“Oh, what I do to keep peace in my relationship!” This was the frequent refrain of a dear friend, and when asked further what he meant by that, he explained “Well it seems I’m always giving something up to keep my partner happy. Often, when we disagree on how or when or where to go or what changes to make, I seem to give up my point of view, or most of what I want, to keep her happy. To be fair, she does the same. It just seems to be a constant tug of war, with one of us the winner and one of us the loser.”
This experience of compromise is one that many people seem to have; they feel they must give up something to get something else.
Recently we were talking with another friend about our latest book, and she asked us what it is we do rather than compromising in our relationship. She wanted to know if there really is a difference in our approach to solving problems and finding solutions.
Last week we concluded our 3-part article on the Spectrum of Acceptance by discussing how to reach a mutual solution. When we talk about this, people often think we must compromise in some way because they can’t imagine any other way of behaving in a relationship. Surely this is what reasonable people do? They trade off and make sure that over the long run, it balances out so as to be fair to both sides. No! Compromising is giving something up; how can you repeatedly be doing that and still live a fulfilled life? It’s a consequence of a mindset of limited resources and competition between people.
Instead of compromising in your relationship, believe in the unlimited nature of what can be #quote Click To TweetThe first element of a different approach is to believe that another way exists. When approaching your mate with the desire to find mutual solutions and decisions, it is very important to be able to delve inside and understand the why of your position. It helps tremendously to work independently on yourself and continue to get to know yourself better. This enhances being able to share your why and wherefore with your love, which in turn adds so much more to the ability to create new and mutual solutions.
When these factors are present, you can have a different and wonderfully satisfying experience. One in which there is no giving up anything, but rather where you come together, pooling what each of you has and co-creating together an outcome that did not exist before.
This place of creating presumes certain basic elements. You are coming from a belief in the unlimited nature of what can be, rather than from an attitude of limited resources and possibilities. When the assumption is that there is only a limited number of choices, then there can’t help but be a struggle for acquiring control, an attitude of competition. When things are approached from a feeling of shortage, this leads to the aspect of compromise which feels like things are being divvied up.
Replace that instead by the ideas that life is cooperation not competition, that there are more possibilities than you’ve thought of, that it’s quite likely that your current choice is not the best there is, and that changing your mind shows adaptability, not weakness. When your partner can play and explore in the same way, it becomes a puzzle game, not a struggle.
Sharing your wants and goals with each other does several things. It often makes your wants clear to you when they were formerly fuzzy. It gives your partner insight into how you feel and changes their relation to the situation. It gives them ideas to work with. It creates intimacy between you.
When you can let go of knowing in advance what you want the outcome to be, and when you can adopt an attitude of non-attachment coupled with mindfulness, then there is no limit to what becomes possible.
In this climate, you can actually partake of the sacred experience of co-creating new and different possibilities for your mutual enjoyment and profound satisfaction. The sense of competition disappears. These shared possibilities are like flashlights in the dark, helping you explore until your paths cross at a place that has no hint of compromise.