Love is usually portrayed as long kisses in the rain after a fight or a guy chasing down the "one that got away" once he realizes he can't stop thinking about her. And sure, maybe those things are acts of love and they're heart warming to watch on the big screen, but life usually doesn't workout that way. Things are messy, people are flawed, and feelings can be confusing. So then what does love really look like? I think love can be found in a lot of things, in big things and small things and in simple things, but I think the most important love of all is self- sacrificial love.
So what exactly is self-sacrificial love? According to the dictionary self-sacrificial means the sacrifice of one's personal interest or well-being for the sake of others or for a cause. I think it's then safe to say that self-sacrificial love would then mean having that same self-sacrificial attitude towards those you love and in your relationships. Now, I'm not saying give up your life and aspiration to make someone else happy. I mean giving up something you can live without, dropping a habit, or just taking some time to call because it's important to your significant other. Even little things, like sharing your food, or letting them borrow a jacket are all ways you sacrifice what you have for another. Even if those little things don't seem like a big deal they are still very important and more impactful than you might think. They show that you are willing to let go of something you value because you value that person more.
Now that we know what self-sacrificial love is, let's talk about why it's so special. Anyone can be in a relationship and say it's love and it's so amazing, but really if it's not self-sacrificial it's not that great. If you really love someone you should be willing to give some things up or to make compromises because their happiness means that much to you. You should be willing to protect them and to do all that you can to keep them from harm, because their well-being should mean that much to you. You should be willing to apologize when you're wrong and forgive when they are wrong, because being with them is worth all the problems you might face. You should love that person so much that the sacrifices you make don't seem like sacrifices at all; because you would be willing to make them over and over again in a heartbeat if it would positively impact your significant other's life. I think that's what love is really about. It's being willing to give up something or go the extra mile because another person's life and feelings mean that much to you.What's the point of having a relationship if you're just going to be selfish and only worry about your happiness or about what the other person does for you instead of worrying about what you can do for them? If you aren't willing to give a little even if you get nothing in return, then how does much does that relationship really mean to you?
But how do I know this? What gives me the authority to say that love is useless if it's not self-sacrificial? Well, technically no one, but just think about. Think about the best example of love that you can. What comes to mind? For me, I think of Jesus. His love for us is so strong, so powerful. He gave us the greatest sacrifice, his life. Think about that. He loved us so much he sacrificed his own life to save us. That's the best example of self-sacrificial love that I can think of. I'm not saying you have to give up your life or who you are to have self-sacrificial love; I'm just saying you have to be willing to give up some things, even if they are important to you, if it really means that much to someone else.
I'd just like to end with a bible verse; think about how your relationships compare to the verse (ie. are you patient, kind, ect with each other) and ask yourself is it really love? "Love is patient, love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends..." (1 Corinthians 13 4-8).
If you want to read more about sacraficial love checkout 1John 3:16-18