One of the most important lessons that I have learned thus far in my twenties is to never sacrifice yourself for a relationship. Now when I used the word relationship, I know that most people’s minds immediately go towards romantic relationships and while that falls into the category of what I am talking about here, it’s not the main attraction. I think that friends and family members also fall into the relationship territory, but for different reasons and in different ways. While this article is about relationships in general, I wrote about friendship specifically here (https://www.lifeintheoutland.com/post/on-friendship) and may write about familial relationships in the future.
But anyway, one of the most important lessons that I have learned is not never sacrifice yourself for a relationship. This means so many things to me, but trying to put it all of those feelings into words is a bit harder than I thought,
Not sacrificing myself for a relationship means not sacrificing my identity to stay in the presence of others. This means not sacrificing the way I look, the way that I dress, my personality, just to be in certain circles or to keep other people around me. That is no way to live, and lets be real here, personally it has taken me years of growth and work to accept myself for all that I am and all that I am not. (And some days I still struggle.) It has taken Years to make peace with what I look like, and with the more prickly parts of my personality and no one is worth giving up that peace of mind.
Not sacrificing myself for a relationship means not sacrificing opportunities to do what makes someone else happy. Opportunity doesn't always come knocking and the universe will only give you so many at a time. If you pass too many opportunities up, you will be without them for a while and who knows when the next one will come by. For an opportunity that you want to take it means that you have to do things that may make others unhappy and some things may go by the wayside. For example, choosing an opportunity over straightening up my apartment, gave my ex-boyfriend a catalyst to break up with me. He liked neatness and order, and I decided that more important than straightening for him was taking a chance and trying to get my opportunity. The lessons that I learned from that opportunity will pay off for me throughout my life, and more important than a relationship that wouldn't have lasted anyway. If I hadn’t taken that opportunity, I may still be in a relationship, but I wouldn’t have lasting knowledge to use throughout my life.
Not sacrificing myself for a relationship means being able to speak my truth whenever and however I want. This means being able to tell my thoughts and feelings to the individuals in my life whenever I feel like I need too. It means that I should never fear revealing my thoughts and feelings because of the reactions, thoughts, or feelings of others. There should be no fear when it comes to speaking the truth with someone you have a relationship with.
Not sacrificing myself for a relationship means not letting my morals be manipulated. As time goes on the morals and standards that are essential to my lifestyle and my well being becomes more clear. These unchanged things are steadfast. These ideals and standards are what they are and will never be manipulated for other people.
The most important thing to be able to learn is to not sacrifice yourself to be in relationships with others. I think that sometimes people see and society paints this picture of romanticized suffering for others. That there is beauty in giving and giving all of yourself to others until you have nothing left to give. But in reality, there is no beauty in that.
Why should you suffer when there is no need for it?