Throughout my childhood, I heard my mother say over and over again, “Marriage is a compromise. Marriage is a compromise.” Every time she said it, my blood boiled. I wanted to scream at her. “Why does marriage have to be a compromise?!” But, that kind of questioning was not allowed in my household. My assigned right and proper role was to align and agree with all declarations delivered. As a child, I was little more than a prop in my parent’s reality expected solely to follow along in their well-worn footsteps like a good little obedient devotee. Nothing original beyond the approved script of thinking and behavior was ever allowed. But, I digress.
Compromise and consensus offer little more than to pacify, especially when we have bought into these objectives as the proper way to do relationship. How much of you do you have to cut off in order to compromise? What must you give up to always align and agree in consensus? But then again, isn’t it selfish to NOT compromise? Let’s look at that.
The strategy of compromise is installed quite young, and most people don’t doubt its utility. It goes unquestioned. It’s simply understood. It’s what we do. Anyone who appears to be choosing otherwise is quickly shamed by others as, “Selfish!” It’s as if the worst kind of viciousness perpetrated against others is to choose and live a self-directed life. What arrogance! Selfish, as a manipulatively degrading label of shame, quite often does the trick to get the offending rebel back into line with the rest of the obedient lemmings so proud of their proficiency in proving how well they can follow the objective of selflessness. After all, that’s how you get validation and praise, isn’t it? And, how dreadful our fate to be dismissively disregarded and deprived of the coveted stamp of approval from others to know we’ve done a good job getting it right. Where then would we get the love and affection we need? It’s a dilemma many people face daily as they strive to survive their destiny bound to run on the endlessly effortful hamster wheel of do-to-get.
So, what has any of this to do with compromise? When we compromise, it often indicates we have given up on the infinitely generous gift of possibility. We have concluded there is no other way, but to compromise. It’s the ultimate problem solver. Compromise is the way to keep the peace, and make everyone happy. That irrefutable truth has been imprinted on us since childhood, hasn’t it? Compromise has become normal, even expected. But, keep the peace at what expense? Is compromise truly the prize winning cure for conflict, or does it simply mask the symptoms of resignation and acquiescence that indicate something destructive is being ignored? Who actually gets to be happy in a compromise anyway? Is anyone genuinely happy at all? Or, are any glad feelings really more the consequence of not having been the one to compromise this time. Because you know you’re keeping score to ensure you are not on the losing end of the compromise too many times. It has to be fair, right? I can’t help but wonder. Is the best to be hoped for in relationship a vigilant determination not to lose coupled with a constant effort to keep things fair? That’s exhausting!
That used to be my reality. Though it made my blood boil every time my mother told me marriage was a compromise, it’s what I learned and I didn’t know any other way. So, I compromised. I compromised me, and I compromised my desires. Asking for more, or anything different, wasn’t even an option that occurred to me. That would be a betrayal of the all mighty directive to compromise! I was taught that compromise was a dutiful way of showing gratitude for all I had been given. So, I didn’t ask. And because I didn’t ask, any natural capacity I had to receive atrophied from neglect. If you don’t ask, you don’t receive.
You may have never considered that compromise is a way of refusing receiving. It’s the most prominent way of ensuring we never receive the relationships and life we truly desire. We compromise us, and our desires, and then wonder why things seem so hard and life doesn’t work the way we would like.
So, I wonder. What would be possible in your relationships, and in your life, if you stopped believing you had to compromise? Are you willing to receive all of YOU, and more?
I work with clients around the world assisting them to create lives beyond compromise. I have no interest in offering simple tips and tricks to soothe and smooth over the painful struggle of trying to make a relationship paradigm work that doesn’t, and never will as long as you are compromising you. The time has come to design relationships in a completely different and radical way that always includes you.
Don't sell yourself short. Joy filled relationships don't have to be out of reach. You CAN have ALL you desire, and it would be my pleasure to guide you in creating and having just that.