It may be the worst word in the English language. Worse than any curse word. Why? Because it shreds our emotions and makes us horrible to be around. The word? Deserve.
Many of us feel guilty, unworthy. When bad things happen, we feel like we are getting what we deserve. Which only makes us feel terrible about ourselves and absolutely no fun to be around.
On the other hand, some of us think we deserve better. When things go wrong, or the world doesn’t work the way we think it should; we feel let down, abused and mistreated. Which of course makes us gripey, whiney, and self-righteous. Even worse to be around than those guilty schmucks.
You see, when we use the word deserve, it typically leads to misery. Both ours and others.
This is especially true in relationships. Lots of us feel, deep down inside, that when things don’t work in our relationships that is just us getting what we deserve. We are not worth being treated well. So, we give off a vibe that says “spit on me, I won’t mind”.
Others of us feel that we deserve to be made happy by our relationships. So when someone lets us down, whether they meant to or not, we mount our high horse and scream about how unfair life is and how we deserve better. (By the way, neither of these positions makes anyone actually want to love you.)
On the other hand, people who find fulfillment in their relationships don’t think about what they deserve. Instead, they focus on what they can give. They look at what they can do to improve themselves. How can I be a better listener? What can I do to be more welcoming? Where can I best use my talents to help others? Those finding fulfillment in relationships drop the “de” from deserve.
It sounds simple, and it truly is. It is just difficult to do. Stop looking at what you should get, and focus on what you can give. Don’t focus on what you deserve; focus on how you can serve.
If you want to be unhappy, if you desire to be miserable, just spend the next hour or so thinking about what you deserve. You will either feel totally guilty or completely uncared for. Now doesn’t that feel good?!
But if you want to be happy, if you desire some joy in your life, then drop deserve from your vocabulary.