We all live by rules, assumed rules. We live by unconscious rules that are so embedded in us that we believe they are universal. But when we reflect, we see that these rules are not only not universal but in many cases harmful and counter to Love. These rules have been developed in environments that promoted the shrunken self, and therefore encouraged selfishness in the name of “family”, “normal”, and even “good” and “right”.
In many families there is a strong sense of hierarchy. Though words like “love” and “care” are used, underneath there is no sense of real Love and care. If we scratch the surface we will see that at any given moment, there are only two choices: either we sacrifice ourselves, or we sacrifice everyone else to our desires. There is no third option.
In this kind of inhuman environment, it is sacrifice or be sacrificed. Someone has to be immolated in every interaction. There is never a situation in which all family members win. Love is win/win. Here, there is no Love. Because what we have is familiar, we call it normal, and normal is more important than Love.
Many years ago I asked a person I was with, “Why can’t we both be powerful, good cooks, artistic, smart, spiritual?” His answer was “No. Only one of us can be that.” His response revealed that in his mind, he was clearly the only one allowed to have those skills. There was no win/win. I was left to quietly accept the situation. There was no compromise that would have allowed us each to move in from an absolute position and share. In order to keep the peace, sacrifice was what was called for, and sacrifice is not compromise. It’s giving in and discarding one’s self.
What we are to learn from that story is that people sacrifice others to maintain their idea of themselves. It is about power and control. If we want power and control, we will not sacrifice ourselves; we will sacrifice others to the demands of our system, and expect those others to be willing and happy to be sacrificed.
The one who sacrifices herself to another’s demands deludes herself, calling it “doing the right thing”. In this delusion, if we are willing to be sacrificed, we are “good”. If we are not willing to be sacrificed, we are “bad”. People who aren’t willing to be sacrificed are bad because they make the demanding person’s life more difficult.
Until we ourselves are willing to be sacrificed, we will only sacrifice others to our demands. We will expect them to go along, and will be baffled and angry when others aren’t happy to be sacrificed this way.
When we willingly go to the sacrifice rather than sacrifice others, we have started on the path towards humility; if we continue in that direction, it will bring us to humanity. We are, however, to sacrifice neither others nor ourselves. In Truth, we as ourselves are others—family in the best sense of the word.
In a real family there is human-to-human interaction. Everyone feels supported and there is truly a win/win outcome. Everyone is encouraged to be themselves and work to the best of their ability. There is no sacrificing of our or others’ authentic voices or actions. There is only one real rule, and it is to Love.
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