Sometimes to compromise is to betray oneself.
I have recently made the decision to move away from a friendship with someone that I love deeply. I made no announcement. I just took a quiet step back and made a visual disconnection in my mind of my own energy. I connected with my inner peace, put up my protective walls and sat down and had a darn good cry.
I made the decision because, to compromise would have been to betray myself, dishonour my intuition and not show up for myself. It would have been a blatant act of self-disregard. So, at that moment, that exquisite moment, that crossroad moment where all I wanted to do was fall into pattern, accept the emotional cop out and lack of acknowledgement, the diminishing of my feelings, the not holding space, the lack of empathy and the gaping effing hole of unkindness – so that we could continue to be friends. I said, no. I said, “I know my value.”
We start life being taught how to compromise. We are not taught how to stand in our truth. We are not taught that it is okay to stand in our truth. That it is an act of self-love.
By the time, we realise how important personal boundaries are, we have allowed ourselves to be doormats, pushovers and punching bags in the name of love. We have felt disconnected, disrespected and unheard because we don’t know that it’s okay to say no, or to ask for what we want. It’s okay to tell those we love how we need to be comforted.
By the time we acknowledge our enoughness, we have already carried shame and resentment. We have already felt envy, angered and alone.
We are not taught that our conviction comes from a place of love and kindness. Instead we are told these are weaknesses – that conviction must come with loud and brute force. Yet, these are not socially acceptable behaviours, so with no alternative, we compromise. We stuff down our voices, we bite our tongues and we choose polite and acceptable over fair and true to ourselves.
We have a lifetime of accepting standards, actions, love, comforts and behaviors that are lower than what we actually desire.
We have been told for such a long time that it’s better to not upset others, to be agreeable, even to accept emotional abuse. We have been told to accept passive aggressive behaviour. We’ve been told, “… it could be worse, accept unkindness because people are ignorant.” And ignorance makes it okay. We are told to accept abuse in our work places because we should feel lucky to have a job, to accept harassment because it’s ‘boys being boys’. We should accept our morals and ethics being violated, our boundaries pushed and our feelings being hurt because the only alternative is that we run the risk of rejection, abandonment and ridicule.
We run the risk of being alienated, losing friendships and relationships and ultimately being alone. This is what we’re taught.
We have been sold a one size fits all story. One where love will only work if there is compromise. A story that comes with no footnotes, no index, no reference table and no nuance. It’s an easy one sided story to sell because we buy into fear. We don’t want to be alone. Ending relationships sucks – it’s painful. And yet, the less we show up for ourselves the less we believe in ourselves. When we silence ourselves we diminish our value. We lose our enoughness when we quiet our voices. The more we allow trespasses in the name of love, the more disillusioned we become about love.
Now, let’s take this story and add our footnotes and index, lets scribble our non-negotiables in the margins, lets figure out what compromise means to us individually, so that we can know when we will and when we won’t, when we must and when we simply cannot. And when it’s healthy, or when it’s fear based.
Let’s decide what the alternative looks and feels like because we have a choice. In that moment when I said no, I felt empowered, free, calm. I knew that what I was choosing was coming from a place of love and kindness for myself, for my friend.
I felt in sync, in flow as though I wasn’t fighting against my own grain – that I was aligned. I felt relieved – as though the tension, anger and fear that my body had been holding on to for weeks – just left me. I felt heard and I felt valued. I am grateful for this incredible friendship and the lessons that it continues to teach me.
Standing in our truth is knowing we are enough, that we already have all we need, that it all begins within us. It’s knowing that we are deserving of love, joy, kindness, respect and beauty. Knowing our feelings matter – that we matter.
And that to try and compromise our fundamentals is to betray ourselves.
Go with love and kindness into your healing, your love and your truth standing.
For more self-study, The Urban Howl recommends 52 Ways to Live a Kick-Ass Life: BS-Free Wisdom to Ignite Your Inner Badass and Live the Life You Deserve.
Sip a little more: