It’s time to draw the line. So many people find it confusing that they are supposed to stand true to who they are and stick with their ideals, yet, we live in a world full of humans who are bound to make mistakes and cause pain. For those of us still waiting for a life partner, we often wonder whether we’ve set our standards too high. We’ve heard so many people telling us to “be realistic”, yet we’ve seen so many success stories of those who had stuck with their ideals and finally found the person they were looking for, without having to settle for less.
There’s a real tension between aiming high in life, and settling for a mediocre one.
Sometimes it’s not even about settling for less — it’s also about having healthy boundaries for ourselves. To compromise means to sacrifice something in order to put the other first, but there is a limit as to how much we are able to give up our own needs and let some be unfulfilled. How do we become more receptive towards the red lights that warn us when we are crossing the line too far in terms of compromising?
The key to whether we should compromise or not lies in our core values, and it may look different to everyone. If we don’t spend as much time thinking through our core values as we should, we could end up being hurt by those who never intended to cut us.
The truth is, we can easily differentiate between “aiming too high” and “being realistic”, simply by organizing our standards or criterias into two big “lists”. These two lists include: one list for our “musts” and one for our “shoulds”. These two lists act as our filters in determining what the things we should and shouldn’t compromise are. A “musts” list consists of core values — the values and principles that constitute the foundation on which our lives’ decisions are made. These values are the ones that have been tested through hardships and experiences. On the other hand, a “shoulds” list consists of the things that we are willing to compromise, things that won’t matter to us in the long run. For instance, circumstances change, physical appearances change, behaviours and habits change, but one’s character and core values last longer. If you find this frustrating, it’s probably because you’ve got your musts and shoulds mixed up.
Should we find ourselves in a situation which requires us to compromise, let us keep in mind the values that we’ve established for ourselves. A long-lasting relationship should be built upon the things that will endure, not just on the things that might fade or change as time goes by.