Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sacrifice and other words I hate

Well, hate is a strong word. It is true, though, that I really, really dislike the word sacrifice.

The word sacrifice has a deep religious link. This is not the reason I do not like it. In sacred texts and in good horror stories, sacrifice has a proper place. My dislike has more to do with the more common use of the word, with the sacrifice we claim, what we give up for someone or for something else. There is a tone of martyrdom or victimization in the use of sacrifice. It implies a burden we go through. 

There is something very beautiful in our offering of ourselves to others. But we take that beauty away when we place an expectation–explicit or implied, consciously or not–on what we do for the sake of someone or something else. We sacrifice for our children, for a career we want for ourselves, for the lifestyle we have built, for a well-sculpted body, for a marriage, for recognition in a particular field. But the expectations make us resentful. They become the moving force within us. We expect love returned, appreciation, acknowledgement, respect, a sense of worthiness, reciprocity and more. Sacrifice is rooted in fear. We do something to gain something. 

We return the beauty to what we do for others and for our dreams by replacing our feelings of expectation to love. When we instill our giving and our doing with this energy, we become grateful, we do things with grace and we enjoy what we do. Resentment subsides and we no longer bear crosses. 

In A Course in Miracles it says, in terms of the psychotherapist/patient relationship, that if the relationship is to be holy, whatever one needs is given by the other, whatever one lacks the other supplies...there is no cost to either. This applies to all relationships.

As I was thinking about sacrifice, tolerance came to mind. Now there's another word I dislike. Tolerance has its place as well, yet, in common usage, it has an implication of putting up with, of superiority, of entitlement. I tolerate immigrants, gays, jews, white people, black people, Asians, autistic children, those less educated. To tolerate does not convey within us acceptance and respect. It does not convey love.

Other words I hate: Obligation (it's an imposition), penance (it stems from guilt, judgment), hormonal (its common use is sexist), starving (commonly used when we are really hungry. Starvation is a real problem. We have never been close to starving.). 

There are a few other words on my list. For now, I want to focus on words that lift us up, inspire us and bring us to what excites us. Enthusiasm, passion, aspirations, vitality, spiritedness, creativity and so on. Go ahead. Add your own. What words inspire you? What words do you love?

Image from ecobodhi.com

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