Women are notoriously known as the people who sacrifice for everyone other than herself. When our children are sick, and we are also sick we somehow muster up the strength to take care of their needs before taking care of ours. We sacrifice our perfect figures and flawless hair lines for the chance to go through excruciating labor to bring a human life into this world. We sacrifice our education and career advancement so that we can ensure that we are present for every performance and tuck into the bed. We sacrifice without remorse, without question, without shame.
We sacrifice the chance to hang out with our girlfriends to ensure dinner is prepared for our husband and kids. Yes, even in 2018 this tradition is still as relevant as it was, say forty years in the past. We pass up the adventurous opportunities for fear of fun turning disastrous. We think like mothers, in turn sacrificing the freedom of our mind and its right to be wild and free. We sacrifice, we sacrifice, and we sacrifice some more. For most we don’t complain, we don’t mention it, heck we don’t even notice it until all those we were sacrificing for are no longer present to need us the way they once did before.
I’m sure I’m not the only one. Ask yourself what have you sacrificed? Your time? Your freedom? Your desires? Your individuality? Your wants, wishes, and needs? Have you sacrificed so much that you feel like if you don’t start sacrificing for yourself that you’re just going to break. You’re going to get to the end of the road and regret that you sacrificed for everyone other than yourself and then look at them as if they owe you something?
We take privilege and honor in putting ourselves last and never once complaining but we cheat only ourselves. Often, we don’t realize that we are cheating ourselves, as sacrificing for women, comes at a young age. We are taught this by our mothers, our aunts, our older sisters, and our grandparents. Parents say, “Do as I say, not as I do,” but we all know how we defy the rules. We live our lives by the direction presented to us by the women we love and admire. As a small child we don’t always recognize this, we even make statements such as; “I’ll never be like my mom, I’ll never do the things she does, I’ll always put me first!” The bad thing is that even though we say one thing we often follow our parent’s footsteps by doing what we see instead of what we hear.
“Today was my awakening. In fact, over the last week I was awakened about the sacrifices I had begun to make to please everyone other than myself.”
Last week I became an Official Board Member to Royale Cohesive Network, a Non-Profit organization focused on providing people with resources that will enhance the sustainability of their lives. This week I found out I have eleven payments left on my first car. Next week I will start to work on one of the largest blogs I have produced thus far. This quarter I completed 30 hours of community service. This year I have entered a new-found happiness and peace that has provided me with a new perspective and allowed me to let go of my fears and face my dreams.
Wanna know a secret?
I sacrificed fun. I sacrificed casual gatherings. I sacrificed family time. I sacrificed dating. I sacrificed, I sacrificed everything other than my happiness. See, everything I had been doing, every sacrifice I had made was to set my future up. It was to ensure that after this “phase” of my life I still had something to work on, to work towards. I sacrificed small things now, so I didn’t have to sacrifice big things in the future.
Prior to now I thought sacrifice was only something that would make me uncomfortable. I thought it would be hard. I thought that I would see no reward. Guess what? All of that is true. All of it. I was uncomfortable at times, it was hard at times, and at times I saw no reward that could come from it. Guess what, again? I couldn’t remember a time I had sacrificed for myself, so imagining how I would feel after wasn’t a thought that crossed my mind.
The irony here is last week I looked at everything and said to myself, “Lex you aren’t doing enough.” Honestly, it didn’t seem like I was doing enough. Comparison crept in my doorway and told me that other bloggers, entrepreneurs, and like-minded individuals were doing more than me, and I needed to do more. So, I went on overload. I produced six pieces of content for 3 days – something that I have not done in the history of the blog. I signed up for a few more volunteer opportunities. I booked my calendar. I did what I thought would make me feel like I was doing enough.
Then reality came knocking on my door and smacked me in the face! I’d said “Lex you aren’t doing enough” and I busied myself so much that I mistakenly forgot to schedule time write the blogs, time to read, time to have me time. See there’s this saying, “You can rest when your dead” that floats through my head every time I think of “chilling”. There’s a whisper in my head that says you laid around for over a year. There’s a fear that says if I don’t stay busy then nothing will get done. I was mistaken.
“To say the least I was a bit afraid of my time revolving strictly around me and my commitments. I felt selfish. I felt like I was sacrificing others impromptu needs for my needs. I felt guilty.”
This reminded me of when I got my first car.
I’d come home from college three years early, no degree in hand but a friend not far behind me. My friend and I sat around for three or four months before I went looking for a job to keep myself busy. I found a job quickly and referred my friend so that she would also have her own money.
At the time I rode public transportation due to not having a car. My family didn’t have the means to buy one for me. No friends or family would let me drive their car. I was desperate for independence, so I acquired two additional jobs shortly after. I needed a car and I wanted a car bad but to get it I would have to Sacrifice a lot. I knew that I would have to Sacrifice a lot of time often only resting for a few hours at a time. Sacrificing so that I would have a down payment, tags, licensing, and all the fancy-smancy stuff that goes along with owning a vehicle.
I knew I would have to Sacrifice my days, nights, and weekends. I would have to Sacrifice a dating or social life. I would have to Sacrifice my happiness, my energy, my sanity, my sleep. I Sacrificed so much for one car. It was and remains my largest purchase to date and even through my hard times I ensured that I took care of that even if nothing else was taken care of because I Sacrificed for it. I wanted something, and I knew to get it, I would have to do a variety of things I’d never done before. I would have to be patient, I would have to work hard, I would have to be persistent, I would have to face my fears, and lastly I would have to be determined to do it no matter what the cost.
Last week, I looked at myself and my life. On the surface it appeared that I hadn’t Sacrificed anything. On the surface it appeared that things symmetrically worked out and that it came together with no real effort, but that was a lie – a bold face lie!
Things may look easy. They may look as if I am handling and managing everything fine but in fact I struggle through my sacrifices sometimes. I struggled through paying off my car. I struggled through finding confidence to blog. I struggled through depression and finding my happiness. I struggled through failures and let downs from those closest around me. I struggled, I struggled, and I struggled some more. Heck, I’m still struggling with things but I’m willing to Sacrifice now so that my dreams of retiring before I’m fifty are my reality. I’m willing to Sacrifice money and time now so that I can grow the blog, my brand, and my writing. I’m willing to Sacrifice parties, clubs, and a night out on the town so that I can travel to every country I have written down.
Are you willing to Pay the Cost for the Opportunity of your Dreams?
-Umhlatshelo, Sonneblom Lex
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