The art of compromise can be difficult, especially if we don’t realize that a compromise is needed. Sometimes, though, awareness that an accommodation or middle ground is necessary can be a touchstone for a day’s meditation. It can provide an external reference point. How so? With the recognition that compromise would be a healthy move in a given situation, a framework of adjustment is established. In other words, a knowledge that hmmm… my way of thinking about this issue may not be the only way to think about it… gives us an opportunity to treat other situations differently than we typically might. Which, in turn, can be used throughout any given day to experience a different perspective.
Here’s an example:
My husband and I use natural flea and tick repellents on our dogs and in our home. Fleas are not an easy thing to deter in South Florida. Natural remedies involve a lot of vacuuming, washing towels and bedcovers, and using essential oils to deter the little critters. I could go on, but I’ll spare you. Yet, the fleas still come. My response? I get stuck in the “I must get rid of these fleas using only natural products because it is the healthiest thing to do for both human and animal” mindset. This can go on for (ahem) months. Stuck. I get stuck.
One night around 2:00 a.m. when our labradoodle was itching loudly waking up both Scott and I, my husband asked me, “Kelly, where’s the compromise?” There was no emotion in his voice. Just a simple question.
It was an adjustment. A re-boot. An external reference point. My mind immediately developed another frame of reference. I’ve carried this new frame of reference with me over the past several weeks. It has become a touchstone. I began to look for, around, and under those compromises because I don’t want to be stuck. Or, if I am going to be stuck, I want to recognize it. Thus far, I’ve learned two things:
1) The greatest compromise may lie within ourselves. And,
2) If a lot of emotion is involved in a situation in which middle ground is trying to be reached, a personal agenda may be lurking in the background.
The first lesson, accepting what is, is an internal job. Isn’t a big part of compromising a willingness to allow something to be a way other then what it currently is or that we think it should be? So, maybe inherent in taking the middle road is adjustment and acceptance. The acceptance within ourselves that we haven’t failed or done something wrong if we think something should be a certain way. Yet, it just isn’t. I haven’t failed if, try as I might, the natural flea remedies aren’t doing the job. Adjustment. Frame of reference. I live in South Florida. The uber-flea capital of the world. (Yeah, there is emotion in that exaggerated sentence.) Silly as it may seem (it does to me, anyway) to use fleas as an example, I think this can be extrapolated to many areas in our lives. I know it can in my life.
The second thing I’ve learned is that I should first examine my reasons for considering (or not considering) a compromise in any situation in life. If strong emotions are involved or attached to the situation, I may be operating from a personal agenda. If I am operating from a personal agenda, emotion may be driving my response rather than reason or facts.
In other words, maybe taking the middle road is comprised of both compromise and acceptance. A compromise between parties or situations and an acceptance between parties and within the individual. Compromise can bring us back to an external reference point, a touchstone, and an opportunity to see things from a different perspective.