“You bring meaning to my life”. „Without you my life is only half as beautiful.” „You complete me“.
All sentences that sound quite romantic, don’t they?
You have probably already heard them in movies or in your own life. It is the moment you catch yourself sighing … mmmmhhh “love” is so sweet, isn’t it?
But are those sentences really what you want to hear in your relationships?
Looking at it more closely brings the following thoughts to my mind:
Needing somebody that completes you and your life leads to the conclusion that YOU are lacking. You alone are not enough. Your life without XY is not enough. And what does this mean?
It means you give power away from you – the power of being complete, perfect, whole doesn’t depend solely on yourself anymore. Now, your partner is responsible for it, too. Which necessarily will put many expectations on him/her.
Don’t get me wrong, I am not denying how amazing it is to share life with somebody. Having someone on your side you can lean on. Who holds you when you need it. It is beyond beautiful, no doubt.
However, what I am noticing is, how often sacrifice is involved in our relationships (mine with Gabriel included of course). By saying relationships, I don’t refer exclusively to the relationship with your partner but also relationships you have with your parents, sisters, brothers, friends.
So, what is sacrifice?
Sacrifice can be anything you do for somebody which you actually don’t want to do. ”But why do I do it then?”, you are asking right now. Let’s look at examples you may recognize from your personal life:
- You call your friend because you feel like you should but you actually don’t want to.
- You cook for your partner on a Tuesday night even though you are really tired and don’t want to (and as a result you get upset when s/he does not comment on how delicious it is or dare to not even say thank you).
- You again organize Auntie’s birthday gift for all the cousins which you don’t want to do (and as a result you feel sad that again nobody else but you care).
- Instead of leaving with your friends to a weekend trip – where you really want to be – you stay at home with your husband/boyfriend/wife/girlfriend – where you actually don’t want to be.
In the very moment you do all those actions even though you really don’t want to, they transform from simply being actions into sacrifice.
“But I do this BECAUSE I love”, you are responding in your head right now.
I hear you! I said this for a long time, too.
Today, I actually feel that there is a big confusion regarding love and sacrifice.
Love is NOT sacrifice. Sacrifice is NOT love.
But what do we do?
We sacrifice and justify it with love.
So, let’s reflect for a moment together: Sacrificing one, two, three times doesn’t harm anybody. I agree. However, doing it over and over again doesn’t feel good at all. Do you agree? And on top, it leads to many conflicts. Why?
Because sacrificing is demanding.
You may just think the following or even say it out loud:
- “I always cook for my partner and he doesn’t even wash up once.”
- “I always organize all the birthday gifts for everybody and nobody shows any gratitude.”
- “I always help everybody but where are people when I need them?”
- “I’m always going to my boyfriend’s soccer matches but he never joins me when it comes to my hobby.”
Since you in your relationships repeatedly do things you actually don’t want to do, you expect the other one to bring sacrifices as well. Which doesn’t feel good to him/her either. So s/he expect you to sacrifice again because s/he is sacrificing so much…
And the vicious cycle never stops. Unless you decide to stop expecting the sacrifice. And, detach love from sacrifice.
And this starts – as it does so often – with you. Listen to yourself and observe how many times you do things “out of love” that you really don’t want to do. Just observe. Then little by little give yourself the permission to sometimes just not doing it. Do this peacefully, kind, with love. You will probably recognize that the many sacrifices you bring are small things which actually don’t even matter so much to your loved ones. But being true to yourself and acknowledge your own feelings will make a huge difference to you. It makes you more self-conscious. It makes you more understanding – towards yourself and others. It frees you.
The beauty and most rewarding of all this is: Putting gradually away the sacrifices in your relationships creates space for all the wonderful things you and your loved ones really want to do, give, and share.
You will be amazed what and how much this is.
So, let’s practice together less sacrifice and more love!