This Deserving Stuff is Hard

So, as I blogged about a few days ago, I’ve been thinking and journaling about deserving since Lent began on Wednesday. I gotta tell you, this deserving stuff is hard for me.

A few things have already become clear to me: First, that there is a very large, very loud part of me that feels that I don’t deserve anything. At least not anything good. That makes it hard for me to ask for things, and hard for me to enjoy them.

Second, that I have nonetheless been able to overcome that feeling. There have been a few cases already in the last few days when I have done so. The biggest one, I think, was when I reached out to two dear old friends on Friday, and asked if the three of us could have a Zoom call yesterday. I wanted to do this. I knew that it would be good for me. But I hesitated so much to do so because I kept hearing this voice saying things like, “What makes you think you deserve this?” “What makes you think they want to see you?” “Why would you waste their time like this?” “Why don’t you just leave them alone?” Yet I did it. And I must say, it was a wonderful call. And I believe they felt that way too.

Third, I overcame that sense of not deserving it, but not by convincing myself I deserved it. Instead, I was able to sidestep that question, and just tell the voice, “I’m calling anyway.” I think that’s an important learning for me — I am probably better off trying to evade the question of deserving rather than facing it dead-on. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not. Does it mean I’m failing to address the real problem, or does it mean that I’ve found an appropriate and helpful coping mechanism? Hard to know for sure.

Fourth, I am just plain triggered by the words deserve and worthy, at least when they come to me. Something in me just gets really twitchy when either of those words are around, like an electromagnet that hums and vibrates more and more the closer it gets. I don’t know where that comes from, or why. But it is clear to me that deep within me, firmly entrenched, is a rock that says, You Deserve Nothing, and You are Unworthy. Seriously. There’s one journal entry from the last few days where I started talking about whether I deserved something or other, and then as though out of nowhere, I just started writing a whole paragraph about how how I deserved nothing, how I should sell all my possessions, how I should just go to bed, blah blah blah. It’s like stepping on a live wire.

So there’s two things I’m thinking about in terms of where to go from here: 1) I might be well served to find an alternate word to use when thinking about whether I deserve something, because I just can’t hear that word without falling down a rabbit hole. And along with that, I might be well served to stop trying to determine whether I deserve something, because I’ll never be able to win an argument against the live wire. And 2) I wonder if it’s worth spending some time in therapy trying to figure out where my trigger comes from. Is there something from my past that somehow traumatised me in regards to the words deserve and worthy? Maybe that’s a place to explore — or maybe it’s best left alone. I don’t know.

Either way, this has certainly been a productive first half-week of Lent so far. Really curious where it’s going next.

Photo by Bia W. A. on Unsplash

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s