dishonor, give in, imperil, mar, spoil, weaken, whore
There are many ways we compromise, oft times it may be a compromise of ideals, ethics, or standards in the world at large, some justifiable, some not. It depends on the the results to many. Do the means justify the end, or the end justify the means?
But what of compromise of the heart, the soul?
I have spent so much of my adult life thinking compromise was the best way to 'get along', the way to make everyone happy, even if it meant a loss of self.
When that compromise is in part due to not wanting to wound another... it feels justifiable, it feels as if I am keeping their heart whole. But is it? If it is a lie? Is it not a lie of self-glorification? "I am good, look what I do to effect the happiness of another." Is it protecting them or myself?
It may start slowly, perhaps insidiously, (that word has negative connotations for me) With the rationale of......"This one time I can live with it." But it doesn't end when one has to continue living the compromise. Eventually it becomes a way of life.
At first only burdensome, then as time moves on, it becomes more caustic to my soul, burning a small hole each time the compromise is repeated. The hole becomes filled with sadness. All due to this small insignificant lowering of......my......my......what? When it comes to the heart and fear of inflicting pain, fear of loss, fear of change happening too soon......I cannot call them standards or ethics......those words do not seem to convey a true definition......perhaps there isn't an identifiable one.
I only know the eventual revulsion I feel.
I thought I was in a place where I could examine that very revulsion, but my mind is not ready, my heart is not ready, I find myself thinking of compromise as a whole.
Compromise seems necessary, makes life easier, but what do we lose in the process?
In some instances, I do feel as if I misplaced something..... little pieces of me. Not always, but when it corresponds to a strongly held belief, an area in which my own personal standards are quite high, then I feel as if I have dishonored myself, dishonored those I love, those that love me. Luckily so far in my life these have been rare, at least it feels so.
Is it important to live honorably? What does that mean? To live honorably?
Dignity, respect, honesty, upholding principles that I believe in. Looking into my heart and knowing I have upheld the rights of others, by showing, giving them dignity, respect, truth.
Can I do that without having lived a virtuous life, without falling off the moralistic high wire that I impose upon myself, that other's often impose? The times I have teetered upon that high wire, straining to find the balance, I have questioned, had to question to remain sane. When others have questioned my life, I had to ask, "Do they live the standards they accuse me of wavering on? Or is it a feint to hide their own precarious position?"
Morals........I have compromised my morals, were they my morals, or those that my many life-teachers taught me? Where does one begin and the other end?
If the darkest of my sins were brought to public light, could I say I had lived an honorable life?
Would other's see it so? Would I care too much of these judgments of others?
I used to ask myself, "Would my children be proud of me." That question has changed. Now I ask myself "Would my children be able to forgive me?" If in what I do ........no matter the area of my life...would they understand, would they feel as if my teachings to them over the years were right and true, a way I too have lived .......or would they feel betrayed?
Would they feel that I held them to standards that were higher than the standards I hold for myself?
I look at the list, the very long list that contains the compromises of my life.........
Some I can live easily with, some I feel a little twist of my conscious when I think of them, some come as a knife thrust, an agony of a need for atonement rises inside me. But as I have allowed myself to peel away the agony, searching for the meaning behind the tormenting pangs of remorse. I ask myself, "Why, why did I do what I did?" If there seemed to be logical reason, no matter how insane, I reach an understanding, but would they?
When does an excuse become a truth?
The only answer I can come up with, is another question.
"Has what I have done made my life better, someone else's life better, without causing untoward harm to others?"
I may be compromising once again, but if I can answer yes, I can assuage my fears of failing them, lighten my own self-torment, pacify my conscious.
Where does that leave me?