Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Swinging From The Debt Ceiling: The Art and Skill Of Compromise

Like most people, I have been carefully watching the confrontations and controversy unfolding in Washington D.C. as the American economy has been on the verge of what news sources called "a total collapse."  I have watched with a mix of fear, dread, and I will admit, fascination, at the arguments taking place amongst a small group of elected officials who appear to be in charge of my financial future.  The "fascination" part comes from witnessing how very few people involved with these negotiations have appeared interested or willing to engage in a respectful and dignified compromise until the very last minute.  I couldn't help but be reminded of how many relationships I have seen on the verge of similar collapse, and similarly how much time, energy, and money was spent on waiting until the last opportunity to compromise. 

The primary reason for this is that most people perceive "compromise" as giving in, losing, and accepting of defeat. However, in all relationships, personal or professional, compromising is actually the exact opposite of failing.  Compromise is an opportunity to build a new path with someone for a greater cause.  It forces you to expand your point-of-view, and evolve beyond a rigid and limited framework.  It enables you to have empathy for another side, and use that perspective to create a solution that has not been tried before.  In short, compromise offers you much more than "winning" ever can. 

Can you imagine what would have happened if Congress had chosen to compromise months ago?  It is quite possible that the stock market, interest rates, and the economy would have been so much stronger by now if elected officials opted to expand their rigid thinking patterns.  Likewise, I have seen many couples go through therapy as a last resort right before "total collapse" of their relationship.  It would be to every one's advantage to learn the art and skill of effective, productive, and respectful negotiation. 

My private psychotherapy practice assists individuals and couples in learning this skill.  As a Marriage Family Therapist, I have fifteen years of promoting compromise, compassion, and integrity for people struggling in personal and professional relationships.  Whether someone is feeling challenged in an intimate relationship with a partner, a family member, or a boss, I have found tools to help people rationally and effectively manage challenging negotiations and differences.   If you would be interested in learning how compromise can be an opportunity for growth and for forming deeper connections with others in your life, I would love to help.  Skype consultations are now available for those outside the New York City area. 

I am now offering lectures and workshops throughout New York that assistant participants in managing their daily lives and relationships with greater satisfaction, more compromise, and less suffering.  To see highlights from my "Give Up Your Shoulds Day" conference in New York City last November, please check out  http://t.co/lwmDFhA.  If you are interested in having me as a presenter for your group or at your business, please feel free to write me at Shouldless@gmail.com, or call me at 347-227-7707.  To read about more tools for managing life without "shoulds," please check out my blog at http://shouldless.blogspot.com.

Damon L. Jacobs is a Licensed Marriage Family Therapist seeing individuals and couples in New York City. He specializes in issues related to addiction, ageism, bullying, caretaking fatigue, body image, grief and loss, gay/lesbian issues, stress management, depression, as well as couples in non-traditional arrangements. He is the author of "Absolutely Should-less: The Secret to Living the Stress-Free Life You Deserve." To have him speak with your group, schedule a counseling visit, or a Skype consultation, call 347-227-7707, or email at Shouldless@gmail.com

No comments: