Self Sacrifice: Your Time Is OVER!

Listen to Your Inner Guidance

by Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Emotional Well-being

Astrologically, we have moved through the eclipse tunnel and the Grand Cardinal Cross of this past spring. These astrologic aspects have transformed our lives on many levels—most especially all of our partnerships. Let me give you the Cliffs Notes on these transits: They have been in the service of our individual and collective evolution. In summary—grow or die.

Kind of like the menopausal transition, but on a global scale.

So what’s the message? It’s time to end self-sacrifice. In all its forms. Instead, we must start to live our lives fully, from the dictates of our souls.

If you look at this from a higher perspective, it’s the rise of the feminine that is happening—after 5,000 years of systematic suppression—in men as well as women. What is “the feminine?” It’s understanding that your feelings are your inner guidance system—not something to be ignored or squelched.

In men, this suppression of the feminine shows up as being afraid to admit weakness, fear, or sadness—and turning to rage and anger instead.

The feminine is about standing for the highest in others versus worrying about competition. It’s finding your tribe of sisters who will be there for you—and support you when you cry, when you fall, when you need someone to help with a meal. It’s understanding that interdependence is more powerful than independence—that it’s a sign of strength, not weakness, to ask for help.

It means that it’s time to take the phrase “I should be able to do this myself” and transform it to “I really appreciate your assistance. It makes it so much easier.” And it’s time to allow others the privilege of giving to you—and for you to learn how to graciously receive.

This transition has affected some of my closest friends. They are realizing it’s time to throw off the outmoded beliefs from childhood, which said they weren’t good enough or worthy enough. They are shedding the need to give to others as a way to win approval or love.

They are also re-evaluating their relationships, and realizing it’s time to leave any that aren’t true partnerships. Are you in a relationship in which you are earning all the money while your partner is doing all the spending—meanwhile complaining about your flaws? Or judging you for not “being there for the children?”

It’s time to leave jobs that suck the life force out of us—that we are staying in for the “benefits,” which we will never live to see if we continue.

It’s time to stop putting your adult children’s needs and feelings ahead of your own desires and needs—even if you are afraid they won’t love you if you don’t mend their clothes, pay their rent, let them borrow the car, or __________ (fill in the blank).

It’s time to stop calling your mother every day unless you love connecting with her. It also means not picking up the phone when that always-complaining friend calls with her latest dose of misery.

It’s time to truly fulfill our own dreams and to be fully acknowledged—to enjoy life regularly.

Self sacrifice as a way of life is a sin against your soul. It helps no one. And it’s time for it to end.

Remember, a healed life—in which you give and receive in a balanced dance—is a blessing to the planet. What a relief! (This makes a great Tweet! Please share.)

Have you been experiencing a lot of opportunities for personal growth lately? How have you ended self-sacrifice in your own life? Please leave a comment. I love to hear about your experiences.

Last Updated: June 2, 2014

Christiane Northrup, M.D.

Christiane Northrup, M.D., is a visionary pioneer and a leading authority in the field of women’s health and wellness. Recognizing the unity of body, mind, and spirit, she empowers women to trust their inner wisdom, their connection with Source, and their ability to truly flourish.


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  1. furtdso linopv
    9 years ago

    I am no longer positive the place you are getting your info, however good topic. I needs to spend some time finding out more or understanding more. Thanks for wonderful info I used to be on the lookout for this information for my mission.

  2. […] So—as 2015 rolls out before you, what thoughts and behaviors about getting older are you willing to change? Are you willing to move your body more? Eat less sugar? Find a new tribe that doesn’t spend all day complaining about their aches and pains? Are you willing to allow VIBRANCE and EXCITEMENT about life to fuel your life? […]

  3. Mary Multhauf
    10 years ago

    At the Austin I Can Do It conference, you mentioned someone’s book and gentle stretching exercises. Can you tell me who this was? Thank you!

  4. Kath
    10 years ago

    This is so true in my life. I remained in a marriage for 27 years sacrificing myself and who I am for the sake of the family…Now the kids are on their own and I moved from a state of not feeling to one of anger and resentment. I’ve been separated from my husband for three months and on a path of connection and self discovery with no limitations. Thanks for the confirmation.

  5. alison
    10 years ago

    I finally received a wake up call when yet again, I tried valiantly to make a relationship work with a man who was not right for me (most were charming, complicated, unavailable and liars). For 40 years, I have been habitually contorting myself to fit what I perceive men want. I haven’t done anyone a favor, believe me. I am taking a long break from relationships with men in order to discover what is within when without a man. It is scary, lonely and exhilarating. The time is NOW.

  6. Madeline
    10 years ago

    Mu husband and I both retired a couple of years early.. our stressful business was draining our health and well being.I am fortunate to be married to a guy who’s pretty masculine yet also in touch with his divine feminine qualities.. we are redesigning our lives to be more simple and authentic, and we’re spending lots more time in Nature, with each other, and learning how to “chill” again!! Kind of a return to our old hippie days!

  7. CJ
    10 years ago

    I too have been releasing relationship and roles/professional status/identities that I had thought were meaningful and mutually fulfilling but that have come to feel like a snake’s old, dead skin. I am open to collaboration and support, but I am currently embracing and finding the richness in a time of solitude, relative isolation, and profound attention to my own Inner Wisdom. I am open to the blessings that will emerge from an outwardly fallow time.

  8. Meaghan Folk Freund
    10 years ago

    A poem from my book
    There’s an angel walking in that field
    and its me
    There’s and angel walking in this field
    I can see
    She is not alone
    She says “There is no where in the world I’d rather be”

    There’s an angel walking in this field
    and its me
    This is our gift, our heaven, this earth

    Why would I watch a screen?
    when I can feel this?
    Why would I live someone else’s dream?
    when I can be this?

    There’s an angel walking in this field
    and its me
    There’s no one in the world I’d rather be

    1. Mollie
      7 years ago

      This is so beautiful. I want to memorize it and speak it as I walk on this beautiful earth. It goes hand in hand with the mirror work, i.e. Look in mirror into your eyes say I love you every day for month. Perhaps we could turn it into a song?

  9. Raven
    10 years ago

    Two short years ago, I read your book and I heard the truth in my heart. I was in a second marriage to a man who did not value me. Since then, my life has transformed completely. It is filled with love, satisfaction and possibility. I am writing this from my honeymoon suite as the love of my life, my wife, sleeps at my side.

  10. Kelly
    10 years ago

    I let go of a 17 yr relationship with a boyfriend who was never a partner to me. It was like having surgery. Initially I felt numbed– the pain was delayed. But in treating myself with compassion I am healing at a faster pace than expected. Even acute surgical pain does not last for that long- this too shall pass. Even at my loneliest I feel support from sources outside the physical realm. I am proud of myself. I am glad to hear that I am part of a larger group making these necessary changes.

  11. Renee
    10 years ago

    I finally did stop calling my mother who I could not connect with anymore and it was a tough, laborious decision. I also left a job where they asked you to work 12 hour days with no overtime pay and one woman brought her six year old daughter to work and let her sleep on the hard, dirty floor just because the company wouldn’t let her call in sick to stay home and take care of her child.

  12. CJ
    10 years ago

    I too have been releasing relationship and roles/professional status/identities that I had thought were meaningful and mutually fulfilling but that have come to feel like a snake’s old, dead skin. I am open to collaboration and support, but I am currently embracing and finding the richness in a time of solitude, relative isolation, and profound attention to my own Inner Wisdom. I am open to the blessings that will emerge from an outwardly fallow time.

  13. Christiane Northrup
    10 years ago

    You don’t actually have to leave family or friends physically. You simply have to love yourself enough to follow your bliss. And not allow them to drag you down. ( simple. Not easy. And totally worth it!) I love your posts! Thank you!

  14. Kayla
    10 years ago

    Outgrowing relationships and getting out of my own way! I am working my way up and out of a financial spill and into a life of abundance and worthiness to have money, moving out of a 4 year hectic relationship, declaring my time and space when I need it, trusting the universe to provide what I ask and prioritizing my life to keep up with the momentum! – jumping off the edge, feeling lush, vibrant, sexy and beautiful!

  15. DebbyLee
    10 years ago

    I have been sensing a change needing to happen in my life and have been frustrated ‘trying’ to get the assistance of others both in the workplace and family life. Today I resigned my position as President/CEO of a company that I have loved giving to but my giver is broke and I can not keep carrying it on my own. This quite scary since I don’t know what is next for me financially but knew I could not continue on the path I was on for my body, soul and mind.

  16. Jacklyn
    10 years ago

    Ahhhh… yes.
    This ALL resonates completely.
    Thank you for the permission through self-realization to do what our souls require here.
    Live OR die. Definitely.
    To GROW one must continually BE dying.
    The awakening has been more brutal because of the resistance.
    Learning the hard way but learning.
    Letting go of holding on feels SO good…. at last!
    Thank you for being out there for us.
    For lifting us up into the LIGHT where we BELONG!

  17. Meadow Tarves
    10 years ago

    I love astrology! Thank you for this intuitive piece. I resonate with all your insights. I have to many transformations to list. The main thing I have realized is that my intuition is so strong during this time of transformation that it cannot be suppressed. Authentic relationships is all my delicate body mind and spirit can handle. There is a new fire within me that I know is the divine feminine roaring in a powerful healing way. I feel it in every area of my life.

  18. naomi
    10 years ago

    I fully resonated with this writing! Thank you! I am transitioning out of a seventeen year marriage and into a career that honors my souls incarnation as a healer! More beautiful interdependent relationships are moving into my experience and I am becoming more and more fulfilled as I align with my authenticity.

  19. Ilana Kim
    10 years ago

    OMG! This blog was the most perfectly timed reading I have EVER had!! THANK YOU! Firstly I would like to put myself out there and say ” I need you sisters”! I had to say goodbye to my beloved dog Guss last week. My sister told my Mother that this was about to happen the night before and guess what? I have not heard from my Mother! At first I was hurt and amazed and now I am angry and pissed off. I am ready to end self sacrifice! I want supportive people in my life – not bleeders!

  20. Debra
    10 years ago

    Yes! I am feeling this too; one little thing is no more shoes that hurt my feet for fashion!!!

  21. Karen
    10 years ago

    My boyfriend of 23 years was diagnosed with melanoma Dec 21. After what was in retrospect a short illness, it seemed never ending at the time, he passed away on Easter. I miss him, but I now have so many possibilities opening up. I feel I am being lead to retire sooner than planned. I am recovering from knee surgery, so I’ve had my health challenges these past few months too. I am grateful for this time to heal physically as well as emotionally and spiritually.

  22. Brenda
    10 years ago

    Amen soul sista Christine! Married @16 1st child @17, worked with husband for 27 years in family owned business. Threw my arms up 2 years ago and said I quite after three surgeries on my stomach all from stress…..But I’m getting there, it is my time to take care of myself, I’ve never been selfish but, I need to come first for myself. I need the men in my life to get some feminine side going. And quite the anger and aggression. Thanks Again love you Soul Sista!!!

  23. Michelle
    10 years ago

    I let go of my x boyfriend it hurt as I wanted us to get back together however he did not no wat he wanted after the split almost for months ago, so I had to make the decision to move on. I also let go off a guy that was not worthy off me. I feel much better as I feel now I can move forward with my life. This was great reading thank u doctor northrup’s

  24. Margie Rojas
    10 years ago

    It’s time to stop putting your adult children’s needs and feelings ahead of your own desires and needs—even if you are afraid they won’t love you if you don’t mend their clothes, pay their rent, let them borrow the car, …..Lend my daughter my car. the car was damaged, battery had to be replace, lights, I’m still waiting for an explanation. I can see clearly Now. No More Self- Sacrafice!!!

  25. Anita
    10 years ago

    I realized that most of my relationships were unhealthy and lopsided, I wanted more depth or “going under the hood” with friends who didn’t seem to want that; I’ve been an over giver and listener and as I’ve taken my own emotional reins back, people have disappeared from my life. This frightened me initially and now I feel clear and centered…I know that my vibration will bring healthier relationships…thanks for the great and much needed topic!

  26. Nathalie
    10 years ago

    I would add that when you stop self-sacrifice for others ,it pushes them to react differently to they’re miserable state and they discover they’re own stenght!
    Thank you.

  27. Trish P
    10 years ago

    Wow! Awesome blog Dr. N. Hit the nail on the head…again 🙂 xo

  28. RandyLynn
    10 years ago

    My mother and my youngest son have both died now, they were the ones I spent the most time and money on. I feel the urge to move, get some miles going under my feet. I know I can’t run away from the grief but I can deal with it in motion. If it’s time to end the self-sacrifice, I’m ready! Thank you for this article and update on the current energy!

  29. Colleen
    10 years ago

    In the past 18 months, my father died, my mother-in-law died, my oldest child left for college, my career ended, my mother turned away from me and my best friend became toxic. Although I spent much time in the fetal position on the chair, I realize it all had to happen to me to get to be the person I truly am at the core. Your wisdom has certainly offered much needed guidance at this time!

  30. Jean S
    10 years ago

    What an eye opening article….the wisdom is priceless!!! It validates all my major decisions: divorcing my alcoholic husband and having to leave my extremely dysfunctional siblings. I have never felt better in my life at the age of 56!!! Thank you for writing this!!! Love you Dr.!

  31. Amanda
    10 years ago

    I remember watching a video of a woman talking about the Grand Cardinal Cross- I was struggling and didn’t understand why- the video helped me see that I was being pushed to a life of honesty, truth, clarity- living within the desires of my heart. This is what I am working on. It’s time to stop giving all my energy away and start receiving joy for work! Thanks for your valuable insights. Many blessings, teacher

  32. Andi
    10 years ago

    The big moment of realization came one X-mas morning when my 8yr old son (now 23) announced, ” Mommy, you must have been awfully naughty this year. Santa didn’t put anything under the tree for you” I was giving all to all. I was getting nothing but what I could muster in self preservation.
    Changing what one enabled for so long is monumental challenge.
    When your role is to take care of all, turning the roles is met with every defensive maneuver imaginable.

  33. Andi
    10 years ago

    My initial wake-up moment came when my 8 yr old son, now 22, said on Christmas morning, “Mommy, you must have been awfully naughty this year because Santa didn’t leave anything under the tree for you.”
    This was after working a 75 hour week as well making Christmas magic happen.
    Every attempt to realign life responsibilities since, have been met with defensive actions meant to manipulate me into the enabling role I had assumed.

  34. Joan
    10 years ago

    Dr. N what an amazing post, you certainly were my writing in the sand today, thank you.

  35. Sarah
    10 years ago

    The first part of the article seemed to be true and just. The last few paragraphs were incredibly contradictory. You suggest asking for help if needed, being empowered as a network and yet you turn to assume that those that do need help, should not receive it. Asking for one to help is difficult and courageous. You discuss turning your back on “neediness.” No one can judge another’s truth unless they have walked in their shoes.

  36. Rachel
    10 years ago

    I had been holding on to a relationship with an ex and remained in contact until it all came to a head and I found the strength to realise how toxic and painful it was for us both. I have felt such a sense if relief these past few days as feel I’m focusing on my own needs rather than trying to help him. I thought I could help but have realised staying in contact was hurting us both. This aligns so closely with what you’ve talked about. I hope this new month brings more positive growth.

  37. Diane
    10 years ago

    I have always put others needs before mine but find now at the age of 61 that I resent being expected to do this. I also find I can no longer do it. I am a worthy person and I do not have to sacrifice myself all the time to be loved by others. It has caused me many health issues over the years and now I need to take care of me.

  38. Cathy
    10 years ago

    This has been a huge part of my life, always giving, no receiving. I did this to ensure I was loved. I have been switching this up. The most important thing is a healthy love of self. If I decide not to please everyone else first and they decide not to love me anymore, I don’t care! I love myself and who needs that kind of love. I can already feel the shift in my energy! Now I can think about what I want to do for me with all this freed up eneryg…. exciting!!

  39. Jane
    10 years ago

    Thank you once again, Chris. I Listened to you as my Dr in the ’80’s and I’m still enjoying your path and mine. With less responsibilities now I’m living and loving life. I now know how to say No and now know when to ask for a little help. I dearly Love my five children and their spouses and my 11 grandchildren however I pray they will figure it out as time marches on. Peace, Jane

  40. Carrie
    10 years ago

    Wow! This article is helpful information. Yes, I’ve just noticed myself suddenly saying NO to people when they ask me to jump on their drama-go-round, when before I would’ve said yes in disregard to the NO (or screeching halting brakes) I felt right in my solar plexus. This frees me from distractions, allows me to hold light and love for them, focus on taking positive action in my life, and clear my own blocks and baggage.:)

  41. Melisa Carson
    10 years ago

    As women we tend to give all of ourselves away. If your “say no / don’t answer the phone ” comments sounded callous to anyone, it’s an indication of how far we are from living in our own truth. Ladies, put the oxygen mask on yourselves first. The best YOU will be the best person to everyone around you.

  42. Melisa Carson
    10 years ago

    As women we tend to give all of ourselves away. If your “say no / don’t answer the phone ” comments sounded callous to anyone, it’s an indication of how far we are from living in our own truth. Ladies, put the oxygen mask on yourselves first. The best YOU will be the best person to everyone around you.

  43. Kathy
    10 years ago

    Your radio show on making decisions resonated deep in my soul. I was (notice past tense) the epitome or poster child for self sacrifice growing up the oldest of 9 children in an Irish Catholic family. Self sacrifice was the Badge of Honor. I also was “let go” from a toxic job 3 months ago. I followed all of your steps releasing and offering in my God Box. Low and behold, an unexpected check for $700 arrived that day! I had to let it all go! A new life for me is unfolding!

  44. Donna
    10 years ago

    Thank you for these wonderful words! I realize I do not even really know what my dreams are, so that is where I will begin my journey. I will learn to meditate and begin to release what I thought I “had” to do and begin listening! I love to dance and so love the vision of life as a balanced dance.

  45. Anna
    10 years ago

    I felt like the wind of change blew me away. I’m in the middle of changing my career and moving abroad. In the midst of all this is the shaky relationship with my partner. I feel there is love but at the same time it “just doesn’t feel quite right”. He is someone who is quite far from any spiritual awakening but I can see how much I help him. Those thoughts grew particularly strong in the past week or so. Should I end it? What if this relationship can be transformed into smth wonderful

  46. Linda
    10 years ago

    I defintiely experienced a major event over this past month… My observation – People can be addicted to self scarifice. It is is a difficult pattern to break I feel. How does one create truly new pathways? Thank you, Dr. Northrup.

  47. Danielle Hendrickson
    10 years ago

    This totally speaks to me! Thank you for your ministry to women everywhere. You’re changing women’s lives! I freaking love you! Xo

  48. Shirly
    10 years ago

    A long overdue ex came back into my life as a friend only for me to realise I am way over him and not buying into any of his bulls@#t, that he is still telling me. That I am not the ‘petty, mean and selfish’ woman who left him 7 years ago. I am strong, powerful and full of love! Thank you for this message, this is so timely and just what I needed to affirm myself of self love and worthiness.

  49. Roxanne
    10 years ago

    I ended self-sacrifice in my own life when I was led to a support group and was finally able to let go of my family members and the idea that was was responsible for their lives! Love your post!

  50. Tomoko
    10 years ago

    Aloha Dr. I recently left a management position that was nothing but self-sacrifice. I believe it happened because after discovering my “sweet spot,” a few months back, I became harder and harder to engage in activities that did not align with it. And you know what Dr. It all started with me re-reading your “Women’s Body…”. Thank you!

  51. Tomoko
    10 years ago

    I recently left a management position that was nothing but self-sacrifice. Discovering my “sweet spot (drawing and painting)” last year gave me a sense of urgency that I could not waste any more time with any activity that did not aligned with it. And Dr., it started with re-reading your “women’s body…” The past 10 months has been a magical journey! Thank you!

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