Every sacrifice you decide to make is a choice. They are the choices that you make willingly because it is your decision to do so. The sacrifices that you are forced to make are clearly not of your choice, but how you look at the sacrifice and how you respond to it are still within your control. Where there is choice, there is power.
Every sacrifice contains a choice. Every sacrifice you make also contains a benefit or else you would not make the sacrifice in the first place. You have to look for it. Here’s how you might do that:
- I am restricting my sugar and fat intake when I would rather eat chocolate and drink a glass of wine in the evenings – the sacrifice – because I want to lose weight and improve my health – the benefit.
- I am cooking all day in the kitchen when I would rather be outside in the sunshine – sacrifice – because when my children come for dinner tonight, I want to serve their favourite meal so I can see the delight on their faces and the contentment in their bodies and my heart – benefit.
- I can afford to, and so I am being a full time mother to three children during their primary years, when I would rather have a career outside the home because that receives at least some recognition and accolades – sacrifice – because I want to be the person to give my children the self-sufficiency skills they will need when they reach their teenage, high school years and beyond – benefit.
Even the sacrifices you are forced to make contain a benefit, although they may take longer to realise. The sacrifices you are forced to make usually contain benefits you don’t realise or appreciate until much later. But if you could jump forward in time and bring that information back with you into a present dilemma, then managing a forced sacrifice can be made easier.
Consider a familiar scenario, where you have either lost your job or your hours have been cut in half and now you have to manage with much less money than you’ve ever done before. In fact, from where you’re standing, the task appears to be impossible and it leaves you feeling wretched. Before you fall into despair and give up all hope for yourself and your situation, stop for a moment and consider this. What possible benefit can be gained out of trying to live on half your income? What will so much less money force you to do? What is it really pushing you to do? What are the possibilities? Aside from panicking or becoming downright miserable at the thought of such a monumental task – and before you try to solve the problem – what possibilities does this situation contain? When you have to get by with fewer friends, less work, less creativity or less money, it forces you to step out of comfort zones and try things you would not otherwise consider.
It pushes you beyond your ordinary life because ultimately, you are meant to do something that is extraordinary for you. Being extraordinary is not meant to impress others. Being extraordinary means not to compare yourself with others, or to compete with their situation and achievements. It is extraordinary for you and what you have done up until now. It forces you to compete with yourself and your best so far today. It makes you imagine something different. It forces you to dream of something better than what you have now. It’s trying to wake up this potential force within you. Difficulties in life will make you do life differently, pushing you to do life differently, forcing you to do life differently, and even bullying you into doing life differently. Difficulties in life spare no-one and nothing in their quest to get you to do your life differently, compared to how it has been done so far. Part of the purpose of your difficulties is that you demonstrate to yourself how extraordinary you are when you solve them. Everyone has a certain degree of the superhuman element in their character. It’s driven by your instinct to survive. This is a vast source of power that has forced human beings and the whole of nature to evolve. It has served to not only ensure survival, but also the ability for nature and humanity to thrive. This is the power you must activate when you need to manage a difficult situation.
The purpose in life’s difficulties can be unlimited. They can bully you into becoming stronger than you were before, to be more imaginative, to be more creative, to be inventive, to take the initiative where you would not have done before, to go where you have never been, to speak up like you never have, to speak your truth if you have not before, to stand up for yourself, to set your boundaries, to be entrepreneurial, to put yourself out there, to rise up to the challenge when you would normally shy away or hide. To fight for what you believe in. To believe that you can do it, because if you don’t, then what else will you do?