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The way we look at solving our disagreements can make or break relationships.
Compromise is defined as accepting lower than desirable standards. When you hear the words "I compromised," doesn't it make you feel like that person lost a battle or gave away a part of themselves?
We are constantly being asked to make compromises in our relationships. Some compromises might feel okay while some definitely feel so awful that they eventually turn into a big spiky ball of resentment that starts to roll out of control.
This is why compromise simply does not work.
When Dean and I disagree, we don’t compromise. We do this thing that we call Transformize.
Transformize: Win/Win + Synergize
If you haven’t read Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, you are missing out on some key life skills that can take your relationships to the next level. But I digress.
One of the habits Covey goes into is called the Win/Win paradigm which states that "there is plenty for everybody, that one person’s success is not achieved at the exclusion of the success of others.”
It’s not about your way or your partner’s way — it’s about a better way for both of you.
Transformize is a win/win mindset allowing you to truly see a situation through your partner’s lens — and then work towards a successful solution for both of you.
Synergize is the habit of creative cooperation.
It brings forth “third alternatives” that could never be predicted or imagined. Synergy is teamwork, open-mindedness, and the adventure of finding new solutions to old problems, allowing you both to discover things you are much less likely to discover by yourself.
It’s the universe’s way of disproving all logic and rationality because when synergy adds one plus one, you don't get two, instead you get three, or six, or sixty–you name it.
When you and your partner are able to transformize genuinely, your capability of creating new insights and inventing new approaches will increase exponentially.
Here’s the key ingredient though. Transformize cannot be attained without valuing each other’s differences. Valuing differences is what really drives the synergy and win/win mentality.
Do you truly value the mental, emotional, and psychological differences among each other?
Or do you wish your partner would just agree with you?
Embrace each other’s differences. That's how you can transform them to become your strengths.
Once you have embraced the habits of win/win and synergy, you are ready to experience a completely new level of communication.
Compromise = Persuasive Communication
Transformize = Curious Communication
According to Dr. Brad Reedy's book Audacity to Be You, there are three circles of communication and relationships. One is the SELF, the other is your PARTNER, the third is RELATIONSHIPS.
Oftentimes when we succumb to compromising, it is because we failed to persuade our partner into joining our viewpoint. You cannot make your partner agree with your truth. In doing so, you are literally arguing with reality.
Resisting reality is insanity.
Once you can accept that you have no right to argue with your partner's truth, you make space for curiosity. Enter Transformize... you have opened the box of curiosity and infinite possibilities.
Curious Communication will help you:
Transforming your communication through curiosity is the most effective way to talk to your partner about your feelings, understand each other and create boundaries or requests that honor each of your truths.
Example on How to Transformize
There was one particular disagreement that Dean and I were stuck on for a few years. He had particular beliefs on how to raise our children and I had contradicting beliefs. We would try to address it several times but it would usually end with one of us either crying or raising our voices and walking away. Each of us had our own triggers rooted in our own past experiences that made us feel very attached to our individual beliefs. The turning point came when Dean actually said that if we can’t figure this out then he can’t stay married to me.
Oh hekkkkk nooooo! Did he just say that to ME?!! The waves of emotions started to kick in. There was a part of me that wanted to say “FINE. I am cool with that. Let’s divorce.”
But there was another part of me that I had been working really hard on - and that voice said “Dean is feeling shaky here, otherwise he would never say this. There is a deep rooted fear around this for him. I need to get curious and ask him more questions. I am not understanding something. ”
So, long story short, we had a conversation in which I first set a clear boundary asking him to NEVER make me feel like our love (and marriage) was conditional - to which he completely agreed and apologized for.
Then, we discussed the actual issue.
We realized that we were stuck in a fixed mindset of all or nothing. We were trying so hard to convince each other to completely inherit our own unique belief systems that we kept hitting a dead end. We felt so passionately attached to our own truths that it made us see things in absolute terms, completely unable to see the middle ground.
And this middle ground is not something that makes you less than or more than. In fact, it transforms you.
We talked about the beliefs that were non-negotiables for us and then we figured out a way to creatively incorporate both of our truths that never existed before. Asking him questions helped me realize that a lot of my anger was based on unwarranted fears from my own judgments and assumptions. Not feeling the need to “convince” him of my own truth, helped me see him and his truth with a newfound respect and understanding. This kind of communication made us grow closer together because it required us to get creative and work together. This is the growth mindset.
All these years, we were trying to convince each other to get into our lanes until we finally figured out that all we needed was to create a new lane. A lane that honored both of our truths and created a new and improved truth for our children. This is transformative and magical to say the least.
Now, whenever we have similar moments of conflict, we are able to get past the surface level stuff quickly and dive right into the roots of the issue: asking us to dig deep into our values and intentions and as a result, understanding each other's inner world in the most intimate way.
While compromise feels like a loss, Transformize feels like a win.
While compromise feels like lowering your standards, Transformize feels like creating new ones.
While compromise feels like the crushing defeat of a chopped down tree, Transformize feels like the quiet confidence of a powerful mountain.
When you Transformize: there's your lane and your partner's lane - don't pull each other to one side or another but create a totally NEW lane that you both get to walk on together (with curiosity and complete appreciation for each other's differences).
You may feel that Transformize and Compromise gets you to the same destination. To which, I say, experiencing your relationships by compromising versus transformizing is the same as experiencing a flight flying economy or first class.
How would you like to travel your life with your partner? You choose...
To learn more and enroll: Click Here
My Outer-Self: B.S. from USC in Industrial & Systems Engineering, owner of Amna Dance, Co-founder of Hatch Brighter and You Matter Too.