Everyone I know sacrifices at least some of his or her self for others. It could be the person working hard to take care of their children. It could be the person who donates some of their money to help those in need.
It could running 5k charity races. It could be simply working to help their employer continue to earn a profit. It could be taking care of their yard so their neighbors’ property value doesn’t degrade due to their own negligence.
In essence we all sacrifice our selves at times to help someone else. We all push to provide society with some sort of assistance.
But what happens when we take on this mindset and let us personally suffer? What about us? Do we care for our own body, mind, spirit, etc. in the same way we care for others? Or do we sacrifice too much of us for others?
I always find it interesting when I fly on a plane that they say to put your own mask on before helping anyone else. In our society, helping us before others is looked at as selfish. But on a crashing plane it is considered survival. It is a matter of necessity. If we don’t help us, then we can’t help others.
In 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos by Jordan B. Peterson, the author says, “We deserve some respect. You deserve some respect. You are important to other people, as much as to yourself. You have some vital role to play in the unfolding destiny of the world. You are, therefore, morally obligated to take care of yourself. You should take care of, help and be good to yourself the same way you would take care of, help and be good to someone you loved and valued. You may therefore have to conduct yourself habitually in a manner that allows you some respect for your own Being – and fair enough.”
Once you realize the responsibility to your self, you need to realize that this doesn’t mean just to you in the present. It means the future you. It means that we have to learn how to habitually invest in the future version of us.
We have to have the right systems and habits in place in order to make sure we are not constantly stealing from the future for our present enjoyment. Do this once in a while and you won’t find the future version of you getting the shaft, but do this over and over by way of habits, and you will come to find a grim future.
This is the equivalent of trying to take care of everyone else before your self. But if we design the right systems in our life we can balance this to assure that we are investing in the future. We are doing what we need to do today, so that tomorrow we aren’t becoming a burden to others.
Self-sacrifice is commonplace but we need to make sure we don’t sacrifice too much today leaving us worse off tomorrow. Instead we need to structure our daily habits to adequately take care of us, now and in the future, so that we can continue to help others.
This will allow you to help others to a greater degree than sacrificing everything you have today to help others. Just as everything in life, self-sacrifice taken to the extreme is less valuable than maintaining balance. But a balanced approach can allow you to keep helping those you care about and provide more and more value to others and to your self.
Peterson goes on to say, “You need to consider the future and think, ‘What might my life look like if I were caring for myself properly? What career would challenge me and render me productive and helpful, so that I could shoulder my share of the load, and enjoy the consequences? What should I be doing, when I have some freedom, to improve my health, expand my knowledge, and strengthen my body.’”
When you start to answer those questions you will get a clear idea of what you want. Then you can use the systems and habits approach to improvement to help you determine how to do those things.