Wednesday, May 16, 2012

You Deserve It

"You deserve it."

When something really good happens, something pretty or chocolate or fun or better-than-it-was, someone says, "You deserve it."

"Deserve," is all about me. Benefits bountifully heaped on me because somehow I earned the right to own them.

Those are dangerous words. Full of self and pride and greed. Full of an attitude that creeps into my thinking, that sets me at the center.

Or, the brother who slugs his brother, and says, "You deserve that."

This is the negative side. You deserve to get that speeding ticket after all the times you didn't get caught. You deserve to have something bad happen after that rotten thing you did.

Those are dangerous words, too. After all, what do any of us deserve, really? Even the best of us (no such thing...) have thoughts and actions to incriminate us. Or, good things we have done that have "earned" us blessings.

Last night, my head on the pillow, gazing at the silver stars through the uncurtained window, I thought about this. Finding the balance between guilt and debt. What I deserve, what I owe. The point of realizing all we have is a gift, nothing deserved.

This attitude, I deserve it, for good or bad, has a built-in antidote. Take off the "de." What is left? "Serve."

Serve. A heart not grasping, greedy. A focus outward toward others. Reaching a hand to give, not to take.

I have to closely guard my attitudes. If I don't get what I think I deserve, I am grumpy, ungrateful.

But if I don't deserve anything, anything I get is more than I deserve. I can be grateful for everything.

If my desire is to serve, whatever I can give is good.

This is a key, for me, to traveling lighter. To hold things loosely, in an open palm. Not grasping, hoarding, holding things tightly. Let go. Give. Serve.


  1. This post is really cool, Maureen! Thanks for the perspective. "Serve" is such a simple word that I can remember when my attitude creeps over into the "deserves."

  2. Thanks, I'm afraid I wrote this mostly for myself - to get past the "deserves" and to serve, willingly and gladly! When I realized the play on the word, it seemed worth sharing.

  3. To me, the idea of deserving something is related to how I see my own worth. If I have a low self-worth, then I don't deserve much and I am content to be a slave to what others determine my worth is. On the other hand, if I have low expectations, then I can still have a high self worth, know what I "deserve" (based on what I consider my worth to be), but not expect anything. So, whatever reward I get is still a bonus.

    In this case, I think it probably comes down to semantics. I have struggled so much in my life with my self esteem, that to say I do not deserve anything is actually very detrimental to me. On the other hand, I can serve and give of myself willingly with no expectation of getting what I deserve in return, and all is good. In my case, it is the expectations that are destructive, not the understanding of what is deserved.

    1. Yes, Ginny - good point. The expectations are the key. If I think I deserve something, I'm not as grateful to receive it. To be able to serve without expectations, but still know I do have personal value, a good balance. Thank you!