Don't say, "you deserve better than this"...
Because you'd be lying
It is so tempting to wish for something better for yourself or for someone else.
However, whenever you think or say this to yourself or to someone, you're wrong, as you're speaking a half-truth.
I feel everyone, including me, deserves a good life. A life in which we experience lots of love, joy, and happiness and not a lot of continuous stress or hardship.
My life is not where I once hoped it to be
My own life is not in the place I once hoped it to be: I'm broke and can't work for others any more (long story for another time), which leaves me few options to create an income.
I am in debt and need to leave my house end of March and somehow get someplace else to rent.
Due to all this, I made some decisions I never thought I would make.
So as described in my last article, at this moment in time, I am experiencing one of those significant plot twists in my life.
Why it's easy to think "I deserve better"
With all that is happening, the status quo, and the decisions I made, I had my moments of thinking I deserved better, and I had others tell me I deserved better.
But last week, I had an epiphany that changed my life instantly:
I deserve better is not actually true.
I just suddenly felt it wasn't true, without being able to explain it to myself. So I asked myself, why do I sometimes feel I deserve better?
Some of those reasons would be:
- I have been through a lot in life. Severe abuse, a huge amount of loss, and having to re-invent myself time after time. So, therefore, "I deserve better."
- I think I am a good and kind person, so therefore, "I deserve better."
- I am trying really hard to grow, learn, and create a better life for myself, so therefore, "I deserve better."
- I am willing to face whatever comes my way, to overcome myself, and to release beliefs, constructs, and thought patterns, so therefore, "I deserve better."
- I am doing what I can to heal from my past, no matter how hard this is, so therefore, "I deserve better."
- I am smart, talented, and loving, so, therefore, "I deserve better."
- I am willing to take action, make tough decisions, and take responsibility for myself, so therefore, "I deserve better."
- I am paving the road for others, traveling paths less known, scraping the edges of what men call insanity, diving deep into the subconscious, facing both darkness and light relentlessly, and therefore, "I deserve better."
"I deserve better" comes from "I deserve a good life"
Basically, you could replace all the "I deserve better" phrases with "I deserve a good life." Because that is typically what we wish for ourselves and others. We only feel we deserve better because we, deep down, feel we should have a good life.
But this week, my epiphany on this topic came from asking myself the question:
Why do I think I deserve a good life?
Are all the reasons I mentioned above valid? Does all of this make me deserve a good life?
And I realized the answer is crystal clear: "No."
We don't deserve a good life
The problem with our idea of deserving can, as often, be derived from the etymology of the word.
We see the word deserve as how we derive it from old french, which, in our mental construct system emphasizes; being worthy of:
Deservir (Modern French desservir) "deserve, be worthy of, earn, merit"
We deserve something because of being worthy, to be of merit. In this definition of the word, we are entitled to earn something because of this worthiness.
When we look at the meaning from Latin, we see a clear connection to the word serve, as it derives from Latin deservire "serve well, serve zealously," from de- "completely" (see de-) + servire "to serve" (see serve (v.)). The classical Latin sense evolved to "be entitled to because of good service"
So in this sense, we are entitled to something because we serve well; we provide good service.
Duality of mental constructs
This instantly points to duality: Being worthy or not worthy, or being of good service or not of good service.
We have therefore defined a word and belief that is very conditional. This conditionality is what can keep us stuck, hold us back, and withhold us from taking responsibility.
So, according to our collective belief system, we either need to be worthy, or we need to be of good service to others or the world to be deserving.
But whoever said that, why do we believe this?
Formation of the Mental Construct 'Deserving'
Well, if we look at the Latin language and the history of that time, we may see clearly how this construct became reality.
In the 13th century in Italy, there were several important developments related to religion and culture.
In Storia della letteratura italiana vol. I "Dalle origini al Quattrocento", Giulio Ferroni states:
"Never before had the people so eagerly forged a union between their faith and the mortal world around them in order to seek a stable and enduring bond between Scripture and daily life."
"...between the end of the 12th century and the beginning of the 13th, there arose the widely held conviction that the world, dominated by power struggles and corruption, could transform itself into a truly Christian community. This belief, however, was in conflict with the prevalent values of many who held political and church offices and tended to be interpreted by some as heresy or treason."
The crisis that arose from this conflict is described as follows:
"In Italy, more than elsewhere, the crisis on the one hand reinforced the ruling classes' desire for domination and, on the other, encouraged among the lowest layers of the population irrational impulses which could be easily controlled by ecclesiastical institutions. In regard to the substantial extermination of the radical movements so resilient in the 13th century, the hopes for a renovatio, for the regeneration of humanity, moved from the religious and the eschatological level to one rather more intellectual and political in nature. The myth of a radical renewal was transformed into the myth of the ancient world and of its superior dignity.
Deserve is One of the Greatest Power and Control Tools
So at the time and place the definition of 'deserve' as we still know it today was created, there was a power struggle happening. From both ends, this was directed at gaining control over the people (us).
The focus point from all angles was dignity; dignified humanity. Dignity means: The state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect. Dignified means: having or showing a composed or serious manner that is worthy of respect.
So we were seeking to be worthy of honor or respect, to live in a worthy way. We, the people, wanted ways and opportunities that would bring us this.
Both the church and the state used this desire, helped shape it, by offering us the guidelines for what it means to be worthy.
Those who are worthy are deserving of a good life, or good things.
Simply even the fact that the term deserve was coined points to a major hoax:
We would only need a term like 'deserving' to be able to: Point out who is deserving or not and why one is deserving or not.
While, in reality: There is no such thing as deserving.
Because through the formation of the term, we have embedded a (false) belief in our society that deserving is something you can have or not have, be or not be. We made deserving into something CONDITIONAL.
That is what made deserving this great power tool. A tool to separate the good from the evil, the clerks from the prostitutes, the virtuous from the lower man, the intellectuals from the dumb, the victim from the perpetrators, the submissive from the disobedient, and so on.
Now, with deserving as an indicator of our worthiness, we have a way to build countries, systems, and authority, based on an intrinsic value that we portray as a non-intrinsic value.
All we can do is become more deserving to gain a respectable place in society.
If we find this hard, don't worry: Everything around us is providing us with ways to become more deserving:
- We can study to become more valuable to society
- We can learn good manners
- We can get a respectable job
- We can read a lot, become intellectual
- We can be super caring, be of service to others
- We can be religious, spiritual, loving
- We can follow all sorts of rules to earn respect
- We can share stories to enforce our value and worthiness
- We can use our whole life to increase worthiness by developing ourselves and becoming increasingly deserving over time.
- We can face hardships and setbacks with grace
- We can get help and see a therapist when we struggle to follow societal rules so that we can become valuable (worthy) members of society again.
I can go on forever, but you get the point. Whatever you face: There always is a way to regain your worthiness because if you're worthy, you deserve.
And we all want this. We all want to deserve.
But what if we see deserving for what it is: A term coined in the midst of a power struggle in a time when the powerful were seeking ways to gain more control?
What if being worthy is not a yes or no option at all?
What if we all are just worthy of anything, everything, and nothing?
What if we take out the sword dividing us?
Then, we are left with no longer needing the word deserving.
I don't deserve better
I don't deserve better. This is my life. This is what happens. There is nothing else that should happen. And when you say I deserve better, you say I am worth more than what I get. And that is not true. Because my worth is not determined by what I get.
I get what I get. It is not punishment, not unfairness. I don't need to deserve. I am worthy, but that's irrelevant, as nothing is worthless. We are all part of the same thing. None of us deserves more than another. None of us is unlucky or badly dealt with.
If you say you or I deserve better, you say: I do not accept my/your reality. I want it to be different. There is something in me that thinks it should be different. Because something in me thinks different is BETTER.
And we think that, because that is the collective belief we're holding onto:
A good life comes from i.e. virtue, so if you are virtuous, you deserve more. Or if you encountered a lot of hardship and virtuously got through it, you deserve some sort of compensation.
But we don't. Life doesn't compensate you. You are the one who is living it.
Release the beliefs around deserving and you'll be free
I don't deserve better.
Because that would mean, I am not where I am supposed to be.
Or, it would mean that everything needs to lead to something.
When you say I deserve better, you place a burden on me.
Because you say, I am not getting what I should be getting according to you.
That means you don't see my worthiness.
Because in your mind, my worthiness should show some kind of result.
If you didn't have that belief, you wouldn't say I deserve better.
My life should show less hardship?
Because you think that this is what worthiness means: It should bring us good things, a good life.
The moment you say I deserve better, you say my worthiness is conditional.
But it is not.
We will never be less worthy, no matter how virtuous or unvirtuous we are.
We don't deserve anything, and we deserve everything, but most certainly, we never deserve better or worse.
I'll see what I'll get - nothing that comes or does not come my way is better or worse than some other thing.
We are all worthy and beautiful people who don't need to even think or ponder about what we deserve. Release the limitation of deserving, and you'll be free.