It’s been a while since I have sat down to write. It hasn’t been for the lack of wanting, or needing to, but more about inspiration to do so.
Life is never what we think or want it to be, but in the spirit and passing of Valentines Day, we often need to sit down and reflect on what we feel and believe about the “celebration of love.”
Although there is an art to showing someone you love them, there isn’t art or any words to describe the feelings identified with love.
Believe it or not, love is all around us, we only have to open our eyes to see it. People often say they have found love … yet, love is not found by those who know what love is, it is only found by those who are lost in knowing what it is or how to spot it.
This year, I will meet another one of life’s milestones and every time I reach a milestone I like to pause and evaluate my life to that point.
In speaking about love and love interests, it’s been a mixed bag … but then again, I suspect it’s been no different for many of those who may be reading this.
As I reach the dawning of another decade of life I’ve come to a few conclusions … love is not about remaining independent, as many still shout from the highest mountain its importance and making sure everyone knows “they don’t need anyone to be happy;” love is not about how big a wedding ring, big house, new car or how many roses or chocolates you get Valentines Day; nor is love judged by how many years someone has been together or how many times a couple breaks up and gets back together and still survives.
Love is truly about feeling strong enough about someone to the point that none of that stuff really matters in the grand scheme of things … not that those types of things don’t matter.
I have often thought, as put forth in the 2015 screenplay “The Longest Ride,” “Love requires sacrifice, always,” but the more I thought about it the more I wondered if love requires sacrifice … or does it involve more compromise than sacrifice or both.
After much research, I have come to the conclusion that sacrifice is a personal choice to give up something … something totally under your control to give up … meaning, within your control and your control only. It isn’t something you already possess or can attain, but something you give up voluntarily.
Once you sacrifice something, the thought of missing out on something is gone and can be put to rest. There are no imaginary issues left to linger in the mind. In essence, it is easy to move forward from giving up something you never had.
However, in intimate relationships, compromise can eat away at all the uncertain and unfinished business left by the compromise. Compromise can eat away at your imagination, especially when it comes to the potential loss, rather than the actual loss of a sacrifice.
In one review I read about sacrifice versus compromise, the author looked at envy versus jealousy, for instance.
When you envy someone for having something you don’t have, it is much easier to get over the envy … after all, they have something you don’t, and, it’s easier to give up something you haven’t ever had or are able to obtain.
However, in a jealousy-type scenario, especially in intimate relationships, the psychology author opined that the fear of losing something you already have is far more painful, and unlike sacrifice, the loss is not a choice and is controlled by circumstances outside your control … normally, one party realizing there are other options (options not including you).
Yes, you may say it is apples and oranges, but how many times have you compromised because you fear losing someone?
Is sacrificing a new job or moving to a new location for your partner really a sacrifice or a compromise? I believe it is the motivating factors behind the final decision that determines whether you sacrificed or compromised.
Sacrifice is made on the basis of love and compassion for a significant other … compromise is made out of fear of the alternative, such as losing someone.
Ask yourself, would you rather not take a great job or move to another location because you were willing to sacrifice the job and the need to move (your choice), or, would you rather hear your significant other say, “If you take that job and have to move, I don’t think we could still be together,” (their choice)?
In one instance you are in control and are willing to make the sacrifice, yet in the second instance you are asked to choose what is a compromise involving an alternative … not taking the job and not chancing the current state of the relationship out of fear of losing the relationship.
In the long run, love is about both sacrifice and compromise. In deeply loving relationships, sacrifice, at some point becomes so commonplace it’s not identified as a sacrifice, but something you do out of love and compassion for your significant other.
At some point, you may find yourself asking your significant other to make a sacrifice for you so you know they love you, just so you can stop seeing them as a compromise … and at that point any sacrifice will do, otherwise if you are asking for a specific sacrifice it becomes a compromise in disguise.
I have been in past relationship situations where someone has said they loved me, but have shown otherwise, and I have said, “then show me.” Yes, I am human and I responded with an all-too-human response. Well, they asked me how they could show me. My response, “that’s up to you.”
In hindsight, maybe I should have been specific and asked for a showing of sacrifice, yet my philosophy has always been if I have to ask for something specific (a compromise), then it isn’t real and is done out of fear, rather than out of want or desire to sacrifice.
It’s never good for someone to think about the grass always being greener on the other side, but without sacrifice, in my opinion, it always will be … as long as someone isn’t able to sacrifice, rather than compromise.
Compromise always involves taking something away from someone involuntarily in preference to something else beneficial to the other party.
I guess it’s a fine line … one can compromise in the choice of a home or car, but love really does require sacrifice, always.
Compromising your feelings and giving your partner what no one else can in the matter of your heart should never involve compromise.
Some will always seek compromise because of their inability to be a giver, or worse yet, their inability to sacrifice.
Sacrifice is unconditional … compromise is always conditional, and at its root is fear of the unknown, unfinished business and the thought of the alternative (losing someone), which is more harmful than not compromising.
At some point, one might ask, “Why should I sacrifice for him (her)?” And, at some point the one asking for the compromise may start doubting the value of the compromise and actually not see it as a compromise anymore … believing the alternative is more viable.
For the later reason, compromise if often more painful than sacrifice, insofar as the emotional toll the alternative (loss) takes.
The loss from sacrifice will sting, but it will not linger … it’s something you give up willingly. Sacrifice is giving up something you really never had, whereas compromise will cause you to lose something you had or something within your reach, yet it is still not something within your control … there is always an “alternative” with compromise.
To all of those with a child or children or who have had children, I offer this analogy.
Child: “I will be good in the store if I can have a toy.” While many parents see this as not something uncommon for a child, in the back of your mind are you really thinking, “If I don’t offer a reward for good behavior, what will he act like in the store?”
I would suggest that every parent has thought something similar at one point in time while raising their child or children.
Most will compromise with the child in some form or fashion to achieve good behavior in public to make sure the alternative (bad behavior) is curtailed.
In the coming weeks, I will venture out to a new area as I continue to find a new home … and perhaps a new state to live in.
There are many homes I am looking at … my wish list? … a good school system, a fairly large home, say 3,500 to 4,000 square feet, enough acreage so I can have horses again (which I do not have at present, but have had in the past), at least five bedrooms, a large jetted tub, a large kitchen with a double oven (I love to cook) and many other items on my list.
No doubt I will probably have to sacrifice some things on the wish list … things I don’t have now, thus, the sacrifice. I won’t miss the things on my list if they aren’t in my new home simply because I don’t have them now, and I will move forward with the home I ultimately choose.
Things I currently have that I will not compromise? Love and family … are not negotiable.
Every day we make sacrifices and compromises … and, it’s a thin line we walk between what is a sacrifice and what is a compromise.
I can’t think of one instance where love should ever be a compromise, but I can see sacrificing in the name of love.
Compromising because of fear of the alternative is never an option for me.
Love can sometimes lead us to our brightest memories, yet can also throw us into the darkest of depths in our lives. Understanding the difference between sacrifice and compromise, and what it is for you individually, will help you go a long way into finding your way to shine.
Love does “require sacrifice, always,” because it always comes from the heart and from compassion for someone else. Call me old-fashioned if you wish, but I’ll take it as a banner of hope and faith.
Are you sacrificing or compromising? Only you know the answer.