For thirty years I have been studying thought processes with the intention of understanding what enhances and what detracts from ones psychological experience of life.
Early on I learnt that external events were completely irrelevant and that the way we think about these events is everything.
And gradually I have learnt many of the little insidious habits of us human bugs that do us serious head/heart damage. So here’s one of them for your consideration.
It was an ad for a show that started me pondering. A woman loudly stating;
“I deserve the best and no one will get in my way.”
Some reality show about getting married. I didn’t watch it. Don’t much like reality shows. Too many people behaving badly in my opinion. Her statement though stayed in my mind.
Initially my reaction was simply to think why? Why did she think she deserved the best? Why didn’t she care about the others who shared her journey? What was so special about her? I pondered some more.
“Son, do you thing you deserve the best of everything?” Fortunately Mr 15 is used to his mum coming out with random questions and just goes along with it.
Oh. I pause for a bit wondering.
“Well, is it just you that deserves it or do you think everyone deserves the best?”
“Everyone of course” his tone clearly reflecting both what a stupid question he thought that was and his need to return to his Xbox game.
I was a tad relieved. At least it wasn’t all about him.
Initially it was the future brides lack of consideration for others that irritated and I was glad my son didn’t feel this way. But I knew there was much more to why it stuck in my mind so I continued to ponder.
I considered that to deserve something implies you have earned it. I recalled the adults of my childhood stating that all must be earned. I pondered parts of psychology that holds we must feel we deserve before we receive. I ponder the religious who feel they will earn their way to their heaven. I ponder reincarnation that has us on the wheel of karma earning the good and bad that occurs in our life.
And I conclude that this whole paradigm of deserving, of earning so inherent in our upbringing, in our religions, in our daily speak, has a flip side. And that flip side has set us up for a lot of unnecessary grief.
Once we think we have earned something we get seriously pissed off when we don’t get it.
If we get things we feel we haven’t deserved ,oh my lordy can we become cranky beasties.
Snippets of a thousand conversations run through my mind. The family with a son just diagnosed with schizophrenia. The man who got ripped off. The woman whose car was stolen. People in agony due to their partners poor behaviour. Illness, betrayal, disappointments and underlying them all a constant chant on how this was undeserved.
And the problem with this undeserved thought process is that it provokes emotions of anger, of bitterness, of resentment, of self-pity and even more damaging it creates a resistance to healing, to moving past, to moving on. How will our afore-mentioned bride-to-be cope when, as in all life, something mars her expectations of perfection. She will rant, she will rage and she will do damage to herself and others.
This I know to be true:
To look at our life experiences under the umbrella of deserving/non-deserving is to create a thought process that does serious damage. I wrote recently of my friend Billy and his angst at how he’s been treated in https://leesis.wordpress.com/2010/12/12/how-long-do-you-want-to-suffer/. Ultimately until Billy gets beyond the ‘I didn’t deserve this’ chant he will continue to swim in psychological agony. I have witnessed this over and over again.
Life is not a matter of deserving or not deserving. Life simply is. We may say we don’t want certain things to occur, and as adults we can certainly do our best to avoid unpleasantness.
But, as the t-shirt says ‘shit happens’. And when shit happens the best thing I reckon we can do is to get out the toilet paper and clean it up rather that sit around chanting ‘I didn’t deserve this’. After all if that’s all we do then we are still sitting in shit aren’t we!