On our Facebook Live 6pm slots this week we have been revisiting the psychological/emotional issue of sacrifice, one of my all time favourite topics. Our path to sacrifice goes something like this: in a moment of early childhood distress, someone around us, probably a parent or sibling, needed our help and in that moment we tried to relieve their pain by adjusting ourself. That parent may have been angry, overwhelmed, lost in grief, anything, but in that moment we metaphorically gave up living our own life; we threw away the gift that would really have helped and instead we made the choice, ‘from now on, to cope with this situation, I cannot be my authentic self; I have to sacrifice that and instead . . . . be helpful / be quiet /be good /be on my own/ create havoc and so on.’
So how many of us now, as adults, believe we can’t have a life of our own and be in a relationship? The roots of our original sacrifice show up in the present anytime we believe we are shouldering a burden, or feel imprisoned in a ball and chain of a relationship, or are unable to express ourselves fully because we fear someone else’s reaction.
While it is true that every relationship has an element of sacrifice in it, the danger point comes when this dynamic polarises, and one partner does all the sacrifice and apparent giving (how can I help meet your needs?), while the other does all the indulgence (how can I satisfy my own needs?). When we are living in sacrifice we are giving in a thousand different ways, but underneath we are trying to take something like appreciation, or respect or love; and we feel resentful and angry when we think it is not given.
Can you imagine throwing off these shackles and living a natural, free and unfettered life? This is the purpose of our relationships, to learn about true giving and receiving, to find ourselves and enjoy life in all its richness and juiciness.
So, how do we give up a sacrifice pattern? Firstly we need to recognise that any sacrifice in the present is an echo of the past. It is not about your present partner or family, you are repeating an emotional pattern, one you can change in the present if you want.
And secondly we need to remember that no one can put us into sacrifice; we chose it ourselves in the first place, and we keep choosing it. It is as if we have locked away our confident, exuberant, wild and free self. With that part of us in prison, how can we truly enjoy and take pleasure in anything, including our involvement in life, and our sexuality as an expression of life energy?
Take a moment and think of any area of your life that feels like a burden, that feels like you are in sacrifice and not living your own life. Now recognise that you have the power to make a different choice, and choose what it is that you are willing to give or not give. Would you free yourself from sacrifice and regain your vitality and courage, your attractiveness and your sexual energy, the whole lot?