It Takes Sacrifice

What does the word sacrifice make you think of? Does it have a negative connotation to you? Does it bring up feelings of loss?

Does anyone hear the word in a positive light? Can you relate it to success and achievement?

It’s probably safe to say that most feel the word with a bit of a negative sting. Sacrifice feels like losing something you really want. Having to give up something you really cherish. Which, technically speaking, is sacrifice. BUT, that’s only half the definition.

The actual dictionary definition of sacrifice is: an act of giving up something valued for the sake of something else regarded as more important or worthy.

It’s that second part there that doesn’t usually get much attention, and understandably so. We all have a tendency toward immediate gratification. We lean toward certainty and comfort. So, when we think about giving something up, we feel the negative emotions associated, and then cling to what we fear losing. It’s a lot harder for us to get past that initial bite to the place where we can be reassured by what we stand to gain. 

A person who is recently sober often focuses on the identity and lifestyle they have lost, rather than the healthy new way of living they are growing into. Someone who is unhappy in their relationship tends to focus on the discomfort they may experience from being alone, rather than the prospect of finding someone who truly makes them happy. An individual who would rather be an artist than an accountant may fear the potential instability in a career change, ultimately choosing to stay with certainty rather than the opportunity to live a more fulfilling lifestyle. 

Giving more attention to what we stand to lose, focusing on the negative aspect of sacrifice, is much easier because whatever we have to let go of is actually with us in the present moment. Whatever we stand to gain is still floating out there in the unknown, existing as a mere desire. Mark my words, though, whether you decide to take the risk or not doesn’t change the fact that it’s all out there waiting for you to come after it. 

What do you want? What do you deserve? And, what are you willing to give up to go after it? 


**A key component to moving through this road block to change is reframing the way you think about the word itself. Sacrifice is about what I am going to gain, instead of what I am going to lose. Sacrifice is about forgoing immediate gratification to work toward something bigger and better. A better approach altogether is to think of it as delaying gratification. 


If you’d like more info on this concept, check out my recent post on DELAYED GRATIFICATION

Focus Therapy, Jay Wick, LMFT