You Don’t Deserve Anything (Until You’re Someone Who Deserves Something)


what you deserveSo often we look at our lives, at our Selves, and – disappointed – we think or say…”I deserve better”.

But is it true…?

I dunno.

The easy answer is “yes”.

The compassionate answer is “yes”.

And, in a way, those are right.  Because our hearts – our shared humanity – tells us that every person is valuable, every person deserving of something, every person a person, a human being – someone with intrinsic worth and dignity.

And those aren’t not true, of course.  And there are areas of our lives, our relationships, and society as a whole where that way of thinking is necessary, valuable, just.

There are times where that frame – that way of looking at things – is the right one.

But one doesn’t need to look very far to see that reality isn’t quite so simple, not quite so touching.

One doesn’t need to look very far to see people not doing all too well in life – people struggling and yet fine with it, accepting of it.

Or people forever alone and loveless – too scared to approach someone they like, too desperate to keep them, or too jealous to do anything but drive them away.

Or, of course, people, so sad and depressed – too sensitive, too insecure, too weak to withstand the difficulties of life.

It may not seem kind…

…but the truth is – generally, mostly – we all receive in life what we are truly owed in life, and no more.

We all get what is just and due on account of the work we put in, and Selves we become.

We all get what we deserve.

And usually not more.

Not, though, in the sense you might think it.  Not in the “I was diagnosed with an illness and I didn’t deserve that” kind-of-way, or the “I was beaten, robbed, and hurt and I didn’t deserve that” kind-of-way either.

Of course not.

Cause as I think I’ve said here before, life is random, and the world can be unfair.  Bad things happen to good people, and some good things happen to bad people.

Those things happen.

As they always will – without explanation, notice, or reason.

But so often, when life goes as we haven’t planned it, or as we wouldn’t wish it, we’re told or tell ourselves that we “deserve better”; that what we’ve done in life thus far should be enough for what we wanted in life all along; that what we have is less than what we’re due; that when we’re pissed, and down, and hopeless, we have better things to look forward to because we are we, and we “deserve better”.

Or so it essentially means.

But, no.

Success isn’t given.  Money isn’t given.  Possessions aren’t given.

Confidence isn’t given.  Strength isn’t given.  Happiness isn’t given.

Life, itself, isn’t given.

It’s earned.

There is nothing in life, then, we deserve on account of simply being; nothing we deserve as some kind of human right or inalienable right.  There is nothing we are owed because we think so or are told so.

We deserve all we get because of the somethings we’ve done to earn it – because of the blood, sweat, and tears we’ve put into becoming the person who actually deserves that success or that comfort.

So it is in nature.

So it is in reality – minus society’s ideals of morality or fairness.

There is no Bill of Rights for the antelope; no Social Security for the Seal.  There’s no justice for the Worm from the Bird; no Deer that says he “deserves” better than to be shot at or hunted.

And though we don’t fear being eaten, nor being hunted, we – not so much unlike them – must survive on our talents and on our efforts; on our ability to increase our ability, and our will and drive to make what we have into something more – to make our Selves into someone deserving of more.

And so for every person now alive…

…there exists a certain life they deserve according to the person they are and have become; a certain life that is justly and rightly theirs on account of the work they’ve done, the time they’ve put in, the strengths they have within them – whether born with, fought for, or painstakingly earned, bit by bit.

There exists a level of success and happiness possible for them with the knowledge they have, and experiences they’ve lived, and confidence and belief in themselves they hold within.

And like levels in a video game, our entitlement depends upon the battles we’ve won, the obstacles we’ve overcome, the challenges we’ve defeated; the confidence we have, the strength that’s ours, the will and desire we show to earn what’s not yet ours, and be who we are not yet.

To have what we deserve, and deserve what we’ve received.

And though it may not always prove true, I think it’s just best to view our lives – all the world, really – like this, from this point of view.

That we forget the idea that those who have more or get more, only do so because of what they were born with or given; only successful because of the education that’s theirs, or the advantages they were afforded, or the opportunities that were open to them.

That we “deserve” what they have – though we haven’t lived the lives that they’ve lived; though we have no idea of the effort they’ve given, or the work they’ve put in.

Maybe that is the case, though, of course.

Maybe they’re spoiled.  Maybe they’re simply lucky to be themselves.  Maybe they’re undeserving.

But so are you, as you are now, very likely.

So are you, as the Self you are now.

As am I, as well, and everyone who remains far from their dreams; far from the Selves they desire, and the lives they imagine.

Cause if we were truly deserving of it – here and now – we’d have it.

And if we had earned it, we’d get it – surely, in time.

No one’s “deserving” of better, then…

No one’s earned what they haven’t received.

Everyone gets their just due.  And those with more, are those who’ve earned more.

And to be that person – to want more, and get more – we have to do more.  We have to become that person that’s earned it, that deserves it.  We have to be better.

We all do.

Because all we earn in life isn’t simply the product of what we’ve done to earn that success specifically, but of who we became to earn that success at all; of the person we became that made those successes possible.

And until that day – until that day we’ve done all we can, and done all we need – we don’t deserve anything more.

That is, until we’re someone who deserves something…

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8 Responses to You Don’t Deserve Anything (Until You’re Someone Who Deserves Something)

  1. Manuel Marino says:

    eh, ok, mmmm, I’ve got a more balanced vision. I think that destiny comes for 2 reasons: we work to have it, we just have it because it happens. I call it “chaos”. It’s the sum of hundred of small events happening and that you can’t control because you simply are not God.

    Then there are those events you can control and you MUST control. And your post can be useful for this part of destiny.

    But against the chaos, nothing can be done, and life is the sum of controllable events and impossible to control ones. That’s why I think we all deserve a second chance.

  2. Tracy says:

    Totally agree. I once knew someone who said she hated how people assumed to “deserve” so much greatness. Women are guilty of this on many levels I think. Everyday I hear women talk of deserving the best (in a boyfriend, husband), and how “I deserve better than….”. I don’t have any theory behind this, only an impulsive reaction when I hear a woman say that….but I basically can’t help but think it is always the women who aren’t all that deserving of anything great, who seem to keep whining about how much they deserve. When you know yourself a little better, and can see yourself objectively, it becomes rather hard to ramble on about what you so deserve.

    The only exception is people who are extremely suffocated by their environment to the point where their basic needs cannot be met (war torn countries, politically and economically devasted countries etc). Well, I think they “deserve better”. But by better, we are speaking of elements which are normal for people like us. So in fact it isn’t really that they deserve better, it is that they deserve the basics.

    • Adam Austyn says:

      Haha. This was the exact inspiration for the post. Like EXACTLY. So I couldn’t agree more, Tracy…

    • Anongirl says:

      I think guys do this all the time. How many guys have you met who seem to feel they ‘deserve’ a beautiful, moral, young, educated woman when they themselves are none of those things? Or just want to slack off and still move forward in life? I’ve met plenty. Of course the same things apply to women, but I think this is a human thing, not a woman or a man thing. People are often entitled. Their genitalia doesn’t make a difference.

  3. Alice says:

    I LOVE this blog/ your insights are awesome

  4. Claire says:

    Its funny, I went searching for “what we deserve” because of the tendency to have deep philosophical rants and focus less on ME and MY needs, which is more helpful than talking about how abusive my father was. Or how I want things to be BETTER in my relationship and to have my daughter grow up with morals, values and a totally open mind, a student of life.
    So we discussed “deserve” and the twist side boggled me. He does that, and its awesome and annoying sometimes 🙂
    I talked about “everything happens for a reason” and it doesn’t mean it happens because it was deserved. Horrible things happen to people, my example was “no one deserves for their child to die, but it DOES happen for a reason”. I believe each life(yes, reincarnation) is meant to learn something, the overall spirit is a tool to absorb the knowledge of being human, but the spirit is a tool….I’m getting into my beliefs, which everyone has a right to, its just my own opinion 🙂
    But he asked “does your child deserve to be alive?” And first thought of “yes!” but now that I’ve really examined this complex idea, I realize if everything happens for a reason, no one gets what they deserve, but also, nothing is earned either. The only thing earned is knowledge taken from both good and bad experiences, and learn from them, not to gain anything other than food for the spirit.
    No one deserves anything, not to be dead or alive. But no one earns anything either. Maybe in humanity. Working hard earns money or success in that one person’s definition. But my child being alive isn’t earned. Or deserved. We all die. Bad things happen. So I have my answer. My daughter doesn’t deserve to die, but doesn’t deserve to live. She just IS. She is BEING.
    That’s what I got from this, so thank you for helping to jog my mind and decide on my own what it all means. I think I’ll write it up, print it out for next weeks session!

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