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Why a Positive Attitude is Important to Reach a Successful Compromise

Brooch with two heartsPHIL: Maude and I have taken compromise to mean giving something up in order to get something else – a form of trading that inevitably involves losses – but on a recent course we gave, one participant said “it’s OK to give to your partner”, and that’s a crucial difference in attitude; that instead of having something taken from you, you’re giving a gift to the other person.

We are social creatures; we need each other to survive (literally), and so we are wired to help and support each other, and we feel good when we do so. Point out to someone they’ve dropped something, or let another driver go first, and you get a little buzz of pleasure from it.

But when we feel deprived in some way, taking in order to fill that void is a natural reaction. Many people grew up feeling a lack of sorts – not enough attention, the love was conditional, a sibling outshone us, our achievements were ignored or dismissed. Even if we didn’t recognize it at that time, it left a sense of need.

A similar thing happens when we leave home; during the transition from being taken care of to being self sufficient takes time, there is a sense of need, and that manifests as a struggle for resources, whether food or affection or attention or space. It is only as we come to feel complete in ourselves that we are able to recognize that our wants are not imperative; that we will continue to live if they are not met, and the alternative of yielding to the other person has its own pleasure of giving. You might call this a different form of compromise or you might call it something else entirely.

When the two of you are both prepared to yield and make the choice according to the strength of each other’s desire, then the balance sheet of give and take occurs without effort.

MAUDE: In a group review of our most recent course, a discussion developed on the issue of compromise and whether it has a positive side to it. We often refer to the element of compromise that involves the feeling of giving something up.

All too often, people practice “giving in” to keep the peace. There are two aspects of this attitude that are important to realize. The first is that there is no true element of giving when “giving in”. I am reminded of a quote I often think of in viewing this kind of behavior, “There is no sacrifice in service.”

The second aspect is that “giving in to keep the peace” does not create peace. In fact, it results, quite often, in the opposite. When one person in a relationship feels like they have to repeatedly give in and give up their wants or needs, it very often creates a sense of hardship. That person is left holding onto a feeling of loss. “I gave up on what I wanted to avoid arguments.” This can build up over time to a deep feeling of resentment and often results in an explosive and out of proportion response to a later situation.

During our course review, one of the participants brought up a different aspect that shows the possibility of compromise as a potentially positive path. This option involves a very different attitude. It is one of true giving, as directly opposed to giving up. He emphasized that if you have an attitude of love, and feel that agreeing with even competing wants or needs is a gift, something that gives you pleasure to offer, then this too can give you a sense of peace and goodness. If there is really no build-up of a sense of loss, this type of compromise may truly bring a feeling of closeness and mutuality as well. It’s still important to realize that, even with a different attitude, one person should not always be taking this position or it still results in imbalance and will ultimately produce resentment.

An alternative to compromise that we teach is a process to find new decisions and solutions which express a mutuality; these offer an idea that does not involve giving something up, but rather creates something which satisfies both people. In this process both parties experience the “we” in their relationship, the place where they are in harmony. I described this in a recent blog:

…the clear understanding that you are both on the same side; that there is a ‘we’ that has real substance.

Here, as with so many things, your attitude and your intention are all important. Regardless of how you handle disagreements, if you are both looking for ways to find a positive peace, not an absence of discord, you will enjoy much richer and fulfilling relationships.

Photo credit: Phil Mayes
Photo note: Brooch that Phil’s father gave his mother.

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Successful Relationship Reading Corner


Books on shelfThis week, we asked why a positive attitude is important to reach a successful compromise. Here are some other writers on how to compromise in your relationships.

7 Ways Learning To Compromise Improves All Your Relationships “No matter the resolution of the compromise, make sure you show your appreciation to others involved. Being willing to compromise, instead of fighting until the finish, is an admirable trait. Make sure you show how much you appreciate the other person working with you to find the best solution. Take time to evaluate the solution together and express what you like about it. Being appreciative of the positive social interaction and how working together to find the best solution made you feel.”

Compromise in relationships: 12 secrets to bending instead of breaking “Compromise is an “intermediate state between conflicting alternatives reached by mutual concession. This is the positive side of compromise- when you meet in the middle. The goal is that the compromise is mutually beneficial – that you gain, not lose, through the concession. Each partner should be happy with the outcome.”

Here’s What Compromise Looks Like In A Healthy Relationship “Compromise doesn’t mean you completely agree with your partner or vice versa—it’s healthy to maintain your personal values, beliefs, opinions, and preferences while still meeting halfway. If you’re poking around the internet, you may stumble on reddit relationship advice that’s adamant that compromise is a dirty word, but healthy compromise is simply about finding a balance and bridging the gap so both partners feel heard, understood, and can agree to an effective solution. In the long run, this balance will lead to a healthier relationship and positive growth. In each relationship, both people have to determine how they want to compromise on various issues while staying true to their authentic selves. They can:
- Find a new alternative to the conflicting issue
- Find a solution that blends both people’s preferences
- Find a way for you both to maintain your preference in a peaceable setting” 

We're Giving Another Pilot Course

We are trying a new format; this time on a weekend, with two sessions on Saturday and the third on Sunday. Click here to register: Check it out!

Online Course July 9-10, 2022

In this online course, attendees will learn:
  • How to recognize your core values and why they are so important
  • How to honor individuality within relationships
  • How to transform your relationships through total acceptance
  • How to find mutual solutions when making decisions and dealing with problems
This online course breaks down the details of how you can achieve this in three separate sessions taught over two days. Each session is about 90 minutes long.

Day 1: Saturday July 9, 2022

Session 1: 9:00 AM PDT looks at Core Values and how they are fundamental to your relationship
Session 2: 2:00 PM PDT explores individuality and total acceptance.

Day 2: Sunday July 10, 2022

Session 3: 2:00 PM PDT is their process for creating mutual solutions rather than fighting and arguing.

Follow-up meeting:

Saturday July 16, 2022 at 9 AM PDT

This is the second pilot course that we are offering in order to refine and improve the experience. This gives you the opportunity to participate in the course at a greatly reduced price! In exchange, we ask for feedback as we go. Participation is limited, so reserve your spot now.

The content of this course can be applied to all relationships. Your participation is welcomed regardless of your particular situation: you can come as a couple, a single, one member of a couple, or someone who wants to improve family, friendship or partner relationships.

This course will be given on Zoom and the time zone is Pacific Daylight Time. If you are unfamiliar with this format, please contact us after registering to get any issues handled in advance. Participants will receive a recording of the sessions.

Click here to register:

Spreading peace one relationship at a time
Phil and Maude
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