No.” does not always require an explanation. If you simply do not want to go, that is enough reason to say no. There doesn’t have to be an excuse because “No.” is the full answer.

As a self-diagnosed people pleaser, one thing I have learned in the last year is to stop looking to fix people’s problems. You should be in the moment and actively listen to what a friend is telling you that is upsetting them, but it is not your job to find or fix the problem for them. 

It is however your job to listen and be there for your friend. Additionally, it is your friend’s job or anyone else you engage in a social relationship with, to tell you what is bothering them because it is not yours to find. 

The most important one, at least I feel, is taking social media detoxes. Just because you are available does not mean you have to be accessible. Just because a friend can call you doesn’t mean you have to answer it. This shouldn’t however become a habit, but it’s also okay to not answer every text or call you receive. 

Within this detox, delete social media apps that don’t bring you joy. Social media should be supplemental to your life, not detrimental. This is exactly why I deleted BeReal. I loved the intention behind BeReal, but I felt like I was trying to live a life that wasn’t mine. 

This was the same case with Instagram, hence why I have archived all of my posts and put my account on private. It wasn’t making me happy anymore, I was just trying to keep up with this image I was portraying to my followers which are largely my former high school classmates, who could not care less about what is going on in my current life. 

The people who matter in my life know what is going on in my life, so I don’t feel the need to post online anymore.

This one is the hardest one to hear: let go of what does not fit in your life anymore. That doesn’t mean ghosting someone or quitting your job, but it means that if you realize a friendship is not working anymore in your life, it’s ok to let it go. You don’t have to end it on bad terms, and there doesn’t have to be a huge falling out. It can just mean reaching out less, going out less and spending less time together. 

All in all, protecting your peace is finding what brings you peace. No longer are the days of engaging in things you are not interested in or don’t bring joy to your life. Obviously, this is not a one size fits all scenario. Sometimes we have to do things – like work – that we don’t want to do, but if you have the choice to not engage with things that don’t serve you, simply don’t. 

I’ll leave you with this quote from Annie Dillard: How we spend our days is of course how we spend our lives.” Don’t spend your days or your life in conflict or distress. Instead, protect your peace.

Editor’s Note: The North Wind is committed to offering a free and open public forum of ideas, publishing a wide range of viewpoints to accurately represent the NMU student body. This is a staff column, written by an employee of the North Wind. As such, it expresses the personal opinions of the individual writer, and does not necessarily reflect the position of the North Wind Editorial Board.