On sacrifices

I was talking to a friend of mine today. She is smart, intelligent and a warm person. A girl who can keep her head and handle the most difficult of situations. She recently got married and since I couldn’t attend the wedding I had called her to ask how the wedding went and how married life was treating her. We were generally talking when she came out and told me how the guy she married was not someone she liked or respected but someone whom her parents had thought was best for her. Now this might not be a very shocking information, but I was a bit startled when I heard this. On further conversation she told me that this was a small sacrifice she did in order to make her parents happy. I wished her well and after a brief talk ended the call.

This phone call got me thinking. How many girls out there are actually marrying a person they like and respect? Sure not everyone has the chance to fall in love with a guy and then marry, but I would like to think every girl at least has a chance to make sure she ends up with someone who is compatible to her and someone who likes and respects her. This is when the concept of sacrifice never appeals to me. How can a sacrifice be a good thing when it’s going to make you feel miserable and unhappy? Do people really think they can make others happy by a sacrifice that makes them unhappy?

I have found out that I am not capable of making my loved ones happy as long as I am, to an extent, happy and content with my own life. Does that make me a selfish person? I hear some people talk in length about how much meaning gets added to their life when they sacrifice for others. Sure a sacrifice for others can make you happy, only if you are satisfied and happy to make it. If making the sacrifice is going to haunt you for the rest of your life I would say you are better off not doing it.

I had a colleague at work that would never come out for any movies with us. On asking her why she said that her parents had asked her not to go out for movies with friends and she said it was a sacrifice she was making for them and that it felt great to sacrifice something for the people you loved. I would have accepted this and even appreciated her if she had been happy with this decision. But she felt miserable not being able to come out with us and always used to ask us with a puppy dog look how the movie was when we came back.  Is this a sacrifice that’s good for her or even for her parents?

In every walk of life I always see people, especially women making sacrifices for someone, be it parents or husband or in laws and convince themselves that it’s a great feeling to sacrifice for your loved ones when in reality it makes them more unhappy. So why do we do it? Do we think that makes us nurturing and caring human beings? Or do we think we as a woman have it in us to sacrifice all our happiness to keep our loved ones happy? Or are we just succumbing to the label that making a sacrifice and adjusting is what makes us a true woman? I would love to get some answers!

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4 thoughts on “On sacrifices

  1. Now that is the whole point of a sacrifice! It is something you do to make others feel happy NO MATTER how you feel! If there is any happiness associated with a sacrifice, it will ONLY be as a result of seeing others happy as result of it.

    If you’re all happy after making a “sacrifice” and all is hunky dory, then it was not a sacrifice at all. It is just some regular act of yours to make yourself and/or others happy!

    “I have found out that I am not capable of making my loved ones happy as long as I am, to an extent, happy and content with my own life. Does that make me a selfish person?”

    My take on this would be, if you’re not able to make your loved ones happy if you aren’t happy, it doesn’t nessasarily make you selfish (but again there is a very thin line between this stage and selfishness!!) but you are just a normal person not cut out for sacrifices.

    And hey men make sacrifies too! It is just not about women. In general I feel the reason people make sacrifises is either coz they genuenly care more for others’ feelings and happiness than their’s or coz they don’t have it in them to stand up for what they feel is right for them and they would rather suck up than stand up(The rhyme is purely an accident!)

    • Yes I accept sacrifices are done to make others happy and that one necessarily needn’t be happy to do it. But my post’s point was that was such sacrifices needed? I mean I strongly believe in order to keep your society and your loved ones happy you need to be satisfied and happy with your life to an extent. Spreading happiness while in misery is a very difficult task. But if someone can make a sacrifice which makes them miserable but yet make others happy, more power to them. But I wouldn’t recommend that approach to anyone.

      I can make sacrifices provided they don’t make me feel miserable. If a sacrifice we make keeps haunting us, this is the place where I say we shouldn’t make one.

      There is no denying that men also make sacrifices. It’s just that I see and talk to so many women who sacrifice more due to force than free will which makes them unhappy.

  2. I like sacrifices. When my husband sacrifices going out with his friends one night because I had a bad day at work, I feel happy and he feels happy that he is able to give up something just to make me happy. But if he gives up on his friends FOREVER just for me, I don’t feel good. And he will start resenting me after awhile too. And that sacrifice ends up hurting everyone all around.

    To answer your question, I don’t peg sacrifice as bad. We all have to sacrifice something at various points in our life (think of it as compromise). But when you choose your life partner just to make your parents happy, I think that’s just stupid. Agreeing to talk to a guy you don’t like at first sight just coz your parents like him is a good sacrifice. You might end up finding that he is your soulmate and end up marrying him. But agreeing to marry a guy you don’t like (even after talking to him and dating him) to make your parents happy is plain dumb. I hope your friend’s marriage works out for her sake and her parents sake.

    And again coming to your other question about sacrifices and selfishness. If your mother wants you to do some chore around the house everyday and you refuse to do it because you don’t want to sacrifice 30 mins of a day doing it that’s selfishness. Small sacrifices are good, but big life changing ones not so much. Ultimately you should be happy with the choices you make. It’s when you second guess your decisions and start resenting people that your life becomes hell.

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