A while ago, I identified my most important values. One which ranks very high on that list is harmony. I could just stop here and say that harmony is important to me and that’s it. However, I am losing out on a wide range of interesting questions and insights why it is important to me and how it influences my own behavior.
First things first. What does harmony mean to me? Harmony for me means a comfortable and calm atmosphere in which it is easy to love and laugh together. It is related to a feeling of security and safety and free of conflict. It is an atmosphere in which people can develop themselves without being judged for who they are. You will also see that sometimes, I changed my own behavior in order not to be judged. This lead to a fake sense of harmony.
Probably I idealize it to a certain degree, but my childhood our family live was rather harmonious. My parents, who are together since a young age, were and still are a loving couple. Of course, I can remember them arguing, but I can count the times I heard them argue on one hand. And yes, I know they probably argued more often when my sister and I were not around. Anyhow, I know that I have harmony as one of my values because of them.
But, there is also a dark side to it. Sometimes, in order to keep harmony, I have to adjust myself and maybe not being my true self. This can be good or bad and I don’t want to delve into the specific situations when it is good or bad here. Suffice it to say that changing who you are and neglecting how and what you feel in order to achieve harmony can be dangerous. I often neglected my own needs just to fit in, to be loved, or to avoid a conflict. I didn’t take myself and my needs serious which led me to loosing myself over time. Sometimes, it is still difficult to stand up for myself, but I am working on it.
I also know that from time to time it is good not to have harmony. Although I also think that it is possible to have an argument with someone and still have a harmonious relationship. Striving for harmony should never be about avoiding conflict, as conflict can teach me a lot. And they are a good source of getting to know what is important for someone else, as it is possible for the other what is important for me. From my own experience, I can tell that accepting a conflict and addressing it, while standing up for myself and my needs, lead to improved relationships with two very dear people in my life. There you have it. Even conflict can lead to increased harmony =)
Another aspect of harmony, which is also very important for me is how to end arguments. I know it is not always possible and sometimes I fail doing it, but I try to end every argument on a positive note. I want to leave the other person not in a state of anger, but that this person knows that I care although we might have different points of view. A couple of months ago, I was attended a mindfulness trainer seminar. There was one participant, originally from Brazil, who told us that he and his wife make sure that even when they had a terrible argument, they still make sure that they depart in a good way. He told us that it is important for him, as you never know if you will see the other person again. Think about the pain it can cause, if you have to ruminate about something harsh you have told someone and this person passed away without you being able to tell him or her that you are sorry.
I know that harmony can have its downsides. I think it is the same with most things in life: it is all about the balance. Understanding my value and where I got it from, and why I have it, and how it guides my behavior helps me to take responsibility for my own life. It also helps me to choose how I want to react and behave, for example when another value of mine is undermined.
Have a wonderful day and take care =)