I suspect many of you will not agree with what I say here and that’s OK. It works for me and I offer it as another perspective. Hopefully it will trigger some thinking and new ideas that you can benefit from.
In general I’m against compromise, especially in one’s personal life. I think compromise is bad and I think it’s generally bad for all parties involved in the compromise. Compromise often means a short-term “feel better” solution that leads to long-term disaster. Compromise to “keep the peace” is just about the worst thing you can do because you simply avoided the battle that could have prevented a much bigger war later.
I think Ayn Rand said it better than anyone:
“In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit. In that transfusion of blood which drains the good to feed the evil, the compromiser is the transmitting rubber tube.”
A husband went to his wife and told her that he was taking her car shopping that weekend. Their financial situation was very good and he wanted to buy her a new car. She had been thinking about a Mini Cooper and so she researched them and decided that was the car she wanted.
At the Mini Cooper Dealer that weekend, the wife noticed that her husband was very distant and uninterested. She was very excited and really liked the car and the dealer. She asked him what was wrong and he said nothing but they needed to look at a few other types of cars before they bought.
Her husband took her to another dealer and showed her a different car. Here he was very exited and talked animatedly about all the features and benefits of this particular make and model. It was obvious to her that he had already decided this was the car she should get. She much preferred the Mini Cooper but she wanted to “keep the peace” and make her husband happy. She didn’t have the energy to fight the battle. So she got his choice in a car.
Every time she got in the car to drive it, the memory of that day came back. This was NOT the car she wanted. It ate away and gnawed at her. It made her mad at herself that she was weak and gave in to avoid a conflict. It consumed her and she finally broke down and discussed it with her husband. They eventually traded in the car and got a Mini Cooper. Did her agreeing to a car she didn’t want help her or her husband? Absolutely not! I’m sure that her feelings affected their relationship and harmed him in subtle ways that he or she never knew.
Many years ago some of my friends and I were making plans for a poker game that night. This is something we did about once a month. A casual friend was in the room and expressed interest. I could tell he was very interested and I invited him. He said he needed to “ask his wife”. Later he told me he couldn’t go. I asked “Why? Do you have other plans?” He said “No, she just doesn’t want me to go.”
I went ballistic. I refuse to live my life that way or partake in that kind of relationship. Here was an experience of bonding and fun that he wanted to enjoy and he sacrificed it to feed the petty preferences of his wife. He agreed for no reason other than to keep the peace. He died a tiny bit that day and I’m sure he dies a tiny bit more every day. I say that because I was around him enough to observe their relationship dynamics. I don’t care what he thinks. He’s pissing away his long-term happiness.
I will never understand why you would want people you love to miss out on something that they want. You and those you love only get one chance at life. There are no do-overs. I’m happy when the people I care about are happy. How does it hurt me for them to do something they want to do that I don’t? It doesn’t. It helps me and makes our relationships stronger and better. When the people involved in a relationship are are independent, happy, and fulfilled, you have a stronger relationship. They are better people and bring more to the relationship. Sacrifice creates bitterness and resentment. Those two attitudes are poisons to a relationship.
If your partner wants to do something that you don’t want to do, don’t try to stop them. Do the opposite. Encourage them to go without you. Tell them to go with a friend or to go alone. Don’t make the mistake of going along just to make them happy. You can’t hide your feelings. If you don’t want to go then don’t. You will both be better off, no matter what you think at the moment.
I love to go to movies in a big stadium theater with the giant screen and sophisticated sound. To me the experience is entirely different, even with a quality home theater system. My wife doesn’t like to go to movies very much. She likes to watch them on DVD at home. Our taste in movies is often quite different too. Do I drag her to the theater to watch movies she doesn’t want to see? No. I’ve gone to a thousand movies by myself or sometimes with my daughter or a friend. Is this a problem between us? No. In fact when she thinks I’m obsessing over something at my computer she encourages me to go to a movie. This is a win-win.
I’ve taken vacations and trips without my wife and visa versa because our interests were not always the same. Most of our trips are together but not all. I know many people who want to experience a place but don’t because their spouse doesn’t want to go there. Who said all your travels had to be together? This is a poison that will eat away at you if you don’t fix it. I don’t want to go spend a week at her sister’s house so I don’t go. In a couple of months she’s going to her sister’s and I’m going to the mountains.
Many people who know me think I’m quirky and have some weird ideas. They often express surprise that I’ve been married for 29 years and make comments that my wife must be a “saint”. Well maybe she is, but that is not the secret. Good relationships among friends, family, and lovers come from strong independent people who trust and respect one another.
Even if you think you know what’s best for your friend, your partner, or even your children, you can’t impose it upon them. You need to let them discover it for themselves. Further, you might be wrong. You are not them. You can’t live their life anymore than they can live yours. Do together what you both want to do and do separately what you you don’t.
Freedom is beautiful and wonderful experience. The whole world is a mass of people trying to control one another. A lack of tolerance and respect for individual freedom leads to a world full of hatred, wars, and genocide. It is through the structures of culture that allow people control each other that these evils develop and manifest. I live an a relatively free society still. My neighborhood has people of many different cultures, beliefs, and backgrounds living peacefully and happily amongst one another. The reason is because there is very little way for us to control each other. We each go about our lives as we please doing what we each want separately and doing together as a community to what we all have in common. Where conflict does arise, it is always through some mechanism of control; the lowest level often being the neighborhood association. Even that tiny bit of control begins to create conflict.
Strife and intolerance come into play where there is a mechanism for control. It is usually through political power. Where Muslim and Christians have the right to worship as they each see fit, there is little conflict. Where they have to power to control one another through force, conflict arises. Two major areas of control are politics and relationships. The less power, the more harmony.
It is far better to alternate decision making opportunities rather than compromise every one. For an incredibly simple example try this. If you have a date night, alternate who decides where to go or what to do. The other person has no input and provides no negative feedback. I would rather live the edge of my experiences 1/2 the time, than live a watered down version that nobody likes every time. Secondly, you may be surprised and find out that the edge experience of someone else turns out to be an experience of wonderful discovery for you. I recently went to an opera for the first time. I loved it. If you put some creativity into it, you can come up with a million ways to stop compromising your life away.
Do not try to control anyone and don’t let them control you. Think about it. Would you get more mutual pleasure and benefit from a caged bird or one who freely flies in from the forest and sits on your shoulder when and as he pleases? If you set people free and let them freely fly back to you, you will have a beautiful relationship. You might even be surprised at how often they return.
For those of you who are parents, do the same for your children. Don’t try to pound them into something that you want them to be. They are individual human beings and they are not you. If you control them, you will simply drive them away. Maybe not physically, but you will lose them spiritually. The best thing you can do for them is to show them by example, not by preaching, what a responsible, fulfilled, loving, compassionate, positive human being they can become.
Accept and treasure differences, not just between cultures but all the way down to the most personal relationships of family, friends, and lovers. Don’t trap others in prison walls you erect for them. We will all be far better of as a result. Refuse to let someone else control you. Break free and if your relationship was meant to be, it will be better as a result of being being free. Find out now. Set your own and everyone else’s spirit free.
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