Is compromising the ultimate lose-lose scenario?
Isn’t it literally mind-blowing to notice the importance that compromising holds inside this society? It is so preponderant that all religious figures and all relationships gurus out there teach that a successful relationship has to be based on the decision to compromise at all times and, often times, at all costs. Basically, you have been raised to believe that compromising is utterly required, so problems that may arise here and there can be easily and peacefully resolved. The decision to find a compromise is the assurance that turmoil and disappointment can never occur and shake the foundations of a healthy relation. You have been indoctrinated with the pre-conceived idea that compromise is the absolute win-win scenario. In other words, by deliberately abandoning a piece of your own self, you are then able to reach a consensus that pleases the greater number, including you. This is very interesting because in my world, having to abandon even a microscopic piece of my own self does not sound like a very convincing argument at all.
::: In reality, have you always resented compromising?
Do you truly believe that compromising is the only alternative at your disposal, so you can finally find a way out of what looks like an inextricable situation? When you know that your point has absolutely no chance of coming across, is that your preferred escape? Is compromising what you use when you are about to surrender? But ultimately, what is there to surrender? Do you even want to attempt answering this question? Because it may be safer to allocate all your energy trying to convince yourself that you are only passing on a thought, a choice or a desire, since it is never gratifying to admit that you are bluntly giving up on yourself. Now who told you that it was more than fine to give up so easily on your dreams, so you could accommodate everyone else? This is completely insane and unconscious. Every time you reach a compromise, you erode what you are, one piece at a time. And guess what happens when there is nothing left to be eroded. You are gone. You do not exist anymore. By definition, to compromise is to settle by mutual concessions. How does settling make you feel? Is it what you have forced yourself to do most of your life? And so far, how satisfying has it been?
What do you honestly have to gain from adjusting yourself to a situation or to someone else’s demand? When you elect to settle, so you can be accommodating, does it truthfully celebrate what you are and what you have accomplished up to this point in your life? Are you fully satisfied or do you wish that you had chosen differently? What prevents you from choosing differently though? Would you like to recall the last time you ended up compromising? Why didn’t you choose what had the potential to work so much better for you at that moment? Were you afraid to confront what others might have thought or said about you? Was it the fear of being judged as difficult or egotistical? Or were you apprehending the risk of being excommunicated from your social and/or professional circles for your opinion? Did you notice that the three reasons I have just exposed have strictly nothing to do with you? They are all about other people’s reactions. So what if compromising were indeed the ultimate lie by which so many have opted to live their lives? To compromise is about pleasing others while giving up on your own self.
May I invite you to grasp the energy that lies behind “settling” and “adjusting”? Even though they are often times considered as qualities and used to qualify someone who is socially adequate, how do they sound to you? Do they feel expansive or rather constricting? Each time you choose to settle or adjust yourself, where do you end-up in the equation of your own life? What part of you do you have to surrender every single time you make the choice to compromise? Remember, once there is nothing left of you to give up, you have ceased to exist. To compromise does not give you any other choice but to tone down everything that you are, so the greater number can work something out, at your expense. In other words, all the parties involved are required to suppress what they are, so the common denominator can prevail. This is a total negation of your own person.
When I was in second grade, there was a kid who enjoyed bullying me during each recess. His parents were also friends with my parents. One day, his mother called my mother to invite me to her son’s birthday party. My mother immediately answered for me, saying that I would be delighted to attend. When I told my parents that there was no way I would go to this kid’s party, they asked me to behave “as an adult,” which at seven years old did not sound like a lot of fun. My parents asked me to compromise. They told me to go to the party, so I could prove to myself that I was not intimidated while avoiding hurting their friends’ feelings. When I arrived at the kid’s house, he punched me and ran away. At that point, I realized how ridiculous compromising was. It was certainly not a “win” situation for me!
::: Do you really want your loved ones to be suppressed?
Would you want your partner, your children or your friends to suppress themselves in the relation that they have with you? Do you think that you should suppress what you are to be in a relation with either one of them? If it is the case, to me this is called “abuse.” To make sure that either you or the other party divorces himself or herself, so the relationship can subsist is totally abusive. But if this is the type of dynamic to which you are accustomed, is there a price that you need to pay to ensure its continuation? Is it really acceptable to divorce oneself in a relationship, so all parties are able to reach a middle of the road solution? Unfortunately, this is what most people have been programmed to believe. In their mind, it is the only solution that can create a supposedly satisfying environment for all parties concerned. I see it as a lose-lose scenario. No one is truly happy. When personal satisfaction is so highly fragmented, there cannot be a possible win-win dynamic.
Have you ever had the perception that you were giving up a part of your own self in the process of compromising? What does compromising really entail, anyway? Charles and Marie can never reach a compromise on where to spend their summer vacation. Last year, he wanted to visit a couple of Greek islands and she wanted to rent a house on the French Riviera. Where did they end up? Where they live all year long: Paris. The year before, Marie was looking at Turkey and he was attracted to the South of Spain. They finally decided to go to Lake Geneva in Switzerland, where neither one of them truly wanted to be. Did spending their vacation at home in Paris or compromising on Switzerland bring either one of them pleasure and satisfaction? Certainly not. How much anger was suppressed as it rained continuously during their vacation in Switzerland and each of them read in the local newspaper that temperatures were ideal in Turkey and Spain? How much of this anger then exploded at the first opportunity to start a fight?
How many times have you heard, “In most relationships, not everyone can always be happy about a given outcome.”? Why start a potentially blissful interaction between two individuals with defeatism? Why not choosing to explore a different possibility instead? How about talking, processing and assessing what would bring entire satisfaction to all parties that are involved in the process, even if what comes out of it drastically differs from what the initial plan was supposed to look like? The problem is that most men and women refuse to have this kind of talk. Their ego, their insecurities and their defensiveness prevent them from embracing this option. They’d rather fight to impose their viewpoint, before capitulating and being unhappy with the outcome. And they will always use this frustration as ammunition for later. This is utterly ridiculous and so counter-productive. To compromise is a reflection of the unwillingness that most people have to discuss with one another. Instead of building up, they choose to scale down. How about building up, without setting any limits!?
To compromise does not exist in a healthy, harmonious and expansive relationship. If you feel like spending the weekend in Sedona and your husband wishes to spend it skiing in Lake Tahoe, you are free to go your own way. And you may even end-up together in Los Angeles, because you have changed your mind and because you both desire it. To compromise calls for the need to come up with a solution that will accommodate everybody. Look at the energy behind the verb “to accommodate.” How does it make you feel? Do you have to go out of your way to accommodate someone else? Do you have to make concessions and hence give up a part of yourself to do that? This cannot work.