An association that comes to mind when I think of the need for harmony is a Buddhist monk sitting in silent meditation up in a mountain monastery. The wind is blowing, everything is still, all movements are slow. Life seems calm, simple and predictable.

The lack of harmony

Contrasting this image is my first 24 hours in Poland. After arriving by bus from the airport this Saturday evening, we hear the speaker’s voice announcing that the train has been cancelled. The delay is expected to last at least two hours. Fellow travellers utter unspeakable oaths that even I understand, and everyone hurries to the station building. People try to get taxis and find travel companies to share the cost. An elderly Polish man contemptuously wonders how we can imagine sharing a car with a couple of Russians. We go to the other side of the train tracks and are eventually picked up by a taxi.

The next day I’m writing some texts connected to different NVC projects. I take a run and after the shower we walk to a restaurant to have lunch. I come home a little late to a Zoom meeting before the annual meeting of the Swedish NVC association. The internet was unstable, I had to use my mobile and the roaming instead of the wifi. At first I didn’t get the sound started and because of all this I missed almost half the meeting.

Immediately after the meeting, we hurried off to the bus going into town to meet an NVC colleague and her partner at a Mexican restaurant. We ate and drank and discussed the war in Ukraine, common NVC acquaintances and the evolution of life circumstances. Just before midnight I fell asleep before it was time for another day.

Finding harmony in a turbulent world

How can I meet my need for harmony in such circumstances? I believe that my inner image of harmony – as I described at the beginning of this blog post – limits my view in a way that does not support me in meeting this need. Like all other needs, there are countless ways to meet the need for harmony. When I have pictures of Buddhist monks, monasteries and mountain peaks in my mind, I guess I will experience harmony less often than possible.


Ingredients for experiencing harmony can of course be silence, stillness, an uninterrupted period of time and lack of stress. But depending on preference and taste, harmony can also include sounds and movements, intense conversations and a dynamic environment. Different people will experience harmony in vastly different situations. A meditation retreat can be very relaxing for a particular person. Someone else – or even the same person in a different state of mind – could experience a retreat as extremely stressful.

In this way, I see parallels to the need for rest that I wrote about earlier in “the Needs’ Year”. My experience of harmony is not fulfilled by a static state. It is connected to my present  inner experience in combination with the current external conditions. The internal and external circumstances where I can experience harmony are countless. No matter how I want to meet the need for harmony in my life, I think it’s a good idea to be more attentive and open to alternative strategies than my usual favourite ways.

Harmony versus honesty

Another thing that strikes me when I reflect on the need for harmony is how often I have tried to meet that need at the expense of other needs. Many times I’ve chosen harmony over standing up for myself and needs such as integrity, autonomy and honesty. When standing up for myself, I have often ended up in opposition to others. I’ve been thinking that other people might see me as difficult or troublesome. I have been afraid of not being loved and accepted. I have then abandoned integrity, autonomy and honesty in favour of harmony.

This has worked many times, no disagreements or conflicts in relation to others have arisen in the situations. But within me, I have experienced the opposite of harmony. And in the long run, these relationships have not developed as harmoniously as I hoped. In this way I also see a connection to balance. How can I make sure I get all my needs met, and not constantly neglect certain needs.’

How do you fulfil your need for harmony?


Joachim Berggren (CNVC Certified Trainer)

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On 24 March at 17:00-17:45 CET, you can participate in a Zoom Talk with me and Goni Zilberman. We will talk about the need for harmony.

Sign up for the Needs’ Year and you will receive a link to Zoom.

If you read this afterwards, you can watch the recording when you become a premium subscriber. Check the details HERE.

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