Understanding the difference between compromise and sacrifice

Compromise and sacrifice are two rather different concepts. One involves meeting someone halfway as a means to cooperate and make a situation more feasible to ourselves and someone else, while the other requires giving up something, typically done to achieve a common good or goal.

Despite the difference in meaning when comparing these words, a lot of us seem to struggle with recognizing the contrast that exists between them, and rather associate both concepts as having similar meanings.

Spoiler alert: they don’t.

I suppose there are scenarios in which compromise and sacrifice are synonymous with each other, but these scenarios are arguably rare. I believe the reason so many of us associate compromise with sacrifice is because they’ve been forced to sacrifice something in order to achieve a compromise, and realistically, this isn’t how either concept should work.

If you find yourself in a predicament in which someone is asking you to give up something to achieve a compromise, but this other person is not offering to give up something themselves, this is an example of sacrifice. Not compromise. If someone asks you to give up, or sacrifice something, and they agree to do the same to be able to find some middle ground, this is an example of compromise, because you are both willing to forfeit something to come to an agreement.

It is unfortunate that so many of us have been led to believe that compromise and sacrifice are the same thing. Compromise is not a one-sided process, whereas sacrifice, more often, is. I think it is important to comprehend and acknowledge the difference between these two terms in hopes of preventing anyone from being blackmailed into believing they’re compromising, when in reality they are sacrificing. This completely goes against the essence of compromise and transforms it into something it is not, nor should ever be.


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