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Ending the Curse of Deserving

February 03, 20245 min read

“Words play an enormous part in our lives and are therefore deserving of the closest study.” - Aldous Huxley

If you’re reading this right now, you know what I mean when I mention "the curse of deserving”.

Before we go any further, I have to applaud you. You’re among a mighty few who are not only courageous, you have faith in yourself, and despite this curse - passed to you through our culture - you know that you matter. You’re honest and self-aware enough to not recoil in the face of such an assertion. In other words, you’re not in denial. 

On the other hand, because of your self-awareness, you know the curse of deserving is an issue because you hear it in the way you talk (or think) to yourself and others when tensions are high, or when you or someone else makes a mistake.

And, despite your best efforts, you still react in the same way in the face of criticism - large or small - there’s no difference in how you react.

When the dust settles, you wonder whether all that therapy - or those retreats, meditation, what have you... has done anything for your problem, at all.

The very thought of it causes a tightening in your gut or chest (or both) and now you’re down on yourself for choosing the wrong words or the wrong therapist, again.

Any of this sound familiar? This is a sure sign you’ve been touched by the curse of deserving.

The good news is, it’s just a curse. There’s nothing to it, really. I mean, it sucks, and it makes moments suck by keeping you in a cyclical state of private self-doubt or self-sabotage, or even self-loathing, if you’re honest. Even though, on the surface things look fine – because you work like hell to keep it that way – inside you’re either tired, feeling little satisfaction, or both.

So, although it does suck, if you’re reading this, you’ve got what it takes to lift that curse. If you’re reading this, it means you’re not afraid of looking at your own shadow. It also means you’re willing to learn to love even the most wretched parts of yourself as they arise into your awareness. Even if that seems impossible, indeed, it is what there is to do if you really want to lift that curse.

How do I know? Let’s put it like this: how would I know anything at all about the private conversations that you have with yourself if I hadn’t had my share of the same? How would I know that the one thing guaranteed to lift that curse comes down to love, if I hadn’t put it to the test, myself? 

Part of the curse of deserving is the concept of worthiness - or deserving - itself. If we take a look at what we may have heard from parents, other family members, and teachers when we were small, even though well meaning, what we likely see is a lot of withholding of love and/or approval when we made a mistake. Unfortunately, that well-intended criticism is exactly what leaves us vulnerable to the curse. Mainly because those who passed it to us were touched by it, themselves. This is quite literally how we fell to it.

Repetitive messages about deserving - based on performance rather than purely for the sake of being a precious child of Life - sets up a reward and punishment dialogue in our thinking that resounds even decades after we’ve left our family of origin.

It's important to notice this detail about the curse: it was inadvertently passed on to you by people who themselves were innocent when it touched them. As damaging as you know it’s been for you - causing so much self-doubt and shame - those who passed it to you live with the same disorder. They weren’t trying to pass it on to you, and chances are, they remain unaware of how they 1) were touched by it, 2) how it hurt them and 3) how they passed it to you.

This point is what helps you to know that there’s nothing wrong with you. And there’s nothing wrong with them. The curse is the problem and Love Itself is the solution. As easy as it is for me to type these words, putting them into practice takes patience, intention, and the courage it takes to stand for yourself in the face of the inevitable fear that shows itself as soon as you challenge the lie. It will make you question whether you even have a right to be free of the curse. And of course, it would. Can you see how it perpetuates itself through fear?

The good news is that: fear. is. a. lie.

It’s a mental activity that takes you into a morbid future (which never actually comes to pass - ever notice that?) when everything right now, is actually fine. Think about it: would you be sitting at your computer or on your phone reading what some life-lover has to say about the curse of deserving if things weren’t actually fine in your life, right now?

Granted, there might be heartache, or the fear of future heartache, there might be bills that are stressing you out, there might be someone in your life who is struggling, there might be a litany of things that are out of your control, and yet, here you are… reading this. So, despite the lie of fear, in reality, right now you’re fine.

The reality is that you are whole, perfect and complete. How you deal with fear - in the ways we all learned to - is the habit that perpetuates the curse of deserving. And. This is something that you CAN do something about. The question is, will you?

I’ll leave you with this thought: if the world we want to see is one where we are all truly free, living in harmony, guess what? In your world, this begins with you. You matter. Your heart matters. Your dreams of love in our world matter. And. Only you can make this love real in your world. No one else. Just you. It’s your world. This is good news. It starts with you. 💖

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