Happiness is not a matter of intensity
but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.
Lately it seems that everyone is at each other’s throats. Maybe it’s time to start reconnecting with each other. How can you tell if you are in harmony with another person? Here are some signs:
- You can talk openly about a wide range of topics without needing to filter what you say or worry that you will be misunderstood or criticized.
- You are both on the same emotional plane.
- You understand the feelings expressed by another and he or she understands your feelings.
- You are both aware when your feelings start to head in different directions and know enough to discuss it so you can avoid conflict.
People in harmony generally agree on issues. That is one of the reasons they are conversing in the first place. Of course, no two people agree on everything. How could they? No two people have the same set of experiences on which to base their opinions. But people in harmony respect each other enough to listen, try to understand and then accept their differences as one of the challenges in maintaining a relationship.
People in harmony usually share the same or similar outlooks on the meaning of life. If they are headed in completely opposite directions they are not apt to be of much help to each other and don’t consider themselves compatible. More moderate differences can be helpful to both people if heard out and discussed.
Harmonious people are helpful to each other, finding minor course corrections which can bring together their life paths and make their interactions more productive. People in harmony usually support each other’s life goals and offer mutual help when they can. People with completely different goals usually have little to offer each other and may well find each other’s personalities grating on them.
People in harmonious relationships find it easy to relax around each other. They don’t need to feel defensive or ready to protect themselves from physical or verbal attack. On the contrary, they anticipate kindness and understanding. They also feel validated.
They know that how they live their lives makes sense to each other and that neither has to keep explaining why they think or do certain things. They are comfortable sharing their opinions and feelings knowing that however they feel or think, the other person will agree with them or at least accept their positions, perhaps asking for some clarification.
Being in harmony with another person leaves you with good feelings as I just mentioned. But is there more to the story than how you feel? Fortunately, the answer is yes.
Cooperation literally means working together. Harmonious relationships go beyond shared thoughts, feelings hopes and dreams. Based on all you experience with each other you are in an ideal place to share and support each other’s unique creativity in approaching life.
You understand each other, know how you think, plan, and do things. You don’t waste time explaining everything you do and why you do it. You don’t worry about being told your plans are stupid. You already know the other person respects and backs you even when your plans differ. As your relationship deepens, you find more common goals. You may have discussed how to reach them and are now in a position to pursue them together.
Your expectations of each other, of people in general, and of yourselves match. For the most part, there are no great surprises or disappointments as you work together. You know each other’s strengths and weaknesses. You learn to compensate for weaknesses, learn new skills, or bring in others to supplement your work together. There is no guessing or assumptions. You know you can talk directly with each other. You can do so in a spirit of cooperation, respect and kindness.
When you reach a crossroads or fork in your journey, you can negotiate constructively to arrive at the best solution. You do this cooperatively with no power struggle or conflict and agree on the best solution no matter which one of you discovers it.
At the end of a shared project you can evaluate the results impartially. If you need to go back and make changes you do so harmoniously with no thought of blaming anyone because you could have done a better job. You work together on revisions until you are both satisfied.
Harmony also creates a safety zone for both of you. You know you can count on each other in a crisis or even to help with minor needs. You also know that you will not be judged by each other and that what you say will be received with love and understanding.
Life Lab Lessons
- How many of the people in your life are in harmony with you?
- Are you satisfied with how things are now?
- If so, thank the people with whom you are in harmony.
- If not, what can you do to make these relationships more harmonious?
- Your efforts will be contagious and make the world a little more peaceful.
(Excerpt from my forthcoming book, From Rage and Violence to Peace and Harmony)
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