stop being a martyr

Today we ask that you question the merits of martyrdom.

Many people are taught that being a martyr is a virtuous and honorable way to live.

But this is not true.

It is not healthy to always put the needs of others ahead of your own.

To do so is to deny your own soul purpose.  It is not healthy.

Moreover, people who habitually put the needs of others ahead of their own often become very resentful, and bitter.

Most of you may know such a person.  Someone who is always martyring himself, doing things to help and care for everyone else, exhausting himself.  And then one day this person explodes with pent-up resentment and bitterness.  Or else he is always a little passive aggressive, quietly judging others for not being as virtuous.  Always complaining that others are so selfish.  Always feeling taken for granted.

This is not a good way to live.

It is not healthy for parents to martyr themselves for their children.  Obviously, children require an enormous amount of love and care.  But what they do not require is that their parents lead lives of misery and self-denial on their behalf.  This will only lead to terrible resentment, especially as the child gets older.  Then the martyring parent may act as if the child owes him some debt that can never be repaid.  No one benefits from this situation.  

Many Christians believe in martyrdom, because it is said that Christ was a martyr.

This is not true.  It is a misunderstanding.

To understand the Christ story, it is necessary to focus on the Resurrection, not the Crucifixion.  Christ was and is a completely liberated being.  He was and is liberated from the suffering and drama of human existence, and shows that such liberation is possible for everyone.  This is because it is impossible for the human soul to be annihilated.  There is no death.  That is the message of Christ.  It is not about glorifying torture and martyrdom.  It is about liberation from the fear of death.  It is a message of ultimate freedom.

Life is not meant to be a miserable experience.  Most people are very confused about life, and have been taught a great many false beliefs.  One false belief is that martyrdom is noble and virtuous.  It is not.

You must follow your heart.  You must follow the deep calling of your soul — even if it means that other people accuse you of being selfish.  Do not go around causing harm, of course.  But if it really is your soul’s calling, it will never ask that you harm others.  

Just because other people accuse you of being selfish doesn’t make it so.  The great artists and innovators of human history were always attacked for being selfish and immoral — Christ being no exception.  So, if you really want to follow Christ, don’t be afraid of other people accusing you of being selfish and immoral!

Do not suppress your own light because you have been taught it is the virtuous thing to do.  This path will lead to misery.  It will backfire.  Don’t be a martyr.