#BigParentingIdea — “I Sacrificed” Is A Code Word For “I Regret” (On Our Life Choices)

Is sacrificing our lives for our family good or bad?

A word ‘sacrifice’, used in this context, is a word that helps us cope with being miserable and our regrets in life.

That we sacrifice for our families is a myth.

A sacrifice is when I want something, which I don’t have currently, and I decide to introduce changes in my life. For example, I eliminate habits that are obstacle on my path to my goal, and introduce new habits that help me achieve my goal (or help me achieve it faster).

Soon I might find out that some of those habits I gave up were terrible and I’m glad I eliminated them, and that having some of my new habits is a blast and I’m actually very happy that I introduced them to my life (I feel better, I enjoy my days more, etc.).

My other old habits, I wish I still had them, but can’t if I want to achieve my goal. And some of my new habits I don’t like much (some I actually hate), but cannot allow myself not to have those, if I still want to achieve my goal. That’s sacrifice! The real sacrifice.

What happens in families across the whole world, on the other hand, is a bullshit sacrifice. Something which isn’t a real sacrifice, but we call it that in order to feel better about our inaction. About the fact that we gave up our dreams, plans, our vision for our life — in other words, all the things we wish we had at least tried, but never did.

We tell ourselves nice stories how the fact that we have families held us back and made it all impossible. We bullshit ourselves that had the circumstances of our lives been different, we would have tried/ done all those things. That’s nothing but a convenient narrative we build in our heads which purpose is to help us cope with our being miserable.

We don’t sacrifice for our families. We’re just not determined enough to go after the things we want in life.

We tell ourselves “We had to make those sacrifices”, and suddenly we feel a whole lot better because we have found the culprit. Members of our family, or simply the fact that we have a family. Now we can tell the whole world “I’m not a loser. My circumstances prevented me. I had other, more important, things. And I had to sacrifice my goals and plans.”

It’s like the negative of a sacrifice as I understand it. A negative of a real sacrifice.

Here a sacrifice does not serve the purpose of helping you achieve your goal. It prevents you from having it. It makes the realization of your goal impossible.

What is the proper term for things which prevent us from having what we want?

Obstacles.

Why don’t we simply admit that our family (prioritizing the wants and needs of other members of our family, or our tribe as a whole) was in fact our obstacle. An obstacle we ourselves created in our heads by telling ourselves that our dreams and plans cease to be attainable once we have a family/ or because we are part of this family.

That’s a bullshit obstacle. That’s an obstacle we can eliminate by changing the narrative in our heads. By deciding that we will no longer feed our minds this bullshit story and constantly look for excuses, and we will go after our dreams instead.

When we sacrifice we do it because we want a certain outcome. What outcome do we want when we give up our dreams, plans and our own vision for our lives?

A cozy, hassle-free, regular life (according to our cultural norm).

If so, are our dreams, plans and our own vision for our life our goals? No. If they were our goals we would go after them, wouldn’t we? We wouldn’t give them up.

Our goal is something else. What?

Maybe a simple peace of mind (so that no one will call us selfish or ungrateful)?

Maybe being like everyone else in our family (so that no one will blame us for breaking taboos, or not honoring the family traditions, being a black sheep)?

Maybe making our parents proud/ happy (and doing what they want, not what we want)?

Maybe spending all weekends, all public holidays, and all time off work with our families? (so that no one will blame us for not spending time with them).

Those are our real goals. Not those dreams and plans, not this different life we say we wish we had, and about having which we can only fantasize over beer with our buddies, sharing, for the millionth time, cliché statements and stereotypes about the life of married people with kids and laughing about how we’re all doomed.

We tell those convenient stories about all the “sacrifices” we make, and how unfortunate we are that we can’t go after our goals in life, but fail to realize that those dreams, ambitions and plans of ours aren’t really our goals.

And if they aren’t our goals, how the hell can those be ever achieved by us? We can’t even start realizing them.

Saying that we sacrificed for our children and families, and that it’s the reason we can’t have what we want is, in our society, a code word for “Were it not for my family, I would have realized my dreams and plans” [and, which almost nobody will want to admit, for “I’m a loser”].

We know it would upset our people greatly if we told them they are the obstacle on our path to the things we really want (what we did wasn’t really what we wanted — oops!), so we use the convenient code word “It was a sacrifice I did for you” [and now you owe me].

But in reality we have different goals. A simple peace of mind/ being like everyone else in our family / making our parents proud or happy / spending all weekends, all public holidays, and all the time off work with our families (so that no one will call us names, blame us, or resent us).

Stop using the word ‘sacrifice’ in our families! Only losers need it.

People who are willing to take 100% responsibility for the outcomes in their lives don’t need this code word.

Why?

Because they will never say “Were it not for my family, I would have realized my dreams and plans.”

They will make those their goals and go after them. Or, if they deliberately made it all about their family (as representing a greater value), they will be glad that they did it, and will never use a word ‘sacrifice’, because they made a conscious choice to eliminate everything else (obstacles).

How often do we hear olympic medal winners complain about all the things they gave up (obstacles)?

Almost never. They made a conscious decision that winning this medal represented a greater value to them than sitting with their friends and sipping wine, or eating at their favorite fast food chain each day, or even spending most of their weekends with their families.

Would it be possible to be at peace with all their successes (or rather “successes”), if they’d constantly beat themselves up for not being there for all those people?

I doubt it.

If your success is making your life all about your family, rejoice, for giving up everything else (obstacles) made this success possible.

If making your life all about your family is not how you view success, adjust your life goals and understand that you’ll have to change your mindset and that we can’t have everything — there is always a price tag.

Saying that you sacrificed for your family, and ending up having regrets is the third (absolutely worst) option.


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