Asperger's,Autism Spectrum Disorder

Sacrifice or Love?

When I was little, I somehow mistakenly thought that when you love someone you’ll sacrifice anything for that person. I understood love as something grand and beautiful, but ultimately sad. When I believed myself to be in love later on, I would always sacrifice whatever was asked of me because that was how I understood love.

Every time love failed, I simply thought it wasn’t love and when I fell for someone else, I thought that was real love – somehow disregarding all my previous feelings as not enough or not real.

Because of this, I have always been terrified that I cannot love. That no matter what I sacrifice, I can never love anyone enough. The worst part was, in the end I was never truly willing to sacrifice myself for love and therefore I kept proving to myself that I was incapable of loving anyone – not even myself.

I have sacrificed a lot in the name of love and never regretted it, but now, looking back, I realise I have made many mistakes.

I had this checklist in my heart, and I assumed when a certain number of boxes had been ticked it meant I was in love. When someone said they loved me I felt a responsibility for that person, and even if I didn’t love that person, I would do my best to try to learn to love him or her.

Is there a more horrible thing than that?

There can hardly be anything worse than to answer someone’s true feelings with fake or forced feelings. No, I might not have understood it before, but I do now. I realised that love is different from all my previous misconceptions – that I had completely misunderstood everything.

Why did I think that loving someone meant you had to sacrifice whatever was needed to make that person happy?

Why did I feel responsible because someone confessed their feelings to me?

Why did I think that I was not able to love and thus, to learn to love I increasingly had to sacrifice more and more of myself?

I don’t know.

Maybe it was the books I read or the movies I watched as a child. Maybe it was the relationships of people in my family, maybe it was parents, maybe it was nothing in particular. Maybe I simple misunderstood something once and continued to build on that misconception as I grew up and started interacting with people.

No wonder I have always been terrified of falling in love if my idea of true love meant to sacrifice oneself entirely.

I have never really been in a long-term relationship, nor have I ever wanted to. I have wanted relationships because I thought that relationships and sacrifices was the price of love and if we want to experience love, we must pay the price.

Now, I do still believe that love comes at a price, but that price is never sacrifice.

Even if others see a person in love doing something they themselves feel is a sacrifice, to the person in love it is not. In my opinion, to a person in love sacrifice does not really exist because anything done is done out of love, not pain.

Yes, in a way the price of love is pain, because the price we must all pay when we love someone is that it is a happiness that can never last forever. It always must end in pain, either because the love dies or because the person does.

To the one left behind, the price can be unbearable. I am greedy and selfish and has always wanted to be the one to leave first, but I truly want to be able to be the one who stays behind. If I ever fall in love, I honestly hope my partner will be able to understand those feelings and forgive me for it.

I don’t know why I suddenly realised that I had this twisted idea of love, but I am glad I did.

I am still afraid to fall in love and would much rather avoid it, even though I long for someone to truly see me and love me for who I am. Even though I understand that sacrificing oneself is not love at all, I am still afraid of the price of love.

Unfortunately, I am no longer capable of accepting anything less than love. If I had never understood this subtle difference, I could have accepted that I am not able to love and found someone to give my heart and soul hoping that one day I might learn to love, but I understand now that I am capable of loving both myself and others.

I understand that it might not be easy for me to fall in love, I understand that there are many different forms of love in the world and that I wasn’t able to tell the difference before and that I have to be careful in determining just what form of love I am feeling. I also understand that romantic love is not something I have felt in its purest form, since sacrifice was always an inevitable part of it for me. I can see how I have always longed for love in its purest and most innocent form, even though I fear it.

Of course, this does not mean I should doubt the sincerity of whatever feelings I have actually felt in the past.

I also realised something else. I am not sure I am willing to pay the price of love. I want to, but as I said before, I am greedy and selfish and I am sure that I would end up hurting anyone who would fall in love with me in the future, just like I have hurt all those who cared for me in the past.

Today, I am very alone. I have almost no people in my life, not simply by my own choice, but because people never like me when they get to know me. I don’t know why I am as unlikeable as I am, but in the end I must be. This is probably also the reason I assumed that sacrifice was love, because if I didn’t sacrifice who I was, people would always leave. As long as I could sacrificed myself and became what people wanted or expected, then I was never truly alone.

Since I now refuse to sacrifice myself, I am alone. I reach out to people, I try to make friends and interact with people, I do what I can to be good and honest and loyal and stay true to myself, but so far it is not enough.

Love is not just romantic love, but also many other things. To have someone by my side, not just a romantic partner, but a close friend who sees me, loves me and accepts me – yes, then I would pay the price of love. Unfortunately, I will have to change before that is possible, because love doesn’t necessarily come because we want it to. Love is given freely and without expectations. We will never really know how the other person feels, we can only ever know our own heart and give without asking for anything in return. I am not sure how to do that without sacrificing myself and suffering.

In my humble opinion I only have one choice if I want to change this; give as much love as I can in every form possible without being greedy for anything in return and while constantly reminding myself not to sacrifice myself in the process. With practice, can I change, do you think?

Am I going to learn to love without hurting myself in the process? To love freely and not force feelings that cannot be created from nothing?

Maybe, maybe not. I don’t really know what I want, to be honest. I guess time will tell. The only thing that I know for sure is that I don’t feel as lonely as I used to. I am quite happy and satisfied with life as it is right now. I don’t need anyone to make my life better or happier, I can do that on my own. Love is hard work and honestly, I don’t feel like I am ready for that yet.

I know, I know. Many people say that if I have never been willing to pay the price for love so far, it is because I have never met the right person. If there really is a “right person” wouldn’t that person change constantly as we ourselves change?

I am quite sure that whoever would have been the right person for me 10 years ago can’t possibly be the right person for me still. I have changed so much, I wouldn’t even wear the same clothes as I did back then, there’s no way I would fall in love with the same person.

The “right person” simply doesn’t exist, I think. I do believe that people can chose to spend their life together, but it takes a lot of work. To me, love then is more a matter of choice than of feeling.

What do you think?

Kai

I graduated my masters in 2017 with a major in Japanese studies and a minor in international relations. Since my graduation I have focused on figuring out who I am, because I was diagnosed with Asperger's (Autism Spectrum Disorder) and it made me rethink my life and allowed me to understand myself better. Because I have always been passionate about writing, I decided to blog about my life in the hope that it can increase autism awareness.

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