What’s the Word? Deserving


I saw this sign at a store and I had a very strong reaction to it. (That happens a lot, actually.) What kind of a premise is this? The idea is that if I’m not content with something or someone in my life, the problem must be outside myself and I am encouraged to begin the search for happiness by pursuing a possession or a relationship that will fulfill me in a way that my current circumstances do not.

What would this mean for marriages?

If we hit a snag or if I’m unhappy for any reason, I’m to assume that the problem is yours and I should find a new spouse. I must deserve better.
What would this mean for our closets?

This purse/furniture/house/car used to make me feel good, but it doesn’t feel that way anymore. It must be time for an upgrade. Let’s go shopping. I deserve better.

What about jobs?

I’ve worked here for a while, but it’s just not doing it for me anymore, so this job/company must be beneath me. I’m done here. I deserve better.

The fundamental flaws in this principle are A) that I deserve only things / people in my life that live up to my superior standards and B) that my lack of contentment is not my fault. This philosophy is self-centered and filled with inherent arrogance. Who do I think I am when I consistently believe that I am living below my merit? That others exist merely to elevate my self-esteem and fill my needs? It’s not a world I want to live in.

What if we adopted the philosophy that we better ourselves by serving others? What if humility became a trendy virtue? It seems to me that the moment I start to wonder if I deserve better is the moment I’d better check myself and get over myself.

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  • disqus_CfkWOPmUq3

    Sorry, but I think your response is ridiculously simplistic. I discovered through personal analysis & necessary growth that I really did deserve better than what I had in my marriage. I was unhappy for a reason that was not my fault (he was a domestic violence perpetrator), & I’d spent over 2 decades trying to figure out how I could change to make the relationship work when what was needed was to end it because I deserved better than what my spouse could offer. Although I agree with you that shopping for an upgrade when what you have is still perfectly usable can be shallow & wasteful, using wisdom to weigh & balance when you really do deserve better honors & serves your sense of self worth rather than a knee-jerk reaction that sacrifice & serving others is always the best response.

    • I would obviously agree with you in your unique situation. No one deserves to be abused in any way. Absolutely. The flaw and inherent selfishness of the philosophy is in its dismissal of everything that doesn’t bring me immediate gratification. Are there exceptions to any philosophy? Of course. Does a broad generalization like the sign at least merit examination? I think so. Simply asking, “What if things were different?” often leads to some profound insight like you discovered in your own personal analysis and growth process. I have nothing but respect for your journey and the strength you found to make tough decisions.