Love requires more effort and fewer sacrifices

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Joe Dispenza

Love requires more effort and fewer sacrifices

The couple relationship needs more commitment than sacrifices. Abandoning everything that defines us and that is important for us to please our partner means losing our identity.

Written and verified by the psychologist GetPersonalGrowth.

Last update: 15 November 2022

Love requires more effort and fewer sacrifices. Instead, there are many people who are convinced that true love requires continuous concessions and sacrifice. And, the larger they are, the more authentic the bond will be. Embracing this premise can lead us to build one-sided relationships with license of emotional abuse and loss of one's identity.

It is not true that in love everything is allowed. Graham Greene said that we are all born with a noble and authentic idea of ​​love, but along the way we end up making a bad use of it. It is the classic model of romantic love that is part of the common sentimental education. For a long time we have been led to believe that love rhymes with pain.

We have so intertwined the idea of ​​affection with that of sacrifice that these two ingredients become a system for measuring true love. Looking through this prism, however, leads us to to consider the feeling as a kind of atavistic divinity that demands painful sacrifices if we want to consider ourselves truly worthy of his love.

There is no need to go to these extremes. Although, of course, a relationship may require sacrifice in some situations, this cannot be the norm. True love is nourished, first of all, by commitment. It must be a source of daily fulfillment, never a pyre where dreams, identities and values ​​can be burned. 

"We gave real forms to a ghost, an invention of the ridiculous mind, and made an idol, we sacrificed our love on its altar."

-Gustavo Adolfo Becquer-

Love requires more effort and less sacrifice: the secret is balance

Sometimes sacrifices are necessary. In some cases we hope that our partner will take that important step: leave your city or your country to start a new life with us, change jobs, postpone a project. In some moments, indeed, it is necessary to travel kilometers, to leave houses, to tear up roots, to reprogram the future, to draw new maps of life.

These decisions, however, must always arise from our will. And, furthermore, we should never understand them as a missed opportunity, but as a benefit. The perception of having gained something must overcome the feeling of loss. In other words, sacrifice must be experienced as an act to weld a bond, a courageous decision that underlines our commitment.

Sacrifice, however, does not nourish the relationship if it brings suffering. In this case you feel you have lost something, and this experience has a cost. Studies in the psychological field, such as the one conducted at the Universities of Toronto and Berkeley, offer us some food for thought:

  • We often underestimate the great impact these dynamics can have. Continuous concessions and renunciations erode our emotional fabric and even our identity.

The emotional price of continuous renunciations

The Department of Psychology at Berkeley University conducted this study for three years. 80 couples were involved with the aim of assess the impact of sacrifice within a relationship.

  • Most of the people who claimed to have made sacrifices in favor of their partner tended to "hide" the emotional cost of any concession or waiver.
  • Not expressing the emotional cost of these decisions often the partner considered the gesture as normal or done willingly. She did not hesitate, therefore, to ask for other sacrifices over time.
  • People used to giving up without noticing the emotional cost tend to experience frustration, self-esteem issues, and unhappiness.

Love requires more effort and fewer sacrifices. In the event that our renunciation in favor of the loved one is necessary, we must make them understand clearly that our gesture has an emotional and personal cost. We learn to voice feelings and record the consequences of every decision made within the couple.

Love requires commitment, but it is not measured in sacrifices

A relationship needs more commitment than renunciation, we know. However, there is always the idea that love and sacrifice go hand in hand. We often choose to keep quiet about the weight of our sacrifices. Or, even, we come to rationalize these concessions thinking that it is better for us, that it is the right thing to do.

It may happen, for example, that you become convinced that leaving your job was good. Or that that house, that friendship, that project, that passion, that habit didn't do it for us because, in the end, what matters is love. This reasoning can be worth a month or even a year.

But the time will come when the scales will no longer be balanced. The day will come when we will feel that the losses will be greater than the gains and frustration will emerge if not hatred. A hatred towards that person for whom we have decided to forget ourselves.

To love does not mean to normalize the sacrifice. Each bond must favor personal growth and not impede it. That's why it takes more effort than sacrifice. Once this is established, we can do whatever it takes for each other to improve the quality of the relationship. But we must set a very precise limit: do not do anything that can betray ourselves.

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