I find that I am beyond willing to put the needs and the desires of others before my own. I inherently feel that if everyone is willing to put others before themselves, then the greatest needs will be met with the greatest amount of cooperation and abilities.
Perhaps this, which I consider my biggest strength, is also my biggest weakness.
I am not a saint. I have a breaking point in this thinking. I can put others ahead of me for unknown amounts of time, perhaps indefinitely, but only if I feel the recipient of my helpfulness, my benevolence, my capitulation is aware of my sacrifice and ultimately has my best interests at heart. That is not to say that I am unwilling to help or do for others without recompense or even recognition, but long term or extreme acts of putting someone before all else need to carry with it not only the belief that I am doing the correct thing, but also the knowledge that the person somehow understands that I am sacrificing my own good will in deference to theirs.
This sounds egotistical and I do not mean it in that regard.
I am not talking about making sacrifices for some unknown persona, or for some finite course of action which will greatly benefit an individual or group. What I am speaking of is the give and take of a mature relationship, be it friendly, business, cooperative, or (most importantly) between lovers.
Most everyone has experienced the boss from hell. There are people in positions of authority that invite nothing but irritation, discontent, and derision from their underlings. These are the bosses that have nothing but negative comments, orders, and complaints for the people working for them. It is an uneasy alliance that does nothing to promote loyalty.
On the other hand, it can be a pleasure to work for the person who recognizes effort and hard work. An offer of kinds words in difficult situations or compliments for outstanding achievements create a mutual feeling of respect and common goals. These bosses may be demanding yet appreciative and the people working for them tend to respond well to their governance.
Personal relationships flourish in the same way.
A relationship is not about keeping score or detailing sacrifices. Life happens and as it does, there will be periods where one person is the recipient of the majority of the mutual efforts or to whose wishes are catered to or granted more often. There are needs of the individual as well as needs of the couple. The balance can be off for extended periods of time – time in which one half of the couple receives the lion’s share of the resources.
A couple’s resources are many. Resources can be financial and emotional and they consist of two people’s sum of knowledge, physical strength, and endurance. When one half of a couple falters, there is another to share their strength. When one requires help, they have a partner in life. The term ‘helpmeet’ came into usage in the 1600’s to refer to one’s partner, helpmate, or companion. Generally speaking, a helpmeet, or helpmate is just that, one’s partner in life, someone there through love and commitment and willing to add their resources to another’s for the benefit of each other and the common good.
Sometimes the resources of one partner outshine the other. Sometimes the person behind the scene is making the cogs run smoothly, shoring up the flagging post, and helping the world continue to turn. We should not only do our damnedest to help our partners (as well as others) but we should remember to recognize and appreciate their sacrifices in their quest for our victories. I truly believe in the little things in life. Smiles and sweet nothings, spoken love and silly secrets, small surprises and spoken thanks. It takes just a moment of our time to remember each other, a few minutes spent to show our love and appreciation. A small acknowledgement can make even the largest efforts seem not only worthwhile but can generate a happy glow. Like a stone dropped into the water, a surprisingly little thing can ripple outward to create something beyond spectacular.
I invite you to tell me of your helpmate and share your story of their sacrifice. It does not need to be a major sacrificial act or something out of the ordinary. Sometimes, the little sacrifices we make for each other mean the most and generate the biggest smiles.