Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Contemplating the Nature of Compromise

The boy and I have been planning our wedding and as weddings are want to do, this comes with a fair share of negotiation, debate, and most importantly, compromise. Now I wouldn't say that I am well disposed to the notion of compromise even at the best of times. I know it's a key element in any relationship, (but dammit, I want what I want, when I want it--I'm a child of the instant-gratification generation) and I am learning (despite all my protests) that some compromises are actually in the best interest of both parties.

So lately I have been really contemplating the issue of compromise more than I ever have before. I have become aware of some of my innate resistance to the idea of compromise and the values that I associate with it. I will admit that the word compromise has always been, to some extent, a dirty word for me. To me it has traditionally meant sacrificing one's self, one's values, one's core identity/beliefs for the interests of another and given that interpretation, compromise didn't sit well with me. Now obviously I'm overreacting and not really looking properly at the etymology of the the word, which refers to a joint effort/decision, but even when it is a joint venture is it always shared equally? How do you compromise without sacrificing yourself in the process? Life demands compromise on a regular basis, and if there is anything that I have learned throughout my "aging" process (ok, I know I'm still young...), it is that black and white morality rarely exists in the real world. Thus, maintaining set ideals about who we are and what we are willing to give, is a bit of a fallacy.

So the real question that that I am contemplating lately is this: how can you make a compromise that is a huge sacrifice on your part, without losing your integrity/identity? How do you compromise without losing face?

The answer that I'm currently chewing on is that the only way to make such a compromise is by being honest about the fact that it is exactly that: a sacrifice you are making in the interest of others and that needs to be understood as such. This morning I feel like the only way to be true to myself while making major compromises is by being honest with all parties, myself included. Perhaps this negates the nature of the compromise/sacrifice to some extent, but if it really is a large sacrifice, is it justifiable? When do the needs of others come before your own, and if you judge it to be the case (time that their needs exceed your own), is fair to either party to make the sacrifice, without awareness?

I'm really not sure...

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