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Tuesday, May 26, 2020
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     If love for another were an altar, what about yourself would you be willing and able to sacrifice? 

     Sacrifice is an old tradition that seeks to bring humans into some state of acceptance by a higher power for the wrongs or sins in our existence.

     The ancient Hebrew practice of offering up blood sacrifices to the God of Israel, Yahweh, is a reminder of the sacrifices we attempt today in order to become our best selves.

     At a basic level, we all sacrifice certain childhood innocence and animal instincts in order to grow up.  So, it's not hard to see how those living in ancient civilizations, traumatized by the harsh reality of  early human existence might have personified such psychological sacrifice in a literal act. 

     We may believe a giving up of some pleasure or object of value is necessary to improve our relationship with God.  But, there is such a thing as healthy sacrifice.  We all do it all the time when we sacrifice short-lived pleasures for long-term goals.

     To build a romantic relationship with another demands basic sacrifices that seem sensible though may feel abnormal.  For instance, we may sacrifice our self-focused needs, our lack of commitment to the partnership and personal accountability, which can sometimes serve a deeply psychological purpose.

     Part of being in a relationship with someone, whether romantic or platonic, is sacrificing personal desire in favor of the greater good.  This requires the ability to clearly determine the rules of the relationship we seek.  When a sacrifice is made for the selfish desire of a partner, it can create pain and resentment due to its potentially manipulative nature.  We all know the person who sacrifices personal fulfillment for the sake of enabling or placating others.  Or the unhappy person who sacrifices pleasure for career accomplishment and discovers too late that life opportunities have passed him or her by.

     Couples often sacrifice intimacy for sexual relief and are surprised to find their emotional connection become more distant.  Healthy sacrifice requires open discussion and open-handed motives to determine whether our actions are serving the greater good -- a good which must include our own higher selves.

     History is filled with stories of unthinkable sacrifice in the name of a noble cause.  Determine sacrifices that you need to make right now for your own greater good.  This might mean making better use of your time or learning to unwind.

Thoughts to Ponder
     Write a list of the major sacrifices you've made in your relationships.
Are there any lingering resentments or regrets? Next to each sacrifice,
write what you were hoping to achieve.