- The end of innocent self-less-ness..........:)
A long long time ago (:)) my husband, our two sons and I had gone out for an ice-cream treat. It was sometime in early 1990s, when our pockets were not as deep as they are now; and I was always thinking of curbing unnecessary expenditure. As a selfless person, who was too much in love with her family to deny them of any pleasure, I always chose to sacrifice my own excesses. And it didn’t even feel like a sacrifice ever, because I was a woman of very few needs/ wants/ desires (I still am). In other words I was a very basic person (and still am), who was happy with basic dal-roti-sabzi etc. So, when my husband asked each one of us to choose our favorite flavor of ice-cream, I responded as usual, “I won’t have any.” The boys enjoyed one round and ordered another; my response remained the same, “I don’t want any.”
I was happy in my family’s happiness. I was happy that my not indulging in a gastronomical pleasure was perhaps ensuring some more goodies in the future for my dear ones. And, the truth was that I wasn’t even too fond of ice-cream (I still don’t care about it). But that particular day, my husband looked at me and said, “Please don’t do this to yourself and to us. I want a happy wife; not a sacrificial lamb. I have seen that too much sacrifice eventually leads to bitterness and victim-mentality. And I sure as hell do not want you to develop that. You see, after a period of time, the boys and I will stop asking you for your choice, because we will assume that you don’t want it; and that’s when you will feel miserable and unimportant. You will think that we don’t care about you. While in truth we would be behaving naturally, knowing from experience that you don’t care for any goodies. So, I suggest that you always take your share and then if you really don’t like it, share it with someone who does. That will be good for all of us. You will learn how to claim your share and we will always ask you. There will be happiness all around.”
His lecture made sense to me and I couldn’t help but think about many older women who always complained, “I did so much for so and so but today they don’t even care for me.” I also remembered many instances where children would turn back and say, “But why did you do so much? Did we ask you for it? You did it because it made you happy. Who asked you to be so self-sacrificing?” This train of thought made me take a re-look at the word 'self-less', equating it with self-sacrifice. That day this word lost some of its holy sheen, for me!
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