Self-sacrifice and love

Self-sacrifice and love

Hello. My name is Hideyuki Ikeuchi.

My profession is counsellor.

Self-sacrifice and love

This is a theme that is always in the background in counselling on relationships, family relationships, love and marriage.

English version of article written in Japanese and translated with DeepL. Please read the text on the assumption that it may contain expressions that differ from those used by native speakers. (Translated with DeepL)


The ‘self’ in self-sacrifice is not the true self.

The ‘self’ here is the part of the self that has learned or been imprinted with values, habits, ways of thinking, ways of perceiving, etc. that were outside the self and have become like part of the self.

Self-sacrifice means that instead of following the values, habits, ways of thinking and ways of perceiving that have been learned or imprinted from the outside, which are not our original self, we sacrifice them and relate to others and situations according to our inner feelings and sensations (generally described as ‘our heart’ or ‘good intentions’) as our original human being. ) and relate to the other person or situation in accordance with their own inner feelings and sensations.

The part of the self that has been internalised by learning or imprinting external values, habits, ways of thinking and perceiving, is not called the ‘self’ but the ‘ego’.

The term ‘ego’ here includes the meaning of self-centredness and selfishness.

To understand self-sacrifice, it is easier to understand ‘ego-sacrifice’.

Sacrificing one’s ego based on one’s heart and good intentions, rather than one’s original heart and good intentions as a human being, is called self-sacrifice.

In 2007, when I participated in an inspection and training course at an addiction treatment facility in the USA, ego was explained as “ego = Putting on airs” in the lecture.

To borrow from this explanation, self-sacrifice means sacrificing one’s ‘ Putting on airs self’.

This expression may also be easy to understand.


Love” has various understandings and explanations, but in the context of ego-sacrifice, “love” in the context of the ego-sacrifice of self-sacrifice is “a feeling or sensation within oneself as a human being”, which emerges from within oneself as a human being without reason, with physical sensations and feelings of wanting, feeling, thinking, etc. It is a good will towards others and towards existence that is made conscious.

Self-sacrifice and love are two sides of the same coin.

Ego-based, self-centred involvement that does not take into account the other person’s position or interests may satisfy the ego, even if it objectively results in helping others or being socially valued, but it does not ensure that the other person’s needs are really met.

Even if fulfilled in practical terms, it is not possible to be truly satisfied or pleased if the experience involves a lack of respect for the person.

Also, if a sense of mission, duty or responsibility is the only reason for helping or making the other person happy at the expense of one’s own heart and good intentions as a human being, but the person who has been helped falls apart or is unhappy as a result, how will the person who has been helped feel when they see this?

Wouldn’t the person who is helped not be able to feel joy, relief and peace of mind from the bottom of his or her heart?

Therefore, self-sacrifice is not about being self-centred, but thinking and acting with the other person’s position and interests in mind, for which love is indispensable.

And, depending on the situation, it may also include putting the other person’s interests before your own practical interests.

In this case, in order to be able to call it self-sacrifice, you must be able to support and satisfy yourself with what you already have, even if you put the other person’s interests first.

If you are exhausted by putting the other person’s interests first, or if the other person is stepping on what you value, or if they are taking away or exploiting the benefits you are entitled to, then this is not self-sacrifice, it is just sacrifice, and it is self-destruction.

If you find yourself in the middle of the process, you have to change the way you cooperate and help in a way that is not exhausting for you.

If you find it difficult to change the way you cooperate and help others, it is important to help yourself first by seeking support from a third party or a professional, such as a counsellor, whom you can trust.

There are people who take advantage of others’ self-sacrifice.

There are people in the world who take it for granted that they are selfish and exploit others to gain an advantage, taking advantage of their motivation and good intentions and putting their own interests first.

If you have good intentions but the other party has bad intentions, you will still be exploited.

If the other party does not respect you, or if the promises and contracts are unequal, even if you have good intentions, it is not self-sacrifice, it is still sacrifice and self-destruction.

People who do not mind harming others in order to gain power, money, status, pleasure, etc., which they value, especially if they create stories that justify their values and behaviour, justify harm to others, and avoid their own responsibility by forcing self-sacrificing partners to do their duty or shifting the blame when things go wrong. If things don’t go well, they shift the blame and avoid their own responsibility.

In such cases, it is necessary not to allow the other person to exploit you, to assert your rights, and to take a stand and act in defence of your rights.

If the person still does not change, you need to protect yourself by changing the relationship, distancing yourself, ending the relationship, etc.

Some people call it self-sacrifice to still try to relate to the other person, but it is sacrifice, not self-sacrifice, and there may be misunderstandings about how we relate to others and our relationships, and what we need to learn and work on in order to be able to value ourselves.

…a perspective to reflect on what they are doing for others.

When you are doing something for someone else and it is painful and you are suffering, if you carefully check whether it is your ego that is suffering or your true self as a human being, you will be able to see something.

If the ego is suffering, then you need to follow your heart, get out of your self-centredness, accept the process of inner growth and maturity as a human being, and learn a different way of relating to things (attitude, speech and behaviour), a different way of thinking, a different attitude towards life, and a different way of thinking about yourself, in order to understand your innate self and your true nature. This may be the time to learn to speak and act in a way that allows mutual respect for the human rights of others.

On the other hand, when your true self as a human being is suffering, it is not self-sacrifice, it is just sacrifice and you are bullying yourself.

When you realise this, change what you are doing to them and how you help them!

In both cases, don’t forget to take care of yourself in the process – self-care, working on yourself and meeting your own needs in a healthy way!

Written by Counsellor Hideyuki Ikeuchi
Translated with DeepL

original Japanese text ↓↓↓

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