Sacrifice is a necessary part of relationships and in most cases our sacrifices are made with the best of intentions, but I won’t deny or downplay the idea that there is such a thing as an unhealthy or dangerous sacrifice.
I’ve seen way too many parents, ministers, social workers, and charity volunteers become the unnecessary victims of high-blood pressure, heart attacks, strokes, sleeplessness, extreme anxiety, debilitating stress, chronic resentment and a host of other problems that hindered their ability to serve simply because they neglected the importance of self-care.
Sacrifice, when combined with intelligence and a healthy lifestyle, can be a powerful and productive strategy for achieving positive goals. Unnecessary martyrdom, however, is harmful to everyone involved.
It’s one thing to sacrifice personal desires, money, conveniences, comfort, material possessions, and other things we can live without, but if we’re putting ourselves in the hospital, the therapist’s office, or the grave, in the name of looking out for others, then we should reevaluate our motives and our strategy.
If we truly live to serve others, then we ought to take care of ourselves enough to make sure we can actually stick around to be there for them.
Yes, the world needs us. But it needs us because of what we can do. If we deprive ourselves of that ability because of an unhealthy desire to feel needed or an unbalanced determination to “always be helping,” then we miss the point.
We should do whatever we can to make the world a better place, but we can’t achieve that goal if we’re sacrificing our health and sanity in the process.
Before you make that sacrifice, please think about the rest of us. If you’re really worried about our problems, please don’t make it worse by giving us the additional problem of having to rush you to the emergency room because of your failure to ever sit down, relax, have a meal, and sleep.