“Self-sacrifice is the real miracle out of which all the reported miracles grow.” Â Â Â – Ralph Waldo Emerson
I thought I understood the meaning of self-sacrifice. I had given up my wants and needs in service of something else before. In pregnancy, I’d given up my body (as I knew it), my social life (as I knew it), and my yoga practice (as I knew it). Before pregnancy, I gave up things: I once offered to share a piece of chocolate cake with my husband rather than eating it all by myself. Shoot, I had made plenty of sacrifices!
Then, I became a mom.
Self-sacrifice has taken on a whole new meaning. As a first-time parent, my entire world has reorganized around my son. My every personal want, need or aspiration now takes a firm backseat to this ten pound bundle of love.
This monumental shift in priorities is a natural and essential part of becoming a mom. Of course my son’s cry for help will take precedence over my passing fancies. But, I’ve found that once his needs are met, I struggle to acknowledge and fulfill my own. At the end of the day, I often discover that I’ve put my own wants and needs so far in the backseat that I can’t see them in the rearview mirror.
But, here’s the catch… In order to be a good parent, in order to give everything I can to my son, I alsoÂ have toÂ give to my self.Â
Carving out a few minutes each day to indulge my own desires is crucial to my wellbeing. Even if it’s just ten deep breaths on my yoga mat, making time for my personal wants reconnects me with a sense of self. When I emerge from those moments, I feel centered, peaceful, and more prepared to attend to the needs of my child.
Emerson was right. The greatest feats and miracles bloom from self-sacrifice. But, only those who are poised in their inner strength can give of themselves fully.
So, when you hear the call to give yourself completely to an effort – whether it’s parenting, a job, a community service – take a moment to tap into your sense of self. Give from a place of inner fortitude. And, when your inner strength wanes, reclaim it. Take time for your self. Â Connect with your needs. When you do, you’ll be all the more prepared to give your heart fully. And that’s when the real miracles occur.
What sacrifices are you making in your life? How do you retain your inner poise when you’re giving your all?