This is one of the few phrases I can think of that we use variably for both really good and really lousy events in our lives:
Being honored by your peers. Getting laid off. Finding a great man or woman and falling in love. Discovering your partner is cheating on you.
“I don’t deserve this!”
But deserve doesn’t have a whole lot to do with any of it.
Things happen to us, good or bad (and even the things that don’t fit neatly into either of these categories) as a product of varying combinations of stuff we can control and stuff we can’t. The universe isn’t all that interested in what you deserve.
So why do we cling to the notion of deserving? It’s comforting, in the way many of its idealistic cousins are comforting; things like fair, ought, should, supposed to–these are tempting notions. If the world was in fact governed by these rules, we wouldn’t have to take responsibility for what happens in our lives, be it the hard stuff or the good stuff. If deserve mattered, we wouldn’t have to do the difficult work that comes after recognizing that we are the creators of our lives. We wouldn’t have to take seriously questions like:
How did I end up here?
What could I have done differently?
What did I do well?
Where do I fall short?
What’s expected of me now that I’m in this new place?
How do I need to grow?
Deserve is a place to hang out while avoiding the creating of our lives. It gets in the way. It’s a distraction.
And the good news?
You can give it up.