May 11     

Today's quotation:

People talk about the middle of the road as though it were unacceptable.  Actually, all human problems, excepting morals, come into the gray areas.  Things are not all black and white.  There have to be compromises.  The middle of the road is all of the usable surface.  The extremes, right and left, are in the gutters.

Dwight D. Eisenhower

Today's Meditation:

I miss compromise.  In our society of today, it seems to be a dead art, something from the past, especially in the political and business worlds.  Nowadays, the only way that something should be done is my way, and if you're not on board with my way, then I need to fight against you to make sure that I get my way.  This approach guarantees that we don't learn from each other any more, that we don't come up with solutions that are acceptable to both of us.  Instead, one of us is going to be happy, while the other will feel anger, frustration, and resentment.

Where does this lack of compromise come from?  Why are we so unwilling to acknowledge that our way may not be the only or the best way?  Is it fear that people will see us as being wrong if we let others contribute to what we do?  Is it arrogance?  Is it that we feel disdain for anyone who disagrees with us?  Are we afraid that another person's input will cause failure, and that we'll be blamed?  Most of us compromise all the time over the little things-- which restaurant to eat at, when to start the new project, how big the new desk will be, which color to paint the living room.

When we allow ourselves to listen closely to another person's perspective and ideas, and then to try to incorporate those ideas into our own, we learn an awful lot about whatever it is that we're doing.  Unfortunately, we assign such an artificially high value to so much of what we're doing that we think we need to control every aspect of it, and that allowing someone who disagrees with us to contribute to it would be a failure, pure and simple.  But it wouldn't be.  Compromise says, "I respect you, and I value your contribution, even if I disagree with you, even if I see the world in ways that are different than yours."

When we finally recognize that no one's perspective is one hundred percent accurate or right, then we'll also realize that compromise between people is important if we're ever going to develop stronger communities and societies.  Our unwillingness to acknowledge another person's strengths and talents contributes only to the stress and the strife, and our goal on this planet should be to contribute to the unity and the love and the compassion.

Questions to consider:

Why are so many people so unwilling to compromise on so many things?

What are some of the benefits of compromise?

How might we make sure that we're ready and willing to compromise with others when it really matters?

For further thought:

It is through our extended family that we first learn to compromise and come to an understanding that even if we don't always agree about things we can still love and look out for each other.

Sara Sheridan

more on compromise

 

  

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