Seeking Harmony

Every day, in most every situation, I have two choices: harmony or discord. More often than not, I prefer harmony. So I strive to choose it.

When a stranger is snarky to me, instead of imitating the behavior I amplify my kindness. I smile genuinely, assuming the individual is experiencing a level of inner discord that has left him/her in a cloud of negativity. Often, my decision to spread kindness instead of distain, prompts the individual to shift to a more pleasant mode. Sometimes it doesn’t work. That’s ok. Another’s negativity doesn’t have to doom my own harmony.

When I suffer a personal setback I redirect mental negativity, stopping harmful self-talk immediately and recharting unhelpful thought paths. Instead, I take a deep breath and work to shift my perspective. I strive to focus on the positive: a solution and a lesson. Then, I remind myself to be grateful. Solutions give me the power to overcome the hurdle, lessons enable me to avoid the pitfall again, and gratitude keeps me grounded.

When someone says something to me I have two choices: I can allow my mind to take a negative bend and tend toward offense, or I can keep to a positive thought path and consider statements in a positive light. Often, it is simply a matter of reframing. For example, if a stranger says, “Wow, you have a lot of kids!” I could either decide to be offended by a perceived attack on my family planning choices, or I could accept the statement as a truth that was delivered with a friendly intent. Often, I find, reframing a comment’s context — realizing the statement was delivered with positive, friendly, or helpful intent — helps greatly in maintaining harmony. Choosing to take offense easily and often is a mindset, and it entirely counteracts my goal of harmony.

When I feel I am wronged, I try to respond positively but directly to the offense. I decide whether the perceived slight is worthy of addressing, if vocalizing my sentiments would prove useful or simply spawn negativity, and how to either discuss or let go of the infraction. I am not a doormat but I need not be a warmonger.

I choose resolution over victimization. Resolution will fix or at least address the issue, characterizing myself as a victim is useless and debasing. Being a perpetual victim is a mindset, and it is not one I allow myself to enable. Instead, I aim to learn from the situation, move forward with my knowledge, and focus on positive momentum, not negative stagnation.

I’ve learned that negative can become positive if I learn from it, if I redirect it, if I repurpose it to fuel my positivity. But it’s my choice. It’s not always easy or appealing, but it has yet to disappoint me.

Seeking harmony is a choice and a mindset. It’s an active, constant effort. It requires willpower and mental retraining, self-awareness, and a sturdy ego. It isn’t always a natural inclination, but it’s rewarding.

I am a continuous work in progress, constantly reminding myself and correcting myself. I’m far from an expert, certainly not without daily falters, and definitely not entirely harmonious, but I’m better than I was. It’s becoming easier with practice and dedication. And I am, in turn, happier.

Harmony makes me happy. So I choose it.