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Compromise

BY MICHAEL REISIG –

Compromise is a term we created to negotiate the cul-de-sacs on the road of life. But while it assists us in moving past roadblocks, it is often the shadowy villain that eats away at our honor and integrity. Sometimes it simply allows us to squint at the ugly things in our lives in such a fashion as to make them sufficiently blurry to be acceptable – a partnership, if you will, with necessary evil. The road to hell is a sloping, often gradual one, and it can be filled with compromises we thought we could live with.

You can be wrong and you can be right, with honor, but that place in the middle – that place littered with seedy politicians, corporate moguls, desperate housewives, and men who flirted with concession on so many levels, is an ugly place to be – we’ve all visited it. Some of us live there. When we sell our soul, it’s rarely for a single price – it’s usually done a coin here and a coin there. Mind you, I’m not saying compromise is a dirty word. It’s just that when you meld it to ambition, it can become an expensive word.

There are places where we make good compromises as well – mutually beneficial, winning situations. Those are the best, followed with a mutual exhale of relief and a sense of peace. But we have to be on guard to compromise – that we don’t become seduced by it, and begin to accept a couple notches below what we know is right, as par for the course. Never confuse it with surrender.

The problem lies in the fact that, the more you are determined to live by your beliefs and stand strong to your convictions, the more often you will find yourself being disparaged by others who feel compromise is a necessary part of social etiquette. Our society today is a strange amalgam of blind accommodation and bitter intransigence – huge segments of our population convinced that ideology knows the answer before the question has been thoroughly presented. No one is looking for compromise, only righteousness.

I think, what we have to do is look at the roadmap of life and examine the realities – be intellectually limber enough accept the places you can compromise without sacrificing integrity or character. Don’t accept a “middle ground” for fundamental rights and beliefs, and never sacrifice integrity or honor for approval. Standards, both in attire and attitude go from vogue to vulgar overnight. When you limit your choices to what is acceptable or reasonable, you disconnect yourself from the exciting possibilities of life, and all that is left is compromise. Don’t ride that train, it’s exhausting and there are too many stops. Be your own person. Be true to what your heart tells you. Compromise only when you are certain the price is not your virtue, and practice courage. Do that, and you won’t find yourself staring at the ceiling fan at night, punishing yourself for the things you could have done in times past.

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