Compromise is a word that makes me cringe. Not because I can’t do it but most times, I don’t want to. I’m a control freak. I like things just so and pretty much my way but when you have to think about other people, compromise really is the only way.

I don’t mean to compromise your values – that’s very different – I’m talking about when you can back down and find a happy medium in a situation. This applies in work and your personal life.

In the work environment, it can sometimes be very difficult to back down from something you’re passionate about, allowing space for something that you don’t particularly agree with however, that one moment of compromise could be the difference in you hating your job or just getting on with what is best for the company at that time. This doesn’t mean you can’t be passionate, it just means that you take some time to evaluate which fight is really worth the stress on you. That’s the key right there, ‘worth the stress on you’ – you have a choice to get riled up about something or choose to back away if it’s necessary. Learning to compromise can help your mental well-being.

Here are 3 tips you can use at work which demonstrates how compromise can help your mental well-being and helps to make the workplace more efficient, more mutually accessible, and even more enjoyable:

  1. Know what’s worth compromising on: I touched on this already but this is probably the most important tip and applies equally to work and home life. In a situation where you will need to consider comprising, think about the significance, relevance, and personal investment required if you fight that fight. If it takes too much out of you just whilst you’re thinking about it, it’s probably not worth it. However, if you feel like you could make something work to your advantage, go for it!

  2. Compromise is not a weakness, see it as a strength: A lot of headstrong people (like me) will see this tip and know the feelings of weakness you gain when you have to back down from a situation. This isn’t unusual, you got to where you are because of your tenacity but this doesn’t mean it needs to be ‘on’ all the time. Compromise can work in your favour in situations where you understand that within a discussion you’re two people on the same team, both trying to get the most value out of a situation. Compromising is a way of demonstrating your confidence in the fact that a situation can be worked out, and your commitment to actually doing so. 

  3. Understand the other person’s true needs: I would recommend a delve into the book The Art of War – there are various translations of it with cliff notes that make it easier to digest and it’s not about war per se – when reading it, think about work situations. When you’re in a compromising situation at work, try to understand what your ‘opponent’ truly needs. For example, your opponent may be arguing for fewer responsibilities when what they really need are responsibilities that are more in their remit. Look deeper, and you’ll be able to find more effective paths forward.

Here are 3 tips you can use at home – mainly your relationships to this extends to partners, family, friends and even colleagues. It’s important to know when to stand your ground, but also to know which battles are worth fighting:

  1. Don’t always be right: We all want to win, it’s understandable to feel that way but it’s something that’s worth changing as a thought. If we only want to win, then we’re not actually listening to the other side because we choose not to. Listening will not only make the other person feel their opinion is valued but it will also allow you to understand their point of view better so that you can find a compromise that you’re both happy with.

  2. Let things go: If there’s one piece of advice I would ever give to people I know in relationships is to learn to let things go. Again, don’t compromise your values, just know when it’s worth getting stressed over. More often than not, the compromise might be uncomfortable at first but once you’ve told yourself that it’s acceptable, over time, it will be a new habit. For example, I like a tidy house, all the time. Living with a husband and a toddler isn’t conducive to this desire. Asking them to keep it tidy is a waste of time because they can never do it to my standards. My compromise here is that I am the one who likes it a certain way, if I want the house ‘just so’ I shall make it thus. I then don’t stress when the house is untidy because I have chosen to tidy it when I choose to.

  3. Rethink your expectations: Working with me, you’ll hear this a lot. I think this is perhaps the most important facet of understanding and being in successful relationships (any relationships.) Having expectations of others that are not realistic is a sure-fire way to not only damage good relationships but keep you in a state of stress all the time. Learn to know, listen and understand the other person. Keep your expectations in check and know that your expectations may be completely unrealistic and this is where you need to compromise. Putting out the bins is my example, I expect him to do it, he doesn’t so I ask him to do it. He’ll do it but I have to give him a timeframe or allow him to give me one if I want the job done. It’s a compromise that makes me cringe but the bins do get done on the day I want them done, just not maybe at the time I want; and I choose to live with that because it’s good for my health.

You are the only person whom you can truly control. Choosing to comprise can help your mental well-being in a number of useful ways that benefit YOU. Keeping an open mind, being willing to change your expectations and not trying to be right all the time will help you feel less anxious of situations and more in control because you choose beforehand whether you want to ‘fight’ or choose to compromise.

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