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“You are sitting on the earth and you realize that this earth deserves you and you deserve this earth. You are there–fully, personally, genuinely.” — Chogyum Trungpa

Deserve.

What a loaded word!

We come into this earth, and there seems to be a general consensus, even across broad political lines, that we all “deserve” the same things.

To be loved. To receive healthcare. To be cared for. To be respected. To be educated. To be invested in.

Even if we ended up with parents who weren’t particularly interested in offering or providing any of these things, if you walked down the street and asked ten people, “Does this baby deserve love, healthcare, respect, education?” I’d bet a roll of Benjamins that 10 out of 10 would say “Yes. Of course she does!”

Then they would probably look at me strangely, just for asking.

But something happens to so many of us as we grow older, around our concepts of unconditional deservedness–and this nebulous, “something happens” space is of great interest to me.

How is it that we all start out from this place of collective agreement that we are unconditionally deserving, and then somehow, 99% of us end up with neurosis around what it is that we deserve?

Questioning What You Deserve

Who deserves to have their wishes fulfilled, and who doesn’t? If you notice yourself walking with the idea that you don’t deserve goodness, then somewhere within you there’s an assessment system at work, asking this question.

And if one is not deserving, how does one become deserving? That’s the next question you’re probably asking–without even realizing it.

And now, the question that I’m asking: How might carrying the very Story that one is or is not deserving, keep someone from ever feeling like they deserve?

In other words? That system is rigged. Carrying a capital-S Story that you need to do things to be deserving, or that some people deserve things and others don’t, is exactly what perpetuates the cycle.

You’ve Been Conditioned

Like most people, I have been trained by society to assume that there are things I need to do to prove my worth–somewhere along the line, the messages of intrinsic value simply from life and living convert to “now earn your keep.”

Note the choice of “things I need to do.” It’s assumed, when the very concept of deservedness is even brought into the picture, that deservedness is about action, not about being. Deservedness carries with it the idea that something must be earned.

You’ve got to see that that belief system is rigged. It’ll always come back to what Dr. Brene Brown calls “hustling for your worthiness.”

 

Get Out From Under It

You’ve got to get out from under the faulty belief system that you need to “deserve” the goodness of life.

Bad things happen to good people. It’s not about deserving it. No mother watching her child die of malnutrition in a third-world country did something to “deserve” that, nor did the child.

When we get out from under the “you gotta earn it and deserve it” belief systems that we impose on ourselves, room is created to stop imposing those belief systems on others. That’s when the world is primed to say, “We’re going to really do something about malnutrition.”

When we get out from under the belief systems that keep us tangled, there’s energy to actually confront the problem.

I’ll step down from the soapbox now, and just take it down to the microcosm–your everyday, lovely, courageous little-big life.

Will you be the first person in line to say that you are deserving of the good things in life?

Wild horses couldn’t drag me from wanting to live a beautiful life. I needed to heal a lot of wounds to get to this place. With every wound I heal, the more capacity that I have for helping instead of getting caught up with the worry that I haven’t done enough to deserve the good stuff.

You are deserving. I am deserving. We are all deserving.

If you don’t believe that, yet, be willing to invest your time into doing what it takes to get there. You deserve that much, and the world deserves to experience all of you. We’re already grateful.

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