"School of life" -
Compromise vs. Compromising Your True Self
This is in fact, simple and straightforward. Each and every one of us has only one life. Your life is not a dress rehearsal; it is not a preparatory exercise for something greater or better. This is IT! There is only one life. Although I do believe that a part of us lives on forever one thing is certain, and that is that you will never again exist as you are now, at this precise point in time and place. Moreover, there has never been and there never will be someone else quite like you. You are a unique, powerful, creational being made to enjoy your own lovingness.
So, what is it you wish to do – simply survive, get from one day to the next or live your life to the full?
Do you want to treat your life as something you do in passing, some task you need to get out of the way or would you rather reach below the surface and breathe in your own loving creation?
Believe me, there is no middle way! Either you are aware of the noble quality of your life's journey and the possible gifts it brings or not. If you aren't, it's simply because you are unwilling to look at what is beneath the surface... So, let us begin….
In one of the previous chapters we treated ourselves to a cocktail of gratitude, marvel and pleasure. In order for this cocktail to stay in your system for as long as possible, I would now like you to consider the difference between making compromises and compromising your true self.
Many people say they would like to lead happier lives but are not able to because life is full of compromises and therefore they have to forgo certain things. Obviously, they themselves are top of the list of things to give up on! Let me make this clear, you are giving up on and disowning yourself when you put the needs of the people you cannot and need not satisfy before your own. Doing that is not only ugly, but not at all called for. Apparently, the easiest thing to do seems to be to discard and reject who you are. Actually, you are often encouraged to do so both by the people closest to you and the outside world. It turns out that the easiest thing to do is suppress your own wishes, dreams, passions….Until you reach the point when you forget they were ever there in the first place. You may be convinced that happiness is to be found in meeting the needs and expectations of others but, you know, no one in the entire history of mankind has ever managed it? Now, are you still wondering why you are not happy?
Maybe you have never given much thought to the difference between normal, rational and healthy compromises on the one hand and the poisonous act of compromising your very essence on the other. Well, now we can consider it together. There is a very clear dividing line between the two. It is determined by the minimum basic requirements we all have with respect to our job, friends, family, acquaintances, partners…. We all assume we would certainly be unhappy if we accepted anything that fell short of these basic requirements, yet we still do it. More often than not, it is because we are not aware of the poisonous consequences that will ensue.
My first piece of advice here is that you should lay down your essential minimum requirements with respect to all the important aspects of your life. Do not hold back. Make a list of all the things that you truly need. For example, my own minimum requirements when it comes to work are flexible working hours, being able to choose with whom and how I work and having the opportunity to work on something that can change people's lives. My minimum requirements when it comes to my partner are somewhat higher – I want her to be independent and not need me to fill some kind of void in her life, I want us to have common values and beliefs, I want her to occasionally give me something I wasn't even aware I wanted, I want her to thrill me by her beauty and be thrilled by mine…The list could go on and on, but the point is that my minimum requirements can go as far as I am prepared to go in meeting the requirements of others. In other words, I should not be asking for what I am not prepared to give for I will certainly not get it. Do you follow me? If you expect total understanding from someone else but you are not capable of giving it to them in return, you are the one who holds the solution to the problem. No wonder you are unable to find an ideal partner if you do not see them in the mirror every day! However, this will be dealt with in another chapter so for the time being, let us concentrate on the difference between compromises and compromising your true self.
Once you have laid down your minimum requirements relating to the essential aspects of your life, be aware that whenever you agree to something that does not meet them, you will not be making a healthy compromise but compromising your very essence. Now, that is a certain path to non-happiness. On the other hand, by agreeing to something that is above your minimum requirements but still does not suit you 100 per cent, you are merely making a normal and healthy compromise which cannot do you any serious harm.
Compromising who you are is tantamount to giving up on all your vital needs and desires and it always, always results in an unhappy life. Seeing as we are all unique, wouldn't it be sad to spend our unique lives being miserable? Let me put it differently – you are too precious to waste your life on anything other than enjoying your own lovingness!
I do not know if I have made myself clear. We are all entitled to certain minimum requirements regarding our own lives. They are the indispensable things we need in the vital areas of our life in order to be happy. I have listed some of my own requirements in order to bring this idea home to you, but also to clarify that it makes sense for your minimal requirements to be commensurate with what you have to offer. This means you cannot ask for unconditional support unless you know how to give it back. It means you can require absolute sincerity only if you are willing to offer it as well. If your minimum requirements exceed what you have to offer, you are bound to be disappointed.
It is only once your own minimum requirements have been met that you have a chance of developing a good relationship with yourself and others, with your job etc. You are ready to enter into healthy compromises, with no resentment or bitterness. Otherwise, if your own minimum requirements remain unmet, you will not be making healthy compromises but compromising your true self in the most poisonous manner possible, thus putting your own life at risk!!! Compromising who you are, knowingly or otherwise, results in the acceptance of things which are bad for you. That in turn, stifles and kills off passion and breeds laziness and lethargy.
Compromises are a necessary part of all our lives. We live surrounded by other people and therefore must necessarily accept certain compromises. That in itself is normal and healthy human behaviour. The problem arises when people start compromising who they are, when they start accepting things which fall far short of their minimum requirements. This is also a sure way of compromising your health. Do you understand? When you turn against yourself, it is only logical for your body to turn against you too!!!
If you have been made to believe that compromising your true self is one of life's necessities, think again. Compromises are a necessity, but compromising who you are is not. No one is forcing you to accept something you know will not make you happy. This is good news, for albeit maybe subconsciously, you were the one who allowed it to happen, which means that you can also choose to stop. You can decide you no longer wish to compromise your life, your essential values, things you truly deserve!
This life is definitely not a dress rehearsal, therefore go ahead and live it to the full!!!
Compromising who you are is extremely widespread and exceptionally toxic. It is therefore one of the key topics of this book, so we shall be coming back to it over and over again. In case I have not yet succeeded in emphasising quite how dangerous and detrimental it can be, I certainly hope I'll manage by the end of this book.