Last week I revealed that I was joining the OneWord365 “resolution revolution”. Instead of making New Year’s resolutions (something I don’t do anyway), I said I was going to choose one word that represents a trait I’d like to nurture in my life in 2013.
The idea is to focus on the idea of harmony every day throughout the year and in the process, possibly change the sound track of my life. For me, relational chaos is exhausting and unhealthy; I recognize this. (It probably is for you too.) But encouraging harmony just might add years to my life (or, as it’s been said, life to my years).
And since I committed to updating my progress on the 15th of each month, here’s the first status report.
I WON’T LIE. HARMONY IS HARD.
It’s like there’s a conspiracy to keep my life noisy and dissonant, especially in my closest and most important relationships. It’s already become clear to me after just a week how much opposition I encounter in the average day when I decide to try and live a more peaceful life.
I opt to make the pursuit of harmony my goal for the year and the next thing I know:
- the pork chops didn’t pass the “test”;
- the thermostat is set too high (or too low);
- I’m told I’m valuing the wrong things;
- I’m not fully informed, therefore my opinion is worthless;
- the explanation I gave regarding (pick a topic) wasn’t sufficient;
- I asked one too many follow-up questions and now I’m “accusing”
. . . and so it goes.
For me, it’s easy to default to “Oh, what’s the use?” and then check out emotionally. I’m not proud of that passive aggressive response . . . it’s flat-out immature and does nothing to promote a healthy relationship.
So if I’m going to achieve harmony, I need to change that.
The only part of the equation I have any control over is my own response. Faced with a potential conflict or even just a challenging question, I have to take an extra half beat before I say or do anything. In that small pause, I ask myself:
“Is the response I’m about to give going to help or hurt this situation?”
In that tiny flash of time, the answer is usually crystal clear. I can see the options available to me to either promote harmony or damage it.
With that in mind, I can consciously choose the non-harmonious response and accept the consequences (and believe me, I sometimes do), or I can exhale silently and let it go in the interest of peace-keeping.
Sometimes an issue IS worth fighting for and I’m not advocating “stuffing” the important things. Trust me, stuffing doesn’t work for me, either. But more often than not, I’m finding that a little self-control goes a long way and the payoff of a less strident environment makes up for relinquishing my “right” to be right.
How are you doing with the “one word” challenge? Did you choose a word for 2013?