Deep Divisions

We see the need for compromise everywhere. We also see the abyss that looms large between what I want or need and what you want or need. Instead of getting closer to a resolution, the distance between us is increasing every day.

Remember when Dems and Republicans would agree to disagree?

Remember when you could have a differing point of view and not get killed for it on social media?

When your daughter wants the video game and so does your son, what do you do? You teach them to compromise. When you want a night out with dinner at a specific restaurant and the latest rom/com movie and your husband wants something else, what do you do? You pick the restaurant and let him pick the movie, or vice versa. You compromise.

We compromise every day, whether it’s with someone we know or not. As regular citizens, we’re not making world-impacting decisions, but it doesn’t seem too farfetched to apply the same principle of compromising to resolving bigger issues, no? What’s the problem?

The problem is, we’ve become over-invested in getting exactly what we want. We’re no longer looking for the win-win. We want the me win, you lose scenario, especially if we can’t compromise easily and painlessly. Nope, don’t shake your head, “No, I’m not like that.” It has happened more and more over the years … to all of us.

What Brought Us to This Place?

How did we get to this place of “no budging for the good of us all”? It began slowly with an attitude of “Do what makes you happy and screw the rest.” Here is a quote from a 2016 online publication [odyssey] where the “influencer from Ohio” shares:

“When you don’t compromise, you look selfish and conceited; other people think you only care about what makes you happy.

But what’s so wrong with that?

For so long I have struggled to make everyone around me happy without thinking about myself. I put the people I care and love the most before myself, and for a long time I didn’t mind. Within the last couple of years, I have begun to notice that even if I do everything in my power to be there for others, compromise for their sake and do whatever it takes to make them happy, they’ll still find things to complain about. They still aren’t happy with what I give them, and they make me feel like what I’m doing isn’t enough.

So, I’m done compromising.”

This is an example of how we got to where we are today. Another example is when married people resent any of the cabillion compromises required in a successful marriage. Instead of acting in love and integrity, their attitude is “I’m just caving in to keep the peace.” Ensuing resentment builds, and the next time a compromise is needed, one party digs in.

Sometimes in personal relationships compromise does not always resolve conflict. Sometimes the best we can do is agree to disagree. This doesn’t detract from either party’s point of view. However, this doesn’t work when rules, laws, and policies need to be created and adhered to.

Lack of compromising, outside our personal relationships, is taking its toll on our country. Instead of celebrating the willingness to each give a little to benefit the majority, we’re lauded for justifying our reason to stand firm on “my way or the highway.”

You Have a Role

Take a moment to see where compromise fits into your life. Do you resent giving up a part of what you want to satisfy the needs and/or desires of another? If so, what are those circumstances? How far are you willing to go to create a win-win situation?

What can you do in your own life to increase the positive impacts of compromising?

What do you think can be done to close the widening abyss in our political arena? Do you think compromise and similar subjects should be taught in school, or is it up to parents to teach children this skill?