All relationships require compromise.
We negotiate, we give in on certain things, and we hold fast to others that we feel are too much a part of our identity to give up on. Again, it’s all about choices. To take a silly example, if it really matters to your partner whether the toilet paper sits on the roll facing in or out, and you don’t care, give your partner that victory. But when your partner suggests a vacation on a 20,000-foot mountain and you get asthma above 10,000 feet, it’s time to politely but firmly say that won’t work.
Let’s look at some of our own compromises:
- A long-time vendor makes an appointment to discuss a 5 percent price increase, but is also willing to extend the terms from 30 to 45 days. You negotiate the new pricing down to a 3 percent increase. You both compromised, and you’ve kept your business relationship.
- A relative invites you to a housewarming party the week you’ll be away on vacation. You suggest coming by the following week, instead.
- It’s Friday night. You’re dating a great guy and you have plans to go out. He calls just as you’re about step into the shower and tells you that the boss sprung a big project on him with a Monday morning deadline. You take a deep breath and invite him to have breakfast with you tomorrow instead—and the weekend goes very well for both of you.
- Your best friend calls you, hysterical, because she’s just lost her job and she’d planned to go on a cruise with you. You calm her down, offer to help her polish her resume, remind her of the long commute she’s getting rid of, and tell her you know she’ll find something quickly, and that she’d just have to warn a new employer of the scheduled vacation. Two weeks later, she’s hired by a firm much closer to her home—at an increase in pay. You both not only go on the cruise, but meet new life partners on the ship.
Factor in compromise as you make choices.
Sometimes you might compromise with yourself—over the choice of an outfit, for instance. Even something so simple can have many ripples. As you pick out what to wear, you’re mentally balancing a dozen factors, such as:
- What impression do you want to make?
- How comfortable will you be?
- Is it appropriate for the activities? No fancy clothes on a muddy hike, please!
- How do the colors, shape, and texture suit your mood—will you gain energy from your choice, or will it drain you?
Compromise is Not Settling
We’ve seen that compromise is a considerate form of negotiation, where both sides are happy with the outcome. It builds self-confidence. But settling for less than we deserve is different. We settle for too little when we approach a situation (or a relationship) with fear, doubt, or despair.
We give up our identity, our confidence, and our self-assurance. We surround ourselves with “downer” people who don’t have our interests at heart—and we stop attracting happiness. We let outside forces chip away at our peace of mind, our passion, our creativity—and ultimately, our health.
You’ll quickly learn when you’re making a compromise that helps you and the other person, and when you’ve gotten stuck in settling for the wrong things. Before you know it, you’ve learned to blend the deep mystery of the inner you with the knowledge of how to solve the puzzle—the magic mix that leads to self-growth and awareness. Just as the wind leads you when you sail but you’re the captain steering the course, your inner voice awakens from its coma and you begin to lead a full, meaningful, and exciting life!
I’m here for you on this journey, with love.