Morality Of Compromise

“The “morality of compromise” sounds contradictory. Compromise is usually a sign of weakness, or an admission of defeat. Strong men don’t compromise, it is said, and principles should never be compromised. I shall argue that strong men, conversely, know when to compromise and that all principles can be compromised to serve a greater principle.” ~Charles Handy, The Age of Paradox …

The culture and society we live in does not value compromise. We see spouses who control each other and demand things to go by their rules, and politicians who refuse to compromise with members of the other parties. We find athletes, artists, and performers who refuse to compromise on their salaries, and pacifists who refuse to compromise their beliefs even when faced with abhorrent wickedness and immorality such as the slaughter of innocent children. Perhaps it originates from our view that compromise is “a sign of weakness, or an admission of defeat,” However, compromise is no such thing. Strong men know when and how to compromise without weakening their morality. And as Charles aptly puts it, “they know that all principles can be compromised to serve a greater principle.”

It is true that we should never compromise our principles. But it is also true, that if we are men of character, we can compromise without putting our principles in jeopardy. In fact, it is often times our ability to compromise that can strengthen our purpose the most. Compromise makes our lives richer by allowing us to see more clearly how other individuals see life. By recognizing the validity of each individual’s perspective of life, I allow myself to see life in a whole new way.

As a husband and father, I have learned a lot about such compromise from my wife and kids. Since we are all unique individuals, we all carry with us our own unique perspective. And with every passing day, I have learned how to make helpful and positive compromises within my relationships… compromises that have helped them to become stronger and much richer.

When we allow ourselves to be open to compromise, we enhance our lives. We see things in new ways, fostering mutual respect for one another. We also find that our perspective of situations–and life in general–becomes much clearer.

Be open to compromise for a greater principle or purpose today.

Questions to consider:

What are some of the negative views of compromise? Why do we see them as such?

Why do we often see compromise as a sign of weakness, or equate the concept with that of conflict?

Why do we often find it so difficult to allow ourselves to compromise?

For further thought:

“Compromise, if not the spice of life, is its solidity. It is what makes nations great and marriages happy.” ~Andrew Carnegie


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Filed under Commentary, Food For Thought, Living, Opinion

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