Not too long ago, I wrote an article in which I covered the subject of self sacrifice.
In that piece, I didn’t really delve into what I meant, when I used that term.
Here’s the thing, the concept of giving yourself for others, can seem like an extremely weighty one—and to be sure, sometimes that’s entirely true.
At others though, the reality is, we can actually be talking about considerations, at various degrees of difficulty, for the person opting to give of him or her self.
One of my harder decisions by way of example, was to continue to be a part of the U.S. Air Force, past the time I was well and truly ready to leave, in order to try and keep my marriage of the time, alive.
I’ve had various other times, I felt the need to give of myself, and as I say, the level of toughness for each, was different.
One example I use, was that there came a time when I was in a relationship, and found one of the involved persons, decided they were going to listen to music of sorts I couldn’t abide.
I was a strong Christian by that point in my life (a thing which is still the case), and I had zero desire, to listen to, or even be around, what’s termed secular music.
I realized that I was being hypocritical in my behavior, because of my expectation, the person in question listen to what I wanted. In the end, I basically chose to forgo listening to music at all, while allowing them to tune the radio to whatever they wanted to hear.
It grieved me greatly to have the music they chose playing, but I stuck to my guns, and tried hard to be as cheerful as I was able, when doing so.
The next mildly serious situation I want to discuss, is one in which I started arising at 4:00AM, and going to the gym.
Both the act of waking up at the hour in question, and going to the gym, were designed to be sacrificial in nature.
Don’t get me wrong, I liked getting a workout. Truth is though, my reason for continuing to do so, was to be in good health, for the sake of my family. I’m not getting any younger, and I know for most folks, they experience health issues, as they get older.
Getting up at such a time, was to make it so I minimized the impact on the family, in my timing.
Unfortunately, it was made clear to me, I had failed in keeping things from affecting people. At that point, I made a choice to stop going to the gym, in order to try to keep the peace. This too, was an act of self sacrifice.
Sometimes, the changes I’ve made, seem a great deal less significant.
As an example, when I came to a place where I didn’t have a job, and was essentially the primary (read here, “only”) breadwinner for my family, I concluded some adjustments were in order, to my spending habits.
As I say more than I thought I ever would in my writings, I have a Moderately (Level 2) Autistic son. He’s much pickier in what he’ll eat, than I am. As a result, I came to a place where, I would allow him to eat restaurant food, but would buy food only for him, and make food for myself at home.
That’s true even though I enjoy restaurant food, every bit as much as many folks do.
I also came to a place where I was very close to dead broke during that time. When that happened, I decided to make another concession.
I’m prone to buy certain things for myself, when I go grocery shopping. One such thing, is bottled coffee drinks.
When it became obvious I was going to have to curtail my expenditures, instead of asking my son to eat less, or not have the things he wanted, the coffee drinks, among other items, ended up leaving the cart.
During that same time period, I also limited my leisure travel, which for me was a small thing, since I don’t tend to do a lot of extra miles, for my own sake.
I did a similar thing with my older children, where I would pay for them to do things like ice skate, even though I would stand on the sidelines and watch, because I wasn’t able to afford for all of us to be involved in that activity.
One interesting thing we don’t really think about is, the effect of not being able to do various things is often cumulative. We end up paring down our own activities, purchases, and luxuries, in order to support the well being of others, sometimes in rather major ways.
Those people may be family, friends, workmates, or any number of others—even folks we don’t even know. Much of the time, the point is, to make things better, for those around us. That may be true in ways we don’t necessarily realize or understand.
On top of all of this, I see a need in myself, to have a good attitude—in some senses, this is part of the sacrifice made. Having a bad outlook, when you do things for others in a sacrificial manner, is something that will sour, even the most selfless of acts.
Part of that process, can be biting one’s tongue. There are times when I’ve wanted to say things, but stopped myself before doing so. I was so happy when I did that at various times, realizing later, that what I would have said, was not only not reasonable, it was often horribly incorrect.
I want a couple of things, to be well understood. I’m not telling you what I am, in order to brag. My desire is to give people ideas of the simple, and not so simple sacrifices they and others can make. I’m not seeking sympathy for what I’ve been through, either.
I hope this little article, has helped you to understand what I mean when I talk about self sacrifice. Obviously, there are substantially more extreme examples as well.
Thanks for reading, and may your time be good.