I was going to post this as a comment but decided instead to make it a separate post.
In my last post, I used a pretty extreme example. I talked about someone who spent quite a while working a job they didn’t like, and how that could either make them hollow inside or make them whole. What I meant to point out and forgot about is that that’s just one example of this.
I know several women who are mothers but who dream of doing something else. Now, they ALSO dream of raising whole, happy, hale families, and so raising their kids is part of that. But they also dream of advanced degrees, maybe teaching, etc. They want more. Every morning when these moms wake up to another day of caring for their children, they face the same choices that the person I discussed last time faces. Will the caring for their children sap their energy and their hopes for the other dreams, or will it give them the life experience that will enhance those dreams once they’re free to pursue them?
On another level, any one of us who loves another person has these sorts of choices all over the place. In most of my interactions with my husband, I can either choose to fight him, to die to myself, or to let myself die (just a little) inside. My personal theory is that that’s why so many marriages end up with a lot of bitterness–the little bits that people die inside add up until they’re just as hollow as someone with one or two big points of it.
So we all have something to gain by thinking about these things. We can learn to die to ourselves and thrive, or we can resent the things that make us die inside and die even more.