The high price of always being nice to others
We have often heard about someone from our group of acquaintances saying something like this: “She is very polite and kind”, “She never speaks loudly or curses”, “She is very respectful of the opinions of others”, or “It’s nice to work with her because he never argues.”
That is how people refer to someone who never poses problems or generates conflicts in their personal relationships. However, if someone frequently receives such brilliant compliments, they may have to take it as a cause for concern.
Perhaps you are sacrificing your own well-being or a deserved success for trying to obsessively maintain peace and harmony in your social, family or work life, avoiding discussion and discord at all costs.
The problem is that the stubborn search for harmony is not precisely altruistic. People who systematically put the interests of others before their own – also known as “addicted to harmony” – say of themselves that they make personal sacrifices for the sake of their loved ones, friends or coworkers .
For example, a husband never tells his wife when she does things that bother him. He convinces himself that not saying negative things reduces conflict and increases harmony.
But because he never speaks, his wife continues to do annoying things, leaving her husband frustrated. By avoiding conflicts, without realizing it, it creates an emotional distance between them.
Why don’t “harmony addicts” say what they think? They don’t do so much to avoid discord and make others feel good. They behave this way because discord or conflict causes them anxiety and insecurity, which creates persistent interpersonal tensions.
The roots of this addiction are originated in childhood. During this stage, the defenders of harmony felt that they had to act as peacekeepers between the parents when they argued. Or one of his parents was “addicted to harmony” and the child learned to imitate this behavior.
Another scenario is when both parents had explosive discussions and the son learned to avoid those disagreements that bothered him so much. Perhaps the child was punished or admonished for freely expressing his opinions.
When these children become adults, they are afraid to say what they think and the discord drives them away from discussions like someone running away from the devil.
Freedom is lost when you start to be afraid, so it is good to be aware of this behavior and then correct it, an objective that can be achieved by following these guidelines:
1. Try to be less pleasant for some time
Is not difficult. It is only about stopping saying “yes” to everything, it is not necessary to do it when your opinion is different from that of others. Nor do you volunteer as a first volunteer when someone asks for something outside your responsibility.
“Harmony addicts” often have hyperactive reflexes of exploration. That is, they spend a lot of time interpreting the facial expressions and body language of those around them, willing to fix the problems at the first hint of disgust they observe.
The urge to create harmony is excessive and obsessive and interferes with your life. Therefore, one must anticipate and leave the environment in which these emotions occur before they appear, especially when one is not involved in situations that are beyond their responsibility.
2. Reflect on childhood
Have you thought about how childhood situations are affecting your current behavior?
A child whose parents frequently argued assumed the role of peacemaker, who at school bit his tongue so as not to feel excluded from the group and who always put his classmates’ priorities before his own to avoid problems.
All these past attitudes now prevent him from acting like an adult, who must have the ability to create limits in personal relationships to calmly discuss with other adults.
You can defend your views without fear of being punished, or you can decide whether or not it is worth discussing for a certain issue. You can get away from friends who don’t value it or don’t respect it. If you remember what your childhood was like, you probably decide that being a peacemaker by par excellence is not the best option.
3. Reaffirm the personality through introspection
Reflect: “When I was young I was not sure to speak freely, but now I am an adult and I am not at risk for saying what I think” or “It is not my responsibility to make everyone around me happy and it does not have to harm me if they are unhappy”. “I believe that my opinion counts and people need to listen to what I have to say.”
Repeat and remember these ideas often to prevent the pacifying impulse from getting in your way. Childhood habits are not easy to break and putting forward personal interests before those of “harmony addiction” may be uncomfortable at first.
But every time one does it and realizes that the world does not collapse, as happens to perfectionists, it is one step closer to achieving a healthy balance between personal goals and the search for harmony.
4. Learn the art of arguing without being unpleasant
Disagreeing is an inevitable part of human relationships. It is consubstantial to people. There have always been and there will always be discrepancies between them.
People generally believe that the conflicts that arise in human relationships are insane. But arguing is not, by definition, negative or insane. Do not avoid disagreements. The conflict arises by not tolerating the point of view of the other, so it is necessary to learn to discuss.
“Harmony addicts” should not be afraid to discuss whether they follow the following golden rules: Being unconditionally constructive helps a lot: listen before speaking! Distance from emotions that may be negative in the search for an agreement greatly facilitates the work, as well as showing oneself to others as a friendly and conciliatory person.
Saying to someone in front of you that you are wrong or not right is a bad strategy, it is best to avoid those words and never impose your own ideas. Nobody should believe that he or she is the owner of truth during an argument.
Finally, it is very important to separate the idea from one disagrees with, from the person with whom it is being discussed. We can criticize the first, but launching the criticism towards the second is unproductive.