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January 12, 2024

It's Not A Sacrifice, It's A Decision

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We hear a lot about making sacrifices. Being in a relationship or marriage with someone involves sacrifice. Passing up a passion to support your kids and their well-being is a sacrifice. Living near family instead of in a different city is a sacrifice. Not drinking alcohol any more is a sacrifice.

What I don’t like about the idea of sacrificing is the implication that there’s something unfair about it. It almost makes you the victim of circumstances and that you’re being held back or restrained by these other things you’re sacrificing for.

Now I fully understand that life is a series of tradeoffs. What I’m going to propose is to change the perspective we take towards these things that we call sacrifices.

The reality is you can do anything at any time. Some things are unfathomable because of the different responsibilities you have, commitments you’ve made, or values you hold, but nonetheless you can do anything at any time. And seeing that every detail of your life has been intentionally or unintentionally constructed by your choices is the first step to changing this perspective.

Rather than seeing the tradeoffs of life as sacrifices, what if you were to see them as decisions? You’re not sacrificing your career for your family, you’re choosing your family over your career. You’re not sacrificing your dream lifestyle in Hawaii, you’re choosing to be available to your family.

This gets more difficult when there are things that have happened in the past that created new tradeoffs. Things like family health issues, injuries, financial hardships, or irreversible mistakes. Even in these moments you still get to choose how to relate with these tradeoffs, and ultimately the path forward is within your control. You can’t choose for the past to be different but you can choose what you do about it in the present.

Self-efficacy and agency are some of the most powerful things any one person can have. You may not have a say on the hand you’re dealt, but you sure to get to choose how to play them.

When you see that life is within your control, and rather than being the victim of circumstances you’re the creator of your future, you get to enjoy the choices you make more. You don’t live with your mind on what could’ve been and instead get to focus on how to make what’s happening now fantastic.

It’s easier said than done, but with this awareness you’ll be more accountable to it. With that in mind I want to share a prompt that can help you adjust your perspective.

What’s one thing that you haven’t let go of, that you feel like you’ve compromised on in your life, and how might you be able to think about it differently so that it’s something that you chose?

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