I need harmony.
I never really understood it growing up, the significance of it I guess. I just knew that whenever there was disharmony between me and someone else, my heart’s pace would increase, a feeling of nerve-ridden queasiness would set-in, and I would not able to relax.
Whether minutes, hours, or days…it didn’t matter, until there was peace or resolution, I would attempt to endlessly endure the unsettling and suffocating feelings.
And because of that, I have often been the one to initiate.
The one to try to fix it.
The one to make the first move.
The first to apologize for whatever obscure and unclear thing I may have done, or may have failed to do.
And it has always been affirmation and acceptance that alleviated my dilemma and allowed me to settle, and breathe, and rest again.
I have often thought of this as a weakness. After all, what was wrong with me? Others seemed to be able to sit with conflict and disharmony. They seemed to be able to function. Why not me? And I tried and tried without success to “overcome” this weakness.
And then, my perspective shifted…
Two years ago, I bought the book STRENGTHS FINDER and took their online evaluation. I have always enjoyed these kinds of tests and found it fascinating to learn about the personalities and temperaments of myself and others. I have taken many, but never one that solely identified my strengths.
Interestingly, STRENGTHS FINDER was developed as the result of extensive research with the purpose to identify the strengths of people. They examined individuals in successful organizations, and evaluated their strengths. They found that successful organizations optimize the strengths of their personnel and place them in positions to leverage those strengths for the success of the organization…which they found to be ultimately more effective than identifying an individual’s weaknesses and continuously directing them to change and improve. Identifying and maximizing your strengths is what STRENGTHS FINDER is all about.
And so, the print out of my strengths. And the shock at what I saw…
Harmony was my strength? Out of 34 possibilities, harmony was one of MY greatest strengths?
I had never thought of my need for harmony as a strength. It had never occurred to me to consider that this need for harmony might actually be a strength…and yet the book described:
“You look for areas of agreement. You try to steer others away from confrontation and toward harmony…Harmony is one of your guiding values. In your view we are all in the same boat, and we need this boat to get where we are going. It is a good boat. There is no need to rock it just to show that you can.”
It ends up that harmony actually helps me relate, communicate, and responsibly individualize each interaction. It helps me pull others in…bring teams together. It helps me see another’s view and makes me desire to move others toward one another. It helps me bridge gaps of indifference or disagreement for the better outcome of the whole.
When used to its potential, harmony is a strength. MY strength.
And we are each unique. God made us the exact way He wanted us to be. He has created us in His image, with characteristics He specifically intended just for us. And what one may think is a weakness, may in fact be a strength, when the perspective is shifted to see it in that light.
Giving thanks this day for the strengths I have been given, and choosing the joy that comes as a result!
Is there something you may have assumed was a weakness, which could actually be a strength?