Chew On It: Finding Harmony

Harmony is something that most people value, but as life is often a roller coaster of highs and lows, many of us don’t manage to achieve it in our lives. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to minimise the lows – steps that require resilience and discipline. And while there will be some things in life that are simply out of your control, I’m focusing here on things you can control.

A good starting point is to determine whether or not you’re the cause of the disharmony in your life (we can be very good at blaming others.) If you find that there’s constant drama in your life, the common denominator is you.

If you think that you may also be part of the problem, it may be time to re-evaluate your behaviour. Here are some of the things I do to minimise disharmony in my life:

1. I speak my mind with my heart. That means that I try to say things in a way that doesn’t attack or offend. If I know I’m going to have a difficult conversation, I write down my thoughts first and review them before expressing them.

2. I work on not allowing my negative emotions to colour my words, as this is a sure way to add fuel to the fire. It’s easy to say cruel words when you’re feeling agitated or angry – these emotions will pass, but cruel words wound the soul forever.

3. To paraphrase a zen quote: “When you argue with a fool, there will be two fools in the argument.” I keep this quote in mind and try to remember point one.

4. There are some people that I totally avoid.

5. For those I can’t avoid, I do what I can to make things better.

6. I understand that patience and tolerance are essential. The origin of the word ‘patient’ is Latin for suffering and tolerance – the ability to bear pain. Your ability to suffer and bear pain at times will likely result in long-term benefits.

On relationships
To maintain good relationships with your loved ones, it is critical not to have arguments with their partners. I’ve seen this happen time and again and it inevitably leads to fractured relationships. There will be times when you simply need to bite your tongue, as difficult as that may be, as the long-term consequences of not doing so will be far worse and more painful.

Everyone has a story
This is one of the most important things I’ve learned: Everyone has a story and it makes a big difference when you try to understand a person’s background – it can provide a better picture of who they are and why they behave in certain ways. This doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easier to engage with them, but having some compassion will help you to communicate with them better.

I deal with a few people who are intensely emotional in their behaviour, but I do realise that their intentions are good and this helps me maintain my patience and control my emotions. That’s not to say I’m the easiest person to deal with and I have been told that I have some wonderful quirks, but I do put the work in and practise what I preach.

I believe that I do have harmony in my life. I enjoy engaging with those I choose to spend time with and arguments have therefore become rare (this is much easier to do when you’re single). Someone may come along one day and complicate my life, but until then I’ll continue to live in the bliss of being the happiest and saddest person at the same time.