Friday, February 19, 2016

Compromise As A Gift

Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change we seek.
-Barack Obama

When we think of the word compromise, we often think of it in a negative sense. In relationships compromise can be necessary. This is not a compromise of the self, but a noticing and an awareness of the other as separate from us and also that there is great importance to valuing the other as equally important as we are. I don`t know about you but it can be difficult for me to find that beautiful dance between honoring myself and honoring my partner or any relationship. Partners can be more difficult because it is a daily living continual dance. 

I had an experience recently where my partner had a day where he was in his own space and it seemed to me that he wasn`t able that day to be in an emotional space in which the two of us could occupy space. This happens to all of us at times. I think this becomes a problem when it happens most of the time. That day I was very aware of how I didn`t experience him as able to be in partnership with me and that he wasn`t aware of it. He was making decisions about things where I was a part of the activities, and yet, he was making decisions independently as if I wasn`t part of the dance. He was dancing solo, so to speak. I can say that I am sure there are times when the table is turned and I am unaware of the twosome in my mind and get stuck in things being about me. The key word here is unaware. This is another example of how awareness is so important in all aspects of our lives. 

How does compromise come into this picture? In this particular instance, if he wasn`t thinking about how his ideas and desires impacted me, and so there was no discussion, he didn`t have to compromise on what he wanted to do. If a discussion about how to do something, or the best timing for the both of us ensued, then he might have had to make an adjustment on his immediate desires. This is just one example. Certainly I am taking compromise here to an elemental level and many times it is much more complicated. 

Here is a bigger example. Recently my husband and I were deciding to move. In actuality, I was deciding it was time to make a move to another house. I had wanted to move for about three years and it was clear he was not ready and didn`t want to. I began to look at pictures of homes for sale online and looked every day. Last year I told him that it was time for me to move. I wanted to move within a few months. He reluctantly agreed to move but that it would take a year or more, not a few months. In this back and forth exchange which we engaged in for quite awhile, we learned quite a lot about ourselves and each other. I was ready for a change and wanted some things in my home which I hadn`t had up to this point. He was satisfied with how things were. In such a situation, what do you do? How do you listen to yourself and respect yourself and your needs and also the other? We did it slowly, with hems and haws, with some anger and difficulty, with new understandings of each other, and lots of back and forth and were able to come up with something that respected us both. In fact, the process took about a year, which when I look at even the timing, took both of us into account. In the end, we found a house we both like, which addresses my needs and also the needs of his in terms of his personal needs and professional needs. 

Compromise is not such a good thing when one person gives up on something important to them. It is an important task to recognize what is important and invaluable to you and about who you are and to listen to this in the face of others who may not be able to see, hear, or want those very things which to you are essential. When we are growing up many times we were not seen and heard in crucial and essential ways and we ended up letting go of aspects of ourselves. Each time we see that old and necessary part of us and reclaim it becomes an invaluable part of our growth to being aware, whole and vital people in relationship with ourselves, with others and with life itself.

Shift Your Story/Shift your Life:

Sit down and get yourself comfortable. Breath deeply a couple of times and close your eyes. Take a journey down memory lane to a time and place where you gave up something important to yourself. What was going on at the time? Who is in the picture? What do you see and hear and feel? Use as many senses as possible to re-look at an old scene. How do you feel or how did you feel at the time? What was going on that was so strong inside of you that you made a conscious or unconscious decision at that time to let go of something important to you or about you? Just be with it….there is nothing to do. Remember that part you gave up and take it in and let it breathe inside of you as if it was your own child….in a way it is your own child. It is your first child. How does it feel inside of you? Be with it. Now start slowly coming to the present time in your life and as you travel with your eyes still closed, feel it with you. Imagine this part of you, this reclaimed part being with you today in yourself and in relationship to others around you. See you in your minds eye keeping it close to you even when you might be tempted to let it go. Even with what is going on presently, it is with you. Breathe into it again and become aware of your body and your feet and your chair, and slowly open your eyes. 


If you feel like it, write down your experience and keep it close to you for a couple of weeks until it feels more part of you again.