At the end of last calendar year, I heard these three words — within, between, among — in a sentence as someone was talking about finding balance and peace. I have been thinking about these three words for the past several weeks as a result.

To find peace within oneself means to feel a sense of inner calm and contentment, regardless of what is happening in the external world. It involves being at peace with one’s own thoughts, feelings, and emotions, and not being constantly agitated or disturbed by them. If you’re like me, sometimes you have peace and calm within yourself and sometimes not. These are the way of things in life.

To find peace between two or more people means to have a harmonious relationship, where there is mutual understanding and respect, and conflicts are resolved peacefully. It involves being able to communicate effectively, listen to others, and find common ground. It would seem this is only possible if we have peace within in order to find peace between.

Finally, to find peace among a larger group of people, such as a community or society, means to have a sense of harmony and unity, despite differences in opinions, backgrounds, or beliefs. It involves fostering a culture of acceptance, understanding, and cooperation, and working towards the common good. In short, finding peace within, between and among each other means creating a sense of harmony and understanding and resolving conflicts in a peaceful and respectful manner.

I suspect finding peace within, between and among each other is important for society because it helps to create a sense of harmony and unity within the community. When people can resolve conflicts peacefully and communicate effectively with each other, it leads to a more cohesive and functional society.

Additionally, a society that can find peace within, between, and among each other is more likely to be able to address and solve problems effectively, rather than becoming bogged down by conflicts and divisions.

Lately, just before I enter a space or gathering of people, I have been thinking, “within, between, among” as a way of setting the stage. I have found this quick reframing ensures I always get started on the right foot, so-to-speak.

Quintin Shepherd is the superintendent of the Victoria Independent School District.