Compromise [kom-pruh-mahyz]: a settlement of differences by mutual concessions; an endangering, especially of reputation; to make a dishonorable or shameful concession. The prefix “com” means with and together. The word “promise” means a declaration that something will or will not be done, given, etc. (Above from Dictionary.com).
****Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t started season 2 of Stranger Things, read at your own risk****
I’m a fan of Netflix’s Stranger Things. So when season 2 dropped recently I was excited. In one of the early episodes, Chief Jim Hopper is trying to explain the concept of compromise to El because she wants to go trick-or-treating and no one would see who she is if she’s dressed as a ghost. Fearing that this could lead to people finding out she’s alive, he offers a compromise. When El doesn’t understand he tells her that a compromise is “half good.” Just as the definition of compromise has more than one meaning or truth, Hopper’s definition carries two meanings as well.
On the one hand, with interpersonal relationships, compromise is critically important. It demonstrates our willingness to value other people and their wants and needs. It helps us to take ourselves just a little less seriously. It puts a premium on love as we choose relationships over our desire to have our own way. Compromise is agreeing with others about a path of mutual advantage. Half good.
On the other hand, when it comes to personal integrity, even a small compromise is like the pebble that spawned the avalanche. It becomes much easier to compromise on bigger and bigger matters after you have compromised on smaller ones. It seems that we can always find a way to justify our compromises that are almost always “just this once.” Identify your core beliefs and hold fast to them. Protect them with your life and never compromise your integrity. You get one go at life; you will have to carry with you the weight of every stone of that avalanche as they don’t go back into place very easily. It is easier to protect your integrity than to restore it. Half good, in this case… is all bad.
Have a blessed weekend!