Service vs sacrifice
Do you often say yes when you really want to say no?
How many things do you do on a daily basis that you don’t really want to do?
Are you a people pleaser?
If you are a people pleaser and keep sacrificing your needs for the needs of others, you probably feel drained, exhausted, depressed, frustrated, resentful and angry at the world. If it is so, you have to ask yourself are you really helping or just sacrificing yourself?
All we want is love and acceptance so we learn at a very young age how to behave to get the love and approval we so deeply desire. I believe we naturally are altruistic and want to be helpful to others.
But true service comes from love, it is an inspired action of love, an act that makes you happy and uplifting to others. Service is always mutually beneficial, always a win-win situation.
However sacrifice comes from a feeling of obligation and guilt, it might temporarily uplift the other but usually it only enables them to stay a victim. Sacrifice long term will always lead to resentment and anger further damaging relationships.
Why do we sacrifice ourselves?
The idea that sacrifice is the right thing to do, that it is loving and somehow a noble act that will lead to liberation, is simply not true. If you look around you can clearly see how self sacrificing people end up being drained, sick, resentful, bitter and generally unhappy. And when you are in this state, it is impossible to give, to help others, to be in service. How can you uplift others when you are completely depleted?
Here are the most common reasons to say yes when we mean no.
social conditioning, expectation to obey, be nice, please others)
Basic need to be loved and accepted, approved, validated (so we learn early how to please others)
religious dogmas: salvation is through sacrifice and suffering, to be in service means sacrificing yourself for the greater good, you don't deserve to be happy because you are a sinner etc.
Fear of loss of love and acceptance if we say no to other’s request or demand
You are depleted because You didn't honor and respect your needs, want and desires. Once you start to nurture yourself, love and respect yourself, honor your needs, you will start to feel uplifted, joyful and happy. From this place you are able to share, to give, to help or to uplift somebody else.
Love is the biggest service
The most you can give to others is love, compassion and kindness. Love starts with loving yourself, honoring yourself, your feelings. When you nurture this self love, it will grow and overflow and you will naturally give it to others. Loving and nurturing yourself will ensure the flow of love and the more you receive, the more you can give and so it will flow.
Being a good person
However to be a good, loving person you don't have to sacrifice yourself, your needs and say yes to everything. Sometimes the most loving and compassionate thing is to say NO.
When you feel obliged to give your time, resources, attention but deeply you wish you wouldn't have to because you don't want to, please understand that this doesn't mean you are a bad person.
Sometimes the most loving, conscious and healthy response is to say no to other's demands and nourish yourself, honor your needs first so you can step back to the flow and offer your best service to others.
If you keep sacrificing yourself you get depleted and will have only the illusion of giving while you secretly suffer. This is the opposite of service and love.
5 Steps to say NO with ease and grace
1. Simply say NO. (with strength, confidence and conviction like you mean it)
2. Explain, give your perspective (thoughts and feelings) about why you are saying no.
Speak with love from your heart (truly wishing to find a win-win solution)
3. Offer an alternative solution
4. Be open to discuss and listen to others, be open to their perspective
5. Stay true to your no (keeping your own rules, accountability)
Most people who keep saying yes when they really want to say no will eventually explode and end up hurting themselves and others while temporarily loosing control. This does not need to happen if you honor your NO and express it in a healthy, loving way just as you honor your YES.
We are social beings and operate with social contracts. Yes means I desire, this is what I truly want. No means this is not acceptable, it is not what I want in a relationship. We create our rules. Be authentic. Honor and respect yourself, your feelings.
Remember that you are worthy of love because you are love and you exist. You don't have to do anything to deserve that love, you are that love. But it is your responsibility to express and embody that love in yourself, your life and radiate it out to others. Through self love you expand and are able to love another and grow the love in this world.
You are loved.