The Corrosive Effects of Compromise
The Union Path Podcast
"The Corrosive Effects of Compromise"
Compromise is a funny thing. Of course it's useful. Of course it's helpful. Of course it's necessary for living life, for living a happy life, for living a good life, for living a life free of unnecessary conflict and burden and strife and struggle. But compromise can be a tricky, highly nuanced thing.
Compromise can be truly the source of reduced conflict in our life, of reduced resistance in our life. It's good to know when to let go. It's good to know when to give in. It's good to know when to give a little, to loosen our grip, to let go, to not fight so hard, to not require things to be a certain way.
To not resist, to not grip, this is a useful skill, this is a useful ability to develop. But like all abilities, there's no ability that is inherently good and right and helpful all the time. The usefulness, the helpfulness, the appropriateness is all relative to context. is all relative to when and where we choose to use our abilities.
No one right way of doing things is always right. Conversely, no one way of doing things is always wrong. That's the beauty of life, but also the challenge of life as well. There are no easy answers. There is nothing that we can just lock into stone. We can just develop a routine around and always do the same thing and always get the same results.
Life doesn't work that way. And quite honestly, thank goodness. Thank goodness life isn't that predictable. Isn't that stagnant. Isn't that stale. Because there'd never be any room for growth and expansion. There'd never be any room for anything new. There'd never be any room for us to evolve and change.
Into anything different than what we already are. The opportunity of life comes in its dynamism. Comes in its constantly changing, mercurial, mysterious ways. Comes from the fact that no two situations, even if they seem the same, are ever exactly the same. Sometimes the differences are very subtle.
Sometimes they're very minute. Sometimes they're very difficult to see, but life is never really fully the same twice. That's why living life is a practice. That's why learning to live a good life is a skill. It's something we develop. None of us are born with it. But that's what makes it so interesting.
That's what makes it so alluring. It's something that can be developed. It can be worked on. It can be worked towards. Of course, we'll never ever fully get there. But that's kind of the point. That's always something for us to work on. It's always something for us to get better. It's always something for us to do better.
It's always an opportunity to learn. It's always an opportunity to grow. It's a game with infinite levels. And we're the ones who get to play it. We're the ones who get to reap all the rewards from it, and that truly is beautiful. That truly is amazing. And so there's a lot of things in life that we find along the way.
that aren't as inherent, that aren't as consistent as we thought they were. And the more we learn, the more complexity gets introduced, the more nuance gets introduced. The deeper we go with anything, the deeper our understanding gets with anything. The more complicated, it gets as well. And so when we think about something like compromise, when we think about something like yielding, letting go, giving in, acquiescing, again, often this is an incredibly useful skill, often this is incredibly helpful.
Often this is 1, 000% the right thing to do, but other times this is 1, 000% the wrong thing to do. And everything in between. There are no hard and fast fixed rules. Life has to be lived. Life has to be encountered. Life has to be dealt with. And lived through, and lived with, as it comes along. And so it's important to look at the ways that we ourselves live, the ways that we ourselves are, the way that we ourselves approach things.
And really bring self awareness to how we do what we do. Try to bring some awareness and wisdom to why we do what we do. Really try to understand life through our own eyes. What we actually see, what we actually experience, what we actually feel, how things actually are for us. What feels like the truth.
What do we believe has shown itself to be true. What do we feel feels proven, feels real. And for me anyway, one of those things that has been shown to be real. is the detrimental effects of over reliance, of over utilization of compromise, of actually letting go too much, of actually getting along too much, of actually acquiescing too much.
Because if we kind of break down the idea of compromise, at its core, it's the idea of less. It's the idea of redounding to something less than whatever the original idea was. This can be called getting along, this can be called being reasonable. This can be called settling. This can be called selling out.
Of course, it's dependent on the circumstance, but it's important to remember this idea of less. isn't always the right idea. In much the same way the idea of more isn't always the right idea. Sometimes we should let go and sometimes we should grip tighter. It depends on the experience. It depends on what we believe is right.
It depends on what we believe feels right. It depends on what our perspective is on whatever the appropriate response is to what's happening. Whatever the most appropriate way to live our life, moving forward with all that we know, with all that we want, and all that we believe. Living a life imbued with truth, with a sense of who and what we really are, what we really want.
And the problem with something like compromise is that sometimes, for some of us, often, this can mean moving away from what we actually want. Moving away from who we actually are. Moving away from what we actually think is right. Thank All in an effort to get along, to be accepted, to not be rejected, to not be abandoned, to not fail, to not be told we're wrong, to not make someone else angry.
Whatever the reason is, if our reasons for compromise aren't actually serving us. And if we realize that our compromise is simply making ourselves and our life smaller for reasons that don't actually benefit us, then it's worthy of us. It's useful of us. It's vital of us to actually examine us, to look at our own tendencies, settle.
To settle for less, to be less, to do less, because this truly has a corrosive effect on our life if we participate in it long enough, if we perpetuate it long enough. That compromise, over applied, is corrosive to our life. It melts things away, it makes us smaller, it makes our life smaller. This can be a really difficult thing to see, this can be a really difficult thing to acknowledge, that when we look at our life with a level of...
Dissatisfaction, we can look at our life with a set of unmet needs, of unsatisfied hungers, of unrequited desires, and we realize that we're actually the ones holding ourselves back. We're actually the ones keeping ourselves small. We're actually the ones choosing the small life that we now find ourselves bristling against.
We now find ourselves overly confined by, that we find ourselves inhabiting a life three sizes too small. and are forced to deal with and feel the discomfort that all of that brings. It can be a really difficult thing to realize that we're the ones doing this. We're the ones doing this out of whatever reasons we have for compromising in the first place.
Whether it be a genuine desire to connect with other people, whether it be fear, fear of loss, fear of conflict, fear of rejection, fear of failure, whatever the reasons are.
I think it's undeniable to look at compromise when it's overapplied, is corrosive, is causing us to live less because we ourselves are choosing less. And again, this isn't always the case. This isn't about demonizing compromise, because if that were true, then we would be lionizing things like gluttony and greed.
And clearly those, those aren't good either, but again, this isn't about all or nothing. This isn't about extremes. This isn't about black and white. It's about living life with all of its nuance, with all of its variety, with all of its novelty, and living life as truly as we can, living life as fully as we can, living life as honestly as we can, and doing so without compromise.
Because that's the thing that really hurts us. is when we compromise on the truth, when we compromise on what really matters, when we trade away the elements of life, of what we really want, of who we really are, and we confine ourselves to live with less. We confine ourselves to live in exile of the life that we actually want to live.
of the life and expression of who we really are. And if we realize we're doing this to ourself, even though that can be a very difficult realization, it's also the most liberating realization we can possibly have. Because if we're the ones doing it to ourselves, if we're the responsible ones, we're also the ones who have the ability to do something different.
We're also the ones with the capability to fix it, to make different choices. To make choices from a different place, to choose to do something different, to choose to live differently, to choose to be differently. This is all up to us. And even though if we have this realization that compromise has corroded or diluted our life down in uncomfortable and unwanted ways, we're the ones who can choose to do something different.
We're the ones who can choose to choose the truth. We're the ones who can choose. To honor the truth, we're the ones who can choose to live and express the truth, because no one can do it for us. No one can express our truth for us. We're the ones that have to do it. Ultimately, a well lived life is ours to live.
It can't be lived through anyone or anything else. Sometimes it can be really difficult to sit with the realization, to have the realization that the problems in our life, the challenges in our life, the dissatisfaction in our life, The strife in our life ultimately is because of us. It's because of the choices that we've made.
That feeling, that sense of self blame can be overwhelming. It can feel absolutely terrible, but it's important to not get too caught up in this. It's important enough to not be. Unfair and ungracious about ourselves. It's important to really look at the fact of, and really ask ourselves, were we doing the best we possibly could with what we knew?
That if we've gained some new awareness and now have called into question either what we've done or why we've done it, it's important to not judge ourselves too critically. Because on one hand, that obviously feels really bad. But on the other more important hand, that actually cuts us off from learning, that cuts us off from growing, that if we find too much guilt and shame over our own past mistakes, that can keep us from ever really being able to transcend them, ever really being able to learn what our mistakes are trying to teach us, to really be able to see what life is being able to show us, to really be able to continue along the path that we're actually on, that we can stunt our own growth But judging ourselves too harshly and too critically, is whenever there's shame involved, hiding comes right along with it.
Prickly feeling of shame. It's something we never want to feel, and we'll go to great lengths to avoid it, and we'll work to store away whatever causes these feelings to come up, never really looking at ourselves, never really looking at what we did, trying to obscure it, trying to avoid it, trying to deny it, trying to forget it, but all of this avoidance just separates us from growth, from learning, from evolving, from being able to find the good in these mistakes.
Because as long as we feel guilt and shame, these mistakes will always be labeled and considered and handled as bad. We'll never allow them to find their good, to find their use, to find their value. We'll never allow our mistakes to transmute into the positive, into growth and learning. into helping us be more, helping us do more, helping us know more, that we squander the value, we sabotage ourselves.
By not allowing ourselves to learn from mistakes, by separating ourselves from the growth and the awareness that we really want. It's kind of like, if one day we step on a scale, and the number on that scale is much higher than we expected, maybe it's 10 higher, maybe it's 30 higher, maybe it's 100 higher, whatever it is, that's shock.
Can be absolutely overwhelming because all at once we're forced to confront ourselves. We're forced to confront our choices We're forced to confront reality instead of being able to deceive and delude ourselves That things are different than they actually are These deep realizations about ourselves can kind of be like that kind of a splash of cold water in the face the cold water of truth the cold water of reality and it's important to be able to Absorb these encounters with reality to be able to have these experiences of the truth Because ultimately this will be what leads us to where we want to go This will be what creates the ground state for whatever we're trying to achieve whatever we're trying to live whatever we're trying to experience Ultimately, a good life is grounded in the truth, but in order to get there, we have to be willing to face the truth first.
We have to be willing to see the truth. We have to be willing to acknowledge the truth. We have to be willing to integrate the truth. We have to be willing to live the truth. And again, sometimes this can be very difficult, especially this can be difficult if we realize that we're the ones who have harmed ourselves.
That we are the ones who have negatively affected and impacted our own life, our own experience. But again, the truth in this realization is that if we are the ones who have created something, we are also the ones who can create something new, who can create something different. We don't have to wait for anyone else, we don't have to wait for some divine solution to be delivered from some other, from some...
Person, place, or thing. We can change now. We can decide now. We can choose to do something different now. Because if we're the ones who've created our past, then we're the ones who will create our future as well. That's a beauty. of recognizing this accountability. That's the beauty of recognizing and accepting this responsibility is that we're the ones who can change.
We're the ones who can create change. We're the ones who can ultimately live change because we are the ones who decided to do something different. We're the ones who decided to accept reality. We're the ones who decided to accept the truth. And now that we're working with reality and the truth, Now we can really get somewhere.
Now we can really do something because now we can do something that's actually real Because it's based on and grounded and imbued with the truth We've gone through the shock and the pain of shattering our own illusions our own Delusions our own nonsense our own fabrications and are actually connected with what is Actually connected with what's real can actually honor acknowledge the truth.
And again, we can choose to do this whenever we wish. We can choose to confront this whenever we wish. We can choose to avoid this however long we want. But ultimately, if it's a full life we seek, ultimately, if it's a good life we seek, we have to integrate truth. We have to face the truth. There's no way around it.
And if that means resolving our conflicts with the truth, if that means resolving our conflicts with ourselves, if that means letting go of... Harsh judgments and the shame and the recriminations that we delivered upon ourselves because of past choices And that means it's probably time to let those things go.
It's probably time to accept ourselves It's probably time to find a little bit of grace for ourselves You realize we were doing the best we could under whatever circumstances that existed at the time. And if we have new ideas now, if we have new values now, if we have new ways of doing things now, well then that's the opportunity to do something different now.
We don't have to drag our past into our present. To then influence our future. We can live our present from who and what we really are now. So if we look at our life and we see a life where compromise has been over applied, overly relied on, has been too much of a go to for us, we can choose to make different choices.
We can choose to perhaps find a little bit more courage. We can choose... defined and be able to create some better boundaries. We can choose to have a little more self confidence, a little bit more dignity, a little bit more self respect that we know who and what we really are and who and what we really are is worthy of being is worthy of being expressed.
It doesn't need to be compromised away from doesn't need to be diluted down. We can find the balance point. We can find. A way to construct and live a healthy relationship with compromise while also learning not to over apply it. Not choosing to lean on and apply compromise when it really doesn't serve us, when it really just stands to make ourselves smaller, when it really just stands to make our life smaller, when it really just amounts to less for the sake of less.
Sometimes it's important to choose more. Sometimes it's important to choose greater. Sometimes it's important to choose fullness because anything less than fullness wouldn't be the truth. And we do get to choose. We can choose to make different choices whenever we wish. But if we look at our life and we realize, we acknowledge, that our life is just too small.
That we've made choices, we've compromised in places we should not have compromised. That we've traded away things we shouldn't have traded away. That we've acquiesced. That we should have held on, that we've given up when we should have tried, that we've quit when we should have persisted, that we went along when we should have gone against.
If these are realizations we've had, we can choose to do differently. We can choose to live differently. We can choose to be different. And it's these awareness that can help us do so. Because otherwise, how would we know? How would we ever have this awareness if we weren't aware of the opposite first? How would we ever learn and grow if we were never aware of what was stunting and harming our growth?
If we weren't aware of what was getting in the way of our learning? Sometimes the obstacles are the necessary precursors to the progress, and we can choose to find healthy ways to apply compromise, and we can choose, and we can learn, we can decide when it's most appropriate to not apply compromise, when it's most appropriate to not give in, when it's most appropriate to not give up, to not give up on life, to give up on ourselves.
Do you give up on what we really want? If we realize that we're not living the full life we actually want to live, because we ourselves have negotiated and traded it away, then we can make different choices. We can stop doing that, we can learn to honor ourselves, we can learn to respect ourselves, we can learn to express ourselves, and find our way to a full life through not compromising when we shouldn't.