Folks had some interesting things to say about this concept, including the suggestion that one should never make a sacrifice and also that exposing sacrifices is passive-aggressive. It got me to thinking - were my words less effective than they could have been? Is it passive aggressive to hold an agreement where sacrifices (compromises, etc) are voiced? Should I never make a sacrifice?
It is not my desire to change minds or anything, but it *is* my hope that I can further flesh out this concept, that you, gentle reader, will have a better understanding of the agreement beyond what I wrote in my last post.
First thing's first. What's a sacrifice? In my world, a sacrifice is something that is given up in favor of, or as a result of, another thing.
Example A: my yoga practice.
- My practice is 90 minutes long.
- I often go to studios which are a 30 minute commute.
- This means a minimum commitment of 2.5 hours.
- When I add in another 30 minutes for traffic allowance and signing in, that 90 minute class now takes a full 3 hours to complete.
- At least.
If I'm doing this in the evening, I will generally sacrifice cooking dinner in favor of going to class, as my time is limited - and simply hit a Whole Foods Salad Bar instead.
- P and I are at a party, having a grand old time.
- I want to take said yoga class the next morning.
- We are planning to leave the party together.
- I'm in an authority dynamic with P, and he can make the decision as to when we leave an event.
At 11:30, I might say something like "P. Remember that yoga class I want to take in the morning? For me to get enough sleep, we would need to leave in the next 30 minutes".
He might respond with "I want to stay longer".
Now we are in a moment, P and I. No matter what time we leave, one of us is sacrificing.
P might choose for us to stay at the party, knowing that I might not wake up in time to practice. He knows that there are other classes.
P might choose to leave the party, because he knows how much I enjoy the teacher I want to be with. He knows there are other parties.
Knowing what the give and take is not only makes it easier for P to make the decision that is in his authority to make, it also creates the opportunities I suggested in my last post: to acknowledge the sacrifice and/or to take a different path.
The acknowledgment, for us at least, is fairly straightforward. "If we do X, I'll be sacrificing Y". or "I recognize you sacrificed Y".
Taking a different path, in the above example, might mean that P stays and gets a ride home with someone else. It might mean that I stay and take a later class the next day. It might mean that P takes me home, tucks me into bed, and then heads back out to the party.
I'm trying to find passive-aggression in this, and I can't. I think the reason for that is the exposure is not only assumed, it is a pre-agreed to context to which both of us have committed to adhere.
Let's say we don't have the 'no hidden sacrifices' agreement, and I stay late at the party, so he can socialize. I then drag my ass to class the next day, or possibly don't go at all. Maybe that happens once - no big deal. But if it happens more than once, and if I have feelings around it - feelings of frustration, wanting to be seen, feeling disrespected, feeling... like he's a selfish bastard, then what?
Talk with enough bottoms, and you will come across one (or many) who feel like they give and give and give - and that they are not recognized for it. Often (not always) what is given is hidden sacrifices.
Talk with enough tops, and you will find similar sentiments around providing for the people in their charge. Yes - tops often have to chose one path over or instead of another...
Bring the sacrifices out in the open, acknowledge them, and release any resentment ; a lot of the fodder for angst not only disarmed - it is erased.
A final word on the concept of 'either you can do something for someone or you can't'. My world isn't that black and white. The only time I would say to someone "I can't do that" is if the doing would take me out of integrity with another situation or person. Otherwise, everything is negotiable - at least for me.
Does anyone else see the relationship between the concept of 'no hidden sacrifices' and that of 'limits' or 'boundaries?'