It seems as though “sacrifice” has taken on a negative connotation. When used in conversation or the media, sacrifice is usually portrayed as giving up or doing without with great angst and discomfort, it can even be portrayed as a punishment. Is this really what sacrifice has become? Can we change our perspective a bit?
Here’s the formal definition of sacrifice:
noun \ˈsa-krə-ˌfīs, also -fəs or –ˌfīz\
the act of giving up something that you want to keep especially in order to get or do something else or to help someone
The last part of the definition is where I would like to focus. Sacrifice opens the door for another opportunity or better yet, to help someone else. So, instead of focusing on the deprivation, let’s focus on the abundance! Instead of focusing on the “no”, let’s focus on the “yes”!
From a yogic perspective, the yama of aparigraha, or taking only what is necessary, can be very helpful when it comes to sacrifice. Ask yourself if you really need what it is you are going to go without or stop doing. You might find that you don’t really need it at all. In fact, what you will gain from the sacrifice might actually serve your better in the long run. (That’s usually what makes the initial sacrifice of value.)
When you make food sacrifices – cutting out fats, sugars, and salts or taking the time to make whole food for your family, you are saying “yes” to healthier, stronger bodies. When you make financial sacrifices – sticking to a budget or choosing not to make a purchase, you are saying “yes” to living within your means. When you make career sacrifices – letting a promotion go or working less, you are saying “yes” to your family and personal life. The view is so much better when we focus on the “yes”!
Sacrifice can be hard, it can be a challenge, but if we do it with the right “yes” in mind, it doesn’t have to be filled with great angst or discomfort. So, the next time you are faced with making a sacrifice, think of it as a gift to yourself or to someone you love. Think of it as a privilege or an opportunity to open a new door. This might help put things in a positive perspective.
When was the last time you made a sacrifice that gave you another opportunity or helped someone else? Are you happy you made the sacrifice? When was the last time someone made a sacrifice for you?
Enjoy the journey,