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“As my sufferings mounted I soon realized that there were two ways in which I could respond to my situation — either to react with bitterness or seek to transform the suffering into a creative force. I decided to follow the latter course.”– Martin Luther King Jr.
What is sacrifice? Why do we choose to sacrifice one end to achieve another end; most of the time, we don’t acknowledge how much we are surrendering to accomplish a particular goal or reality. On the other hand, many of us do acknowledge how much sacrifice and how much we are willing to tolerate or how our mind interprets the amount of sacrifice we are dealing with; see throughout history as a society we’ve sacrificed a lot of pleasurable experiences to attain pleasurable experiences right? For instance, our infrastructure has come a long way since the Paleolithic Era, where we lived in much harsher conditions incomparable to the commodities we have in the Modern Era. Nowadays, we don’t need to sacrifice as much as our ancestors did, we have everything at our convenience also we are the largest users of technology compared to previous generations; resulting, in vast innovations and services available to us, we are living in the best times we have everything.
Despite, the ever-growing list of tragedies, nature, and wealth inequalities we are still far better off than our ancestors; ultimately, this has led us to become susceptible to any form of discomfort or adversity. For instance, when we start facing a major obstacle in our life, or any form of rejection, our emotions take over our thought process. Consequently, this affects us in more ways we can imagine, our thoughts become clouded which leads us down a self-deprecating path; this path makes us question our life choices, the path we are headed in, and the most destructive “if we are good enough.” Unfortunately, these questions bring negative effects to our well-being and self-motivation/will; these can cause complacency in our journey to achieve our greatest dreams.
Throughout my experiences, I have learned the values of sacrifices in various forms, spiritually, mentally, and physically. For instance, my weight loss journey is one of my most significant achievements yet; my story began in my Freshman year of High School where I was weighing roughly 270 IBS at 6”3 which is significant weight even for a taller individual. In fact, most of my weight loss stemmed from my poor diet and lifestyle choices. Even though fast food and carb-loaded meals are pleasurable due to the various components that stimulate our taste-buds though they can cause detrimental effects in our dietary nutrition; in other words, anything in life that is pleasurable has negative elements associated to them which is what causes our addiction-fueled cravings for that thing and eventually seeping us into greater pain than we ever anticipated. Ultimately, I hit rock bottom when I visited the clinic, and I had to get a physical for school which at the time I thought nothing was wrong with me; however, my experience was anything but quaint.
First, I had to weigh myself, which I was already self-conscious about, and what the scale told me was even more soul-crushing a whopping 270 IBS! Almost 300 pounds! Afterward, the doctor finished the job by telling me that my poor eating habits took effect on my cholesterol, blood pressure, and sugar levels which could potentially shorten my lifespan, this hit me harder than any words ever have. This affected me deeply that weeks after I started developing a black hole inside my head, this black hole consumed all my positive thoughts and optimism. Otherwise, known as depression, many shy away from depression since our culture has labeled as this negative feeling that only eats your life away. In a way that is true, though it shouldn’t only be seen with this perspective, like anything we need balance in our life’s health, occupation, and emotional components. Therefore, depression shouldn’t be used as a negative emotion, rather a reflective even meditative form of therapy; depression augments our problems in ways that positivity can’t even enter our thought process to ease the feeling of somber. Thus, causing our mind to only focus on that problem, see many times we don’t know why we are depressed, or why we feel the way we do. In my opinion, it is the bodies way of communicating an issue that hasn’t been addressed properly; therefore, our minds create scenarios of what would happen if we don’t change this or find a solution to this problem.
Sadly, this is where many of us misinterpret depression or why we have this emotion. Therefore, many deny this feeling even bury it with self-fulfilling prophecies and illusive tendencies; this is where we start to halt our advances to achieve our greatest feats and fall into complacency or “living a lie”. Understanding these frameworks is what allowed me to enjoy sacrificing pleasurable experiences to attain a better pleasurable experience. Although this might sound vague, this is the exact mentality we need to preserve when facing any form of sacrifice to making goals for new year’s resolutions. What pleasurable things are you willing to give up to achieve this goal, what are you willing to sacrifice? Would you enjoy sacrificing those things? Personally, I had to give up playing video games for long periods of time, not eating my favorite meals, and changing my whole routine to regain my health. At first, this may seem challenging giving up what you love to do just to achieve some obscure goal; however, once you start to grasp the difference between short-term and long-term experience you will be able to program your mind to crave long-lasting change then sacrifices will seem less arduous and more like a pathway to achieve your greatest desires. Likewise, this is what creates a successful mentality, becoming comfortable with undesirable experiences and accepting all forms of sacrifices; nature changes, our climate changes, nothing ever remains stagnant, once we become stagnant, we don’t grow, and we become too comfortable and complacent in our society. Ultimately, we all need to pass through a thunderstorm, hurricane, any form of disaster and give up a few commodities to reach the summit of our potential.