Once we are school aged we are often aware that there are some things we need to do to fit in. Some of those are fine things to require. There is a place for order.
Some people comply and “fit in” more easily than others and that has always been the case for any number of reasons. It always depends on the “group” needs and goals. As we get older and enter the work force we typically want to fit into the work culture yet also stand out in a way that shows our contributions are unique and beneficial to the team.
There is a delicate balance to fitting in yet standing out.
But don’t be too surprised when the qualities, strengths, and perspectives that comprise you are not appreciated by everyone. If you are in a work environment that does not appreciate integrity and honesty, you might need an exit strategy. If you volunteer for an agency that asks you to compromise your core values, find a better fit. If you serve on a church board that does not behave in a healthy way, step away. While it is true you can change a system from the inside, it cannot be done singlehandedly. Sometimes the culture of a system is unhealthy and fighting against something so ingrained is like beating your head against a wall.
But don’t forget to look inward and evaluate if you are being too hard-nosed about things that may not really matter. Even though we may be wired a bit differently and may approach a task differently than the next person, it can be a matter of preference. And the difference in approach is what makes life and relationships interesting.
If you know someone who is working hard not to compromise their core values, be supportive by praying for a better fit for them. Be willing to listen as they process and brainstorm. Give them the gifts of encouragement and laughter and unconditional love.
On the Road,
Compromise happens at work, at home, in friendships, at church, and driving during rush hour…you have a place you are trying to get to and someone barrels in with their plan. Do you cause an accident or let them merge?
Everyone must be willing to compromise in some areas but determining when it is appropriate is so tricky! There are also times when compromise shouldn’t happen and that is equally as important. Some personalities love to be in charge and being willing to concede is extraordinarily painful for them but all the more necessary. Other personalities so desire peace (or acceptance, etc.) that they are open to compromising too much and that can cause problems. Who you are and who you are dealing with are very important things to consider in this business of compromise in addition to “the compromise” itself.
Does your compromise actually stand in the way of what you hope to achieve? Are there fears and regrets in the middle of the compromise? Are you surrendering your better judgement or core values? Some things are really not that important and other things can change the course of your life…forever.
So what if you find yourself in a situation where you have compromised a little too much, are experiencing regret, and are having a difficult time getting back to “the line in the sand” you had previously established? Maybe establishing “the line” wasn’t important previously but as you grow and mature you see the benefit from having a boundary. Ponder the situation. Pray about the situation. If your heart is restless, I would guess that the compromise you struggle with is probably more than should have been surrendered. Sometimes you can ask yourself “How do I wish this situation looked right now?” and that might give you a clue to what you should be working towards. Have you talked it over with a trusted and wise friend? Have you visited with a trained counselor?
Boundaries can change over time and there are times they definitely should. Consider a parent who is in charge of their child’s every day. Typically, the day will come when that child moves away. Has the parent given them wings to fly when the time comes by allowing the child (young adult, adult) increasing opportunity to make decisions and grow in being responsible for themselves? This is tricky business for parents but it can also be difficult at work, as you volunteer, and in many other relationships. Too much compromise can lead to regret and anger and an unsettling feeling. Too little compromise can lead to relationship challenges.
Pray for those you see compromising too much. Pray for those who are too often unyielding to ideas that don’t come from their own mind. Both extremes have their challenges. Spend some time thinking about your life and your compromises. If you are struggling with regret, seek God’s forgiveness. If you are struggling with anger, seek God’s peace.