Updated: Mar 20
Are you the type of person, who sacrifices your own needs and wants for someone or something else? Maybe you do it to make peace, or to keep the peace. Maybe it's your lack of self-confidence that holds you back from making waves. Or, it could be a habit you got into, that you can't get out of.
Can you imagine being in a room with other self-sacrificers?
What would happen, do you think? Would it be like a support group, where everyone takes a turn around the seated circle, to introduce themselves and say what they put up with? Then another go around the group allows all to say why they've put up with something?
It would be very revealing, knowing why we allow someone else to have "right of way" over us. What are your reasons?
But, back to the group. Let's try something different. Let's imagine what the outcome would be, if we did stand up for ourselves. I know, sometimes that can be quite scary. Let's go around the group, and talk about the results of courage.
We'll hear some horrific stories as well as those of great bravery and success, but we'll discover some people who are in the same boat. Being alone can be bad enough for some, being alone in suffering can be truly awful; and finding you're not alone in your suffering is a relief. Liberating, even.
We'll probably also hear some members of the group offer to help. That's something about martyrs (self-sacrificers) that you can almost always count on. They offer to help. It's not just about not being able to say no, or always saying yes, to others. And it's not always about not being able to say yes to yourself either.
Worth a moment, to ponder.
Now imagine everyone in the group getting up off their chairs and mingling for a cuppa. What happens? People gravitate to one another. They offer their help, sympathy and support. They exchange phone numbers and make plans to get together in a new support network.
Nothing changes, while everything changes!
Yet again, our martyrs self-sacrifice, just for a new cause! They've offered to help. Or got caught up on a tidal wave ...
It makes me think of in-groups and out-groups. Out-groups are the people who don't look or sound like us, until we really get to know them. Typically, the differences are based on colour, race, culture, language, sexual identity, politics, religion, but not always. They could be anyone who's "not our team".
When we find our "tribes" (our in-groups), we let our guards down and begin to trust. We relax, and we might even take it for granted that those in our tribes have the same thoughts, feelings, experiences, hopes and resources as us. Dig deeper, and that may be the case (maybe not).
Have you ever wondered why mind, body, spirit books are so popular? It's because we find our tribes within ourselves.
Fellow author, Maggie Hamilton, recently said in an interview with Writing NSW, "Mind, body, spirit writing at its best, has the capacity to speak to people wherever they are on the planet, which is pretty exciting. That’s why such writers as Louise Hay, Deepak Chopra, medical medium Anthony William and Eckhart Tolle have been so successful. They tapped into issues and themes we all struggle with, or are intrigued by".
I would add Marianne Williamson, Doreen Virtue, Napoleon Hill, Dale Carnegie, and M. Scott Peck in that list.
So, how does that relate to our Club for Martyrs? Well, self-sacrificers are people who connect with the heart of a matter (as do mind, body, spirit authors).
Self-sacrificers actively look for ways to help, and that's a beautiful thing! It's just sad that there are some other folk who will take advantage of a person's good nature and kind heart.
I used to be a self-sacrificer until I realised that I could lose myself in the process. I was being used, abused, and taken for granted by someone; and it took an intervention by his friends, saying that I deserved better, to make me understand that I really did deserve better.
At some point, we have to ask ourselves, "Is this person/job/lifestyle really worth the effort that I'm putting in? What am I getting out of this?"
It comes back to discernment, and how you develop it. If life has dealt you some horrible cards, you might not be very discerning. You might be pessimistic (and call it "realistic"). But if you've had some great supports through life, and everything's been rosy, you might be an optimist.
A life story seasoned with both, stresses and supports, allows you to practise bouncing back after adversity. And that's what helps you to develop discernment. But it's still not that simple. Children are not as resilient as people sometimes say. They're not that resilient at all. They just get on with life, as best they can. They need us to offer them safety and reliability.
It comes back to our Club for Martyrs. What has made you self-sacrificing?
If you like any of the authors mentioned in this article, then you will probably love my books. I invite you to buy any or all of them today! Pre-order my latest, [Re]imagine: The Heart of the High Priestess.