Sacrificial Love, A trade?

Dec 04, 2013
Tim Fernandez

One of my biggest dilemmas in life that I constantly lived to question – the idea of sacrificial love. I have always tried to comprehend how could one make love a sacrifice when really the essence of love is abundance. And here’s the kicker. If I would like to do something in the name of love, would I not do it in great joy, utter fulfillment and unconditional giving? Then how could that be a sacrifice?

As I was growing up, I noticed how sacrificial love created obligations in relationships. I saw it happening in parent-child relationships, intimate relationships between husbands and wives, partners and friendships. I noticed how it architectures consciously or unconsciously the feeling of guilt and obligation for the receiving end. There is a conditional value placed on love, or the act of love.

“I slogged and sacrifice everything to send you to college. And this is what I get?”

“I skipped all the outings with my friends to spend time with you, fought with my boss and made all the sacrifices, and you cannot appreciate that?”

I know there are many versions of the above liners that you probably have come to hear. Sacrificial love in this sense makes love a trade. It makes love scarce, only to impose an intent of the giver. And the funny part is that the giver may not even be conscious of it.

Some say the doing is what makes it sacrificial, because the pain the doer experiences may not necessarily be of the doer’s choice. But then again love is in the being and not the doing, no? And if love is in the being, then the doing is much of an extension of something beautiful, regardless. If it is an extension of the being, then the act of doing is somewhat WHOLE. Anything whole, is never scarce in nature.

I found the idea of sacrificial love being a human mechanism to cope with insecurity. We go into survival mode, and use love in demand. We drop to the base of Abraham Maslow’s theory of needs – survival. We go into the mode of fear, for reality not turning out as intended, and we sometimes use love with the illusion of scarcity on another. I am guilty of it too, both being the giver and receiver. Love is not a favor to return. Do not belittle its ever flowing presence.

Again to note, this are merely my observations and thoughts. I went on to seek, and question. I found love to be divine in nature. I found its essence in the being of a person. I found it on the realm of the unseen. And everything we did from that space, it ought to be of liberation. In the love we give, the receiver must be in liberation and not in obligation. It is not a trade. It is an extension. To do anything in the name of love, is to be unconditional in the giving. The giver celebrates the giving.

There is nothing concrete to conclude from here. Only a reflection of the little things in life, for greater awareness. This was one of mine. I leave this for you to ponder…

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