To some, sacrificing yourself for the sake of others is a noble act and is praised and appreciated. While others may look at it as sabotage of oneself and is avoidable if possible. Different views on the subject and to each their own opinion. There may not be one right way of looking at it. However, whatever resonates with the rest of your belief system, is the right way for you. Nonetheless, this is a great lesson to learn in life.
How do we become self-sacrificing. How do we get to that level from the beginning. Believe it or not, it all starts from when you were a child. Partly, this trait is in us and other part is a learned behavior; at least that’s my take on it. As a child you learn to share your toys with your siblings or with your classmates. You learn the give and take system. But somewhere down the line, something happens to that balance between the giving and the receiving. You end up giving more than you get back and be ok with it. And in some cases, you may get bullied or guilt-tripped in it.
You find yourself at some point enjoying the satisfaction in making others happy by letting them have whatever they want even if it meant you giving up everything. At times, some of the closest people in your life are the ones manipulating you to get what they want from you and you don’t realize it. You don’t see that constantly sacrificing your needs and desires is bad or harmful. On the contrary, you see it as making someone happy. And little by little, you forget all about yourself, and it becomes a habit for you to sacrifice for others all the time.
Finally you have become a self-sacrificing person whether you intended to be one or not. The thing is, you don’t know any other way to be. You feel that it is right and Godly. You convince yourself it is ok as long as you are pleasing others around you. Then that is good enough for you.
Ultimately, you have trained yourself to be last and make everyone else first. You end up in a vicious cycle and you find yourself being self-sacrificing for those who deserve it and those who don’t. It’s almost like you have become on automatic self-sacrificing mode. And you don’t know how to switch it off, or even change the setting.
Some people may realize their reality after some time. Possibly at a point in their lives when they look back and feel that this way of life has not really made them happy. After missing out on many opportunities in life and perhaps when things get to a point where you live in pain. That is because you lost your balance. And ultimately, you lost yourself.
You have been living for others for as long as you can remember that you don’t even know what it’s like to live for yourself. Maybe you have been struggling with finding that balance all your life. And maybe you just realized it. Nonetheless, the day will come sooner or later and you will not feel happy. Living a self-sacrificing life will not complete you and will not find you peace. The reason is, you have not shown yourself enough love; which you deserved. However, you thought that you were going to get that love back somehow.
The reality is, if you don’t love yourself enough to look after yourself, then nobody else will. And even sadder, people will take advantage of your love and kindness because they are so used to receiving more than giving. And you have trained them on that. So you only have yourself to thank; when you are stepped on and taken advantage of. It’s your lack of self-love that lead you to this point. All along you thought you were just being a good person; where in fact you were sabotaging yourself.
Being selfish is not the right answer. Any extreme is never good for you. However, searching for that balance between giving and receiving is indeed the answer. Easier said than done. We manage to fall on either side of that balance. But at least we must recognize the consequences of either sides, and aim for the middle.
It’s a work in progress. Perhaps it may take your whole life to figure out. However you must never give up on finding your balance; your Centre. Ask yourself which category you fall under. The self-sacrificing or the take-it all. It’s ok if you lost your way. It’s ok if you made an error in judgment; it’s ok if you were blinded all this time. The most important thing is that you see clearly now. And it’s time you made some changes. Take little steps and believe you will get there. You will find that balance if you tried. If you truly listened to your instinct, you will know when it feels right and when it doesn’t.