What You Deserve

January 21, 2014

"You deserve better."

"One day you'll get what you deserve....someone who treats you like a princess. That's what you deserve." 

But what I deserve is not what I want. And I wonder where this phrase came from--what you "deserve." This phrase has followed me around for as long as I can remember. I even remember it from middle school youth groups, learning what I deserved as a 'daughter of God.' And it's followed me since then, prominently in opportunities missed. Ended relationships usher in a "you deserve better." I've even found it in my fair share of those awkward no-thank-you-not-hiring-you phone calls, "someone with your skill will definitely find a position, something you really truly deserve because you've worked so hard."

But what about what I want? 

Because the two are not necessarily the same. Rarely, in fact have I found them to be the same. In my life, or those of others. Because we can all point to someone we say through gritted teeth, "I wish he'd get what he deserves," and yet justice/fate/karma/whatever seemingly passes them by and they never seem to get what they deserve.

I've also heard it said that "we accept the love we think we deserve." This is also, in my mind, not true. To me it rings of victim-think and all too much self-pity and lack of self-esteem. It rings so very much of self, and in the end love is really supposed to be an absence of self. I accept the love I want (which is also about the self, I realize...but at least a self that acknowledges it's selfishness, rather than hiding behind it's past or psychology). I could know straight up it's not right or real or best or the highest or the most compatible or the most realistic for longevity or any other number of things, and yet I accept it because I want it. I know better. I know he's not for me. I am under no false pretense of pitying illusion that this is something I deserve. I'm mature enough and self-aware enough to know, no this is not the best. But I pick it. The same way I pick ice cream over vegetables. 

I don't understand why people use this phrase as consolation. Because the gut reaction is always the same. But it's what I want. 

Which led me to think--
Is being mature or "grown up" when what you deserve matches what you want? 
If I only wanted what I deserved, would I lived financially within my means?
Because I wouldn't want that $50 shirt because I know I have not yet earned it, have not yet reached that point where I deserve it due to the financial means I've achieved through hard work.
If I only wanted what I deserved, would I be happy with my current work or educational situation? 
If I only wanted what I deserved, would I have realistic expectations about my capabilities? 
Do I want realistic expectations about this, at the risk of sacrificing dreams?
What happens when what you want matches what you deserve
Does that place really exist?
Do we want it to?
What's better--what you want or what you deserve?

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  1. Having been one of those girls with cripplingly low self esteem back in the day, I have to agree with the phrase "you date who you think you deserve." That's a far cry from saying that it's your fault when bad things happen in those relationships. It's a matter of viewing the world. Like, when someone kills themselves, we don't talk about how it was their fault. It wasn't their fault, it was their perception of reality that distorted the truth and caused them to take unfortunate actions. If you think you are a horrible, ugly person, you're not going to try and date someone who is good to you. It wouldn't even cross your mind because you've already crossed them out thinking they could never like someone as horrid as you. Instead, you seek out the guy who will reinforce the opinions you have of yourself. It's like watching Fox News. A specific type of person watches that channel, which, arguable, offers a distorted view of relatively. But it is the same distortion their viewers already hold. Those viewers are not looking for the truth of the world. They are looking for the truth as they already see to be enforced.

    Sorry, that was kind of ranty. On a different note, no one deserves love. Let's be honest, we all have our faults. We have to have the confidence to say "even though I'm not perfect, I deserve someone who will love and respect me," I think we get what we want when we broaden our desires. For example, it's much easier to find a guy who shares a few interests with you than it is to find a guy who shares a specific interest.

  2. Being selfish, I would want something I want over what I deserved. Although, that's a tough call. My brain always feels challenged after reading this series.

  3. after my bullshit relationship with my ex, i definitely know what i DON'T want and what i DON'T deserve.

    i'm one who believes that what you want is what you deserve. people will treat you the way you let them; if you refuse to let someone walk all over you, you will stop that shit as soon as they try.

    everyone deserves to be loved the way they want.

    Vodka and Soda

  4. Why can't they be the same thing? Why do I have to deserve one thing & want another? I suppose if I had to pick between the 2 I'd pick want because in the end Id think I'd be happier getting what I want than what I deserve.

  5. This is an interesting thing to think about. I know I didn't deserve what I got in my last relationship and that I want something different. But 'deserve' becomes subjective. Other people think we deserve less, or more...I think it comes down to what we want and what we're willing to do to get it.

  6. So, this is really interesting 'food for thought' & I seriously enjoyed reading your perspective/what you have to say. I don't have any major insight or even opinions on this yet BUT you've really got me thinking! Thanks for sharing this!

  7. this is too deep for me.
    i stopped reading.

    love you. bye.

  8. This was a great post! You are really thoughtful and intelligent, and I really enjoyed having something deep to mull over. I like how you say that saying what you want is at least acknowledging the selfish element, instead of hiding behind it. That's so true! Also, I think we sometimes talk and think too much about what we think we 'deserve' and forget that we actually have an element of autonomy and make decisions in our own lives.

    I just stumbled on your blog today and I'm so glad I did! I loved this post, keep it up :)

  9. This is deep... and food for thought.
    What I want and what I deserve in life are two different things, and sometimes I feel like I deserve what I want. But only because I worked my all to get to it.
    It's complicated...

  10. THANK YOU for the "you accept the love you think you deserve" comment because I have always thought that phrase is complete crap. That phrase is so self serving and plays so well in to the "woe is me" attitude, it drives me insane. You accept the love you choose to accept, whether you deserve it or not. UGH. You get me, love.


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