When we sacrifice, we give up something of value for a better position or life situation. This should be easy as we are comparing machines, what makes it difficult is that it requires people to be prepared to take on the responsibility of making a sacrifice. The opportunity to make a sacrifice has to be sought out, pursued and taken, it is easy to choose to make a bad situation better, when you are starving it is easy to sacrifice honour for a loaf of bread, when your partner does not satisfy your needs and wants, it is might not be easy but it is natural to sacrifice the relationship and leave. These are the sacrifices that flow naturally from wanting something better.
And it is these easy sacrifices that gives you practice to make the hard sacrifices, and there are plenty of hard sacrifices to make if we choose to seek them out. What makes them hard is when the position you are in is good, where your circumstances partially or mostly satisfies your needs and wants. It is when you feel good in the short term, have something of value and hence something to lose that is what makes it difficult as we are loss adverse. It is where you have to make a real sacrifice, such as giving up a well paying job for the chance of creating your own business or a trip around the world for a chance to do a Ph.D. That is when it becomes a hard choice, and one not just based on logic but one which dwells into the realms of the emotional heart of what you truly desire and want. You have to clearly express what you want before you have a chance of getting it.
We each have own version of a painful sacrifice, perhaps the greatest universal sacrifice that we all have to make is in the world of love and if you rely entirely on logic you will be led astray. These are the hardest of decisions, we all have to choose what we are willing to trade for love, a best friend for the love of your life, passion for safety or infatuation for real love. These are all real choices with short term pleasure and long term rewards.
What would you be willing to give up for love? What would be the most you would give up, what about if you liked and loved someone unconditionally, to give that up is hard, to give up on something that is pure and simple, and the only thing I could imagine giving it up for is conditional love, the imperfect, uncomfortable kind of love that is a real relationship where you do not have the luxury of distance and time apart to allow frictions and feelings to dissipate and settle. You have to choose a riskier, less certain kind of love where you have to face the real-time discomfort of being you whilst someone else is being them, where your imperfections are exposed and highlighted.
You have to accept things as they are, and recognise that any source of the illusion that someone can a pure source of happiness, joy and will fully fulfil your need for love, can only be temporary and whilst covered in honey, it is a trap, such illusions are dangerous because in comparison conditional love can feel like such a poor substitute, it can feel broken and not worth persisting with. Whilst unconditional love can feel timeless and the ultimate safe stronghold from which to parlay into the chaotic world of love, it is a mirage or at best a temporary refuge, a place of safety in which to recover and gain your strength, before you can be brave, strong and harden again to be hurt and risk hurting others.
Unconditional love poisons the seedlings of conditional love, it is hostile ground upon which to grow a new season of plants. It is a jealous lover that looks down upon its imperfect rivals, it is cruel to newcomers as it is impossible to live up to such standards, how can anyone, any real person be better than unconditional love, they can only fail. And yet, to walk away from such a love, to give it up, to be hard enough to sacrifice such a love, that is terrifying, that is the hardest choice you will ever have to make, it is full of pain and the only reason to do so would be for that real conditional type of love that is a real world relationship. It would be tempting to bargain, to pretend that it was possible to have both kinds of love at the same time, to tell yourself that your partner is unreasonable to expect you to sacrifice a pure kind of love, that they were jealous where there is no need to be, that does not stop them being right that is you refusing to love them fully, that does not treasures and values those moments of unconditional love that emerge during a relationship of conditional love because you have the safety of more than one source of love.
And why would you value those moments when you are sitting in your stronghold of unconditional love. You are like a child with stabilisers on their bike, who think they are invincible and protected from falling off and hurting themselves, love is a full contact sport that does not come with protective padding, you do not get to retreat to a place of safety, a cup of coffee of understanding that comes with a dose of unconditional love, you do not get to enjoy the benefits of a vaccine that contains the tiniest amount of undiluted, judgement free love that protects you from the risks of conditional love. You have to choose to be naked and fully yourself, full of doubt and insecurity, you do not get to run back to a safe place, you have to choose to move forward towards something that is imperfect.
It is not to say that you should not treasure those relationships that are full of unconditional love, but you have to recognise them for their temporary nature, that they are a moment that you visit, that gives you the strength for the rest of your journey and belief that unconditional love can exist, that it is possible not just a theoretical possibility. You should be grateful that you get to experience it for even a moment and acknowledge its value, whilst knowing that it is not something you get to keep, it is a fire that burns once and for a limited time. It warms you against cold reality, and you have to choose to head back to the real world, yet the put your armour back on and fight the good fight, you have to be able to risk it all to gain something of greater value.
That is a problem with unconditional love, it is freely given and taken, there is no price for it, you do not have to sacrifice for it, it is a thing of beauty and should be appreciated, but it cannot be possessed, it has to be returned to its rightful owner and there is a distance, a space between observing and touching, feeling and holding. It is a good life to be in the presence of such love, it is a comfortable and safe place, like a fairytale where our hero is lulled into a deep and pure sleep, and we can only be awaken by the kiss of reality. And in real life, we are the ones who have to give ourselves the kiss of life by being willing to sacrifice, to give it up for a better life, so be brave and be prepared to choose to either walk away or to have a painful and uncomfortable conversation where you admit to your weaknesses and honour truth above all else, you have to be prepared to sacrifice for something better and it might be of comfort to know that if you can make that sacrifice every other sacrifice you have to make in life should be easy. To be free to love you have to sacrifice what you love the most.