You gained thirty miserable pounds during your last relationship. Your waistline expanded six inches. Your hips protruded an extra eight inches. You wanted to diet and exercise, but you also wanted cake to soothe your mounting depression. Thankfully, the relationship ended without you considering a liposuction consultation. Compromise is the intersection of life’s balance, where you fit back into your size 6 clothing (due to increased physical activity and a plant-based diet) but you still enjoyed one slice of lemon pound cake each week of dieting with brandy-streaked coffee. After you have learned when to say “no”, compromise is the next stop on your journey to flying.
Fill your life with those that respect your emotions, space and time, as these are the people that you will find it a bit more bearable to compromise with. Compromise is the optimal point where you negotiate a solution that is agreeable to you and other affected parties. A compromise meets the needs of both sides as much as possible, as the concept of compromise is rooted in respect for others. Those that find it difficult to respect others will find compromise to be a tedious task. On the contrary, those that are naturally inclined to respect others find compromise is more of an art than a task.
Will you lose friends when you seek compromise? Real friends will stand by your side no matter what. Peacefully seeking a mutually-convenient arrangement between two people is an admirable quality. Everyone has boundaries and limitations. There are factors that one should never put on the table of compromise. In general, do not let your fear of losing people prohibit you from seeking compromise. Losing people who are unwilling to compromise with you clears space in your life for people who will respect you enough to compromise with you. Whether you lose friends or not depends on the nature of your relationships.
Your relationships may be based on sacrifice, or your relationships may be based on compromise. Sacrifice is the act of surrendering something valuable, usually in efforts to appease someone else. There’s a great Bible story about sacrifice. In the story, God instructed a man named Abraham to climb to the top of a mountain and sacrifice his only son, Isaac. Like many couples today, Abraham and his wife, Sarah, had a hard time conceiving a child. Isaac was their miracle baby. Instead of questioning God, Abraham, a courageous man of faith, followed God’s instructions. As Abraham prepared to sacrifice his only son at the top of the mountain that day, God called out to him again and changed His original instructions. God’s new instructions guided Abraham to look into a nearby bush for a ram rustling through the leaves. Abraham was instructed to sacrifice the ram, instead of Isaac.
In the story of Abraham, sacrifice is represented by Abraham’s miracle child, Isaac. Compromise is represented by the ram in the bush. In a scenario involving two people, sacrifice creates one winner and one loser. On the other hand, compromise allows both parties to win. Compromise is mutual, while sacrifice is disproportionate. Abraham’s agreement with God to kill and sacrifice the ram instead of shedding the blood of his only son was mutual. Which is worth more? A ram or a person?
Compromise normally has a specific goal. Sacrifice does not. Imagine the press that would have surrounded Abraham’s nation if he would have sacrificed Isaac. As Abraham was a blessed and highly-respected man, who had successfully interceded on behalf of the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, he would have set a powerful example by sacrificing his only son. Other members of his nation may have continued the practice. And what happens to a nation of believers that kills off its young boys? The nation perishes, it exists no more. Obviously, such population control was not a part of God’s plan.
Resentment is more easily paired with sacrifice than compromise. One who sacrifices without having complete information may experience resentment as a result of their loss. The structure of a sacrifice is one win and one loss. The person suffering the loss may feel harmed, used and ultimately mistreated. Such feelings can be a fertile breeding ground for resentment. However, compromise is centered in amicable agreement. While minor loss may be suffered, effective compromise minimizes loss for both parties. Hence, it’s more difficult for resentment to form.
When compromising, it is important that you choose assertiveness over aggressiveness. Assertiveness should be maximized while aggressiveness should be minimized. Assertiveness involves expressing your opinions and beliefs without restricting the opinions and beliefs of others, through negative speech and actions. Assertive individuals may appear to win all arguments, but assertiveness is not always getting your way. Those that assert themselves tend to prosper in tense situations when they effectively empathize and compromise. Conversely, aggressiveness entails coercion and manipulation to reach a desired outcome. Aggressive individuals may resort to embarrassment, physical violence, verbal assault or other behaviors to shift the dynamic of the relationship and affect the outcome of decisions. The major difference between aggression and assertions is that assertions do not violate another’s rights or preclude compromise.
Aggression is a manifestation of fear and anger. Ironically, aggressors typically intend to inflict mental anguish and violence upon their victims, but aggressive actions convey the fear, anger and anguish of the aggressor. Anger does not allow the aggressor to think clearly and logically, or to prioritize and define what is important and what is trivial in heated discussions. Once anger passes, you should make a list of priorities that you would like discuss and hold the discussion until calm is present. Understand that you can disagree without animosity, but peace occurs in a mutually-convenient time. By creating the priority list, both of you are focusing more on the resolution than the issue, more on the compromise than the fear. Fear denies logic. Anguish exaggerates mental suffering. Choosing aggressiveness over assertiveness in times of emotional trouble can have dire consequences, as the damage of the incidents may entail physical and emotional implications that both parties suffer for years to come, including physical imprisonment, emotional scarring, anxiety, depression, and isolation.
Mutual trust makes compromise easier. When you trust someone, you believe that you are able to rely on them for what you need from them emotionally. When you experience someone’s trustworthiness, you enter a space of friendship, comfort and agreement. Your positive energy collides with their positive energy. A positive wave of predictability washes over certain aspects of your relationship. As it is human nature to try to predict the future based on certain events of the past, consistent behavior between partners establishes such predictability. Being surrounded by people you trust makes you feel safe and comfortable. When issues arise with those you trust, you approach your issues with a spirit of resolution. However, when problems arise with those you don’t trust, chaos may ensue, because you don’t feel safe, and you don’t know what to expect. Most of us would rather encounter a reliable enemy than an unreliable friend, because we want to be able to predict, within a level of certainty, what will happen next. Trust is a safety net. Trust is what creates your comfort zone. Trust is found in the shaking of hands or embracing of two kindred spirits. If you have been unable to successfully reach a level of compromise with someone, it may be a good idea to examine the ways in which you can establish more trust.
Compromise requires the connection of two sides, two hearts, two spirits, two souls, two minds. In order to compromise effectively, you must remain connected. You may be the type of person who emotionally and physically disconnects when issues arise and their resolution is outside of your body of emotional knowledge. Disconnection is never the answer. It may be okay to temporarily disengage from a discussion to allow a cool-down period for flaring tempers, but disconnecting without an established time to reconnect can permanently damage relationships. The other party may be made to feel unimportant or shut out by your willing disconnection. If you hope to reach an agreement, remain engaged, even when the conversation is tough. Remain honest. Listen to the perspective of the other person. If you need more time to process the information that you are being given, ask for more time. You are allowed to request what you need to facilitate compromise.
Compromise is not an all-or-nothing deal. You may not be able to meet in the middle to find your solution. You may have to agree that, on days that you clean the kitchen, you will wash the dishes by hand, and, when he endures the arduous task of cleaning the kitchen, it’s fine if he chooses to use the dishwasher. If you are unable to meet in the middle, it’s okay to split the difference. In this instance, your priority is a tidy kitchen. Sure, you may have a secondary priority of saving on the electric utility bill by not running the dishwasher so often or ensuring that the wine glasses don’t contain specks, but you must consider whether such fuss is worth the discomfort that your partner is caused. If your goal is to peacefully coexist, you must compromise on some of the trivial details to maintain the peace.
Teamwork is successful when each individual commits to the effort of the group. Your partnerships require commitment and loyalty on all sides. Some people complain that it’s lonely at the top without recognizing the many people that helped them reach the top. There is not one NFL football team that doesn’t have a coach. There’s not one NBA star player that wins games by himself. Every person on the team has a role. If the person is not successful in their role, the team is not successful. Flexible teammates who are willing to pick up the slack where another teammate falls short are invaluable to the success of their respective relationships. The formation of your team is just the beginning. Your objective is not to simply come together, but to stay together. To do so, you must keep your mind open to new ideas and always be prepared to compromise. With lots of practice, you will be able to resolve conflict with ease. Every compromise is a step toward flying high.