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The Beauty of Sacrifice

You Can’t Have the Cake Unless
the Cake is What You Really Want!
By Jean Harper

The sacrifice which causes sorrow to the doer of the sacrifice is no sacrifice. Real sacrifice lightens the mind of the doer and gives him a sense of peace and joy. The Buddha gave up the pleasures of life because they had become painful to him ~ Mahatma Gandhi

Sacrifice has meaning only in the perspective of a goal, dream or mission. In pursuing these, we often face obstacles which require us to forfeit physical or emotional comfort for something that matters more. Often, the greater the dream or vision, the greater the sacrifice required to accomplish it. Sacrifice seems easier for me when I stay focused on what I am choosing, rather than what I am giving up.  

I describe myself as a processor. When an event happens in my life whether, good or bad, I often get quiet and start “processing”.  Those close to me seem to pick up on something and ask if I am ok or upset about something. I think I make a scowled face when I am in deep thought.  I finally learned to just answer with “I’m just processing.”

Today was an interesting day for me as I started “processing” what I might be willing to give up, in order to have something that I really want. The law of sacrifice tells us that we cannot get everything we want without giving up something in return.  I started questioning or processing, “Is that really true?”   I thought of my friend who took a leap of faith to start her own law practice after working with a large firm;  she had to make a sacrifice to do that and she is just fine with it. I thought about the rich and famous people who seem to have everything they could want, but they must sacrifice their privacy and when in public they are bombarded with media and cameras in their faces.  Then I thought about myself and the many sacrifices I have made in order to follow my dreams and I questioned myself, “Have I done enough?”  I know I have to be courageous enough to take action, make a change, and then have the flexibility and fortitude to come up with a different plan if my first one isn’t working.  As I get older that seems to be more challenging.

There is a part of society today that tries to deny the law of sacrifice, believing that they can fulfill their desires without having to make any sacrifices at all. Even applying the Law of Attraction requires some work and sacrifice. I haven’t been able to lose weight without giving up some of my favorite foods, How about you? I can’t seem to build up my muscles without some real hard workouts. I have been very successful and made a lot of money, but not without hard work. The only thing that seemed easy was spending the hard earned money, Do you get that?

The fantasy that you can have whatever you’d like without ever paying for it is an incredibly seductive fantasy and we can all hope for that. Sure, sometimes fame and good fortune seemingly drop into someone’s lap. The law of sacrifice is not as binding, as say, the Law of Gravity, but I believe there is beauty in the law of sacrifice. The beauty is that the path to achieving your goals, as well as the path itself, prepares you to handle your ever changing, unfolding life and builds confidence when things don’t go just the way you thought. Failing to understand the law of sacrifice may lead to a life of restlessness and regret. When you believe you can have whatever you want, without giving up anything in return, you can never fully embrace and enjoy your choices. As I reflect on my sacrifices, I can finally let go of the regret that has been pecking at my heels for a few years now. I know that if I am unhappy with my choices it is only because I chose something that I did not really believe to have higher value than that which I left behind. If you’ve ever wondered why you lack the discipline to attain a certain goal, maybe it is because in your heart, you don’t really value that goal as much as you think you do.

At the end of the day, the most important question we should ask ourselves when evaluating our dreams, desires, and goals, may not be, “What am I willing to do to attain them?” but “What am I willing to give up?” Enjoy the cake, if you reallly want it!




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