Monday, October 19, 2015

Married to Martyrdom

Well, I know we discussed the corruption of kindness just a couple of weeks ago and you might notice a similar message in this week’s post. I see these two posts as close cousins, just bearing a different title that made an appearance in my world once more- and now yours too. So, I ask that you indulge me for a few brief minutes as we peruse the ego and another costume of this sly trickster.

Donning the crown of martyr is hailed in our society. We are fed the notion that unrewarded sacrifice and toil are the makings of a noble soul. Many choose to dine on that message and eventually find themselves emotionally starving as they sit in the squalor of self-pity.

I suppose the truth is to some it is an attractive place because so many relish the false belief that their suffering puts them in line with the imperial rankings. The cries of those in martyrdom calling for attention, “Yes, I will be the one to suffer… No, no let’s just do what you want… I have to do everything all by myself… It’s okay, I don’t need help (deep sigh).” In all honesty we’ve all at least tried on the martyr headdress more than once, some choosing to outfit themselves daily in full regalia, but I can find no redeeming qualities of playing the role of martyr, unless painting yourself as a victim is appealing to you.

From where I stand, the portrait of a martyr looks on the surface to be acts of selflessness, but in truth it too is a very self-centered dynamic, one that is utilized to feed the egos need to believe we are superior to our fellow man. Our ego spouts thoughts of, “It’s all up to me. Ah yes, look at me and all that I must endure. Poor me.” Add in another deep sigh.

Sometimes martyrdom is masking a deep need to control our environment. It feeds a false belief that if we micromanage all aspects and details of our lives and others’, at our expense, then everything will be safe and predictable. I hate to send anyone running for cover, but that is a big ole lie my friends, as very little is under our direct control. Surely you know by now the only thing you truly have authority over is yourself.

I’m hoping at this point I’ve made being a martyr look quite unattractive, because it is. It is not an act of nobility to begrudgingly continue to perform duties and roles and then not so casually shine the light on your hardship for doing so. What it is, is annoying and draining.

If you want to bear the burden of some project alone, deny support from others and allow yourself to be a human doormat- have at it! But, don’t then bemoan the choices you made as an adult. You can say no. You can say yes. You can say maybe. You can ask for help. You can let others take the wheel as you take a back seat. Whatever it is you wish to do, then do it because it speaks to your truth and not as a campaign for personal aggrandizement.

The next time you find yourself about to slink your way into your martyr mask remember its defining acronym that drives it all home- a martyr is:

Be well and happy.

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