Don’t Compromise Yourself

Recently a friend who I have known for practically my entire life (since the age of six) sent me an email containing a quote.  (After a quick Google image search, here’s the quote, with a picture and all.)


Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got. Janis Joplin.


Along with the quote, my friend included a single sentence in her email.  It said, “…thought it would be good for you to expand upon in some way.”  I took that as a request for a blog post, so here we go….

Not knowing what my friend is going through, I have no context or lens in which to filter the quote.  That said, there’s no story to go along with the quote (maybe later, she hinted), but for now, it’s the general quote we’re looking at.  Let’s break it into two pieces (the two sentences).

Exploring “Don’t Compromise Yourself”

Starting with the word compromise:  We all know what it means.  However, with words I know, but want to get a broader, richer perspective on, I often look them up in a thesaurus.  Here are some of the words that followed:

  • accommodation
  • adjustment
  • bargain (in this context — ouch)
  • concession
  • cop-out (another ouch)

If we substitute any of these words, or rather, the sentiment behind these words, for the word compromise, we now have an even clearer image of the first sentence: “Don’t compromise yourself.”  Fairly straight forward.

Now, what we don’t know is ‘don’t compromise yourself‘ for what?  Someone else?  Your values?  Your happiness?  Your kids?  Etc….  So let’s move on, that’s the most we’re going to get from that one.  (And by the way, I’d answer: Yes, that’s right, ‘don’t compromise yourself’ to ALL of those.)

But it’s the second sentence that’s not so straight forward;  in fact, it can be taken more than one way.

Exploring “You Are All You’ve Got”

Option 1:  Yes, I Agree.  You ARE all you’ve got.

More than likely, what Joplin meant by this is that you must rely on yourself first.  Which is very similar to my belief about Trust.  You must Trust yourself first.  Once you trust yourself first, or rely on yourself first, then you can handle anything that comes your way.  You are able to stand firm and strong in your being, and in your Faith, knowing that You’ve Got This!  Whatever this happens to be.

Option 2:  Nope, I Don’t Buy It.  You are NOT all you’ve got.

As I hinted at above, with my use of the word Faith, there’s more than just you involved.   Yes, trust yourself, rely on yourself, but with the knowledge that you’re never alone.  (And if you’re never alone, how could you be all you’ve got?)

Here’s what I know:  You are never, not for one single second of one single day, alone.  How do I know?  Because it’s one of those things I’ve come to know as a Truth.  And the Truth is this:  God dwells within me, as me.  God dwells within you, as you.  The Creator dwells within our souls, and therefore, we are never alone.  And I do mean never.

It would be foolish to assume that everyone who reads this blog will agree with everything I write.  However, I think it’s safe to say that if you’re here and reading, you believe that 1) there is a Creator who exists (by whatever name you choose to use), and 2) you are a seeker of Truth.  I believe it’s something we have in common and why you continue to come back.

There you have it – – my two cents on Janis Joplin’s famous quote, “Don’t compromise yourself.  You are all you’ve got.”  I’d love to hear your two cents.  What do you think?

To my dear, lifelong friend who sent me the quote and the request, thank you.  I love you and hope something I’ve said resonates.