What of my own inner struggles? Do I accept myself in the spirit of self-care and
kindness? Or, do I punish myself for perceived failures and disappointments? Do I
understand myself as a worthwhile individual who has talent and purpose to offer the
world? What is my overall sense of self-worth? Can I be of value to others if I do not
consider myself valuable? How can I make peace with myself?
Education for Peace: Becoming a Peacemaker Within in Order to Become a
Peacemaker in the World
My conception of teaching for peace posits that an individually experienced, inner
knowing of peace - understood here as a fundamental sense of self-worth in one’s unique
embodiment as a valuable human being - is essential to engendering an awareness and
desire to live in peace with others; that from the local levels of family and communities to
broader global contexts, a genuinely felt connection to a personal peace ethic would lead
to an ethic of peaceful existence toward the world.
Clearly, choosing to live one’s life according to an ethic of peace translates
seamlessly into hooks’ (2000) discussion of life lived according to a “love ethic” (p. 87).
“To live our lives based on the principles of a love ethic (showing care, respect,
knowledge, integrity, and the will to cooperate), we have to be courageous. Learning how
to face our fears is one way we embrace love” (hooks, 2000, p. 101). I would add that
learning how to face our fears prepares us to stop the fighting that consciously and
subconsciously permeates our inner worlds, the fighting that prevents us from knowing
our own worth and, consequently, from knowing a sense of self-love and the peace that
attends to it. Therefore, I contend that the existential “war with self,” experienced by all
individuals at various junctures in their lives is an inherent challenge of human existence