Stop Telling People They Deserve to Be Happy

I am so tired of people telling other people they deserve stuff. You know what you deserve? Exactly what you have. The truth is, if I’m unhappy, I don’t deserve to be happy. Because if I deserved happiness, I would have it.

It being the beginning of the year, the “You Deserve…” rhetoric is at an all-time high, and it’s the fastest way to being terribly miserable on an epic scale. When you think you deserve something you don’t have, you’re never going to appreciate anything you do have. And when you spend your time being ungrateful and short-sighted, you tend not to win any prizes, which in-turn leads to feeling uninterested in your life and work, and perpetuates the cycle of wanting and not having and not getting. Over and over until you die alone because everybody else went to hang out with people who weren’t bitter and petty.

It is literally impossible to get what you deserve.
It is literally impossible to get what you deserve.

If you tell people they deserve to be happy when they are not happy, that they deserve to be thin/rich/getting laid when they are, in fact, none of those things, you set up a culture of entitlement that, frankly, is ultimately to blame for the baby boomers ass-fucking our economy to death.

I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking “but Marina, do kids deserve to get abused, do rape victims deserve to be raped?” The answer is, of course, no. But if I, a former abused child, decide to dwell on that abuse and carry it around with me all the time without seeking any recovery for myself or learning to put it in it’s proper place (a terrible thing that is no longer a pressing issue, even as it may have ongoing ramifications on my daily life forever), then yes. I deserve that sick pit of suffering because I chose to keep it close instead of doing the painful and difficult work to let it go. Is it fair? No, life isn’t fair. Do I deserve the life I have? Yes. Because my choices have lead me here.

If you’re happy, congratulations, you deserve to be happy. If you’re unhappy, congratulations, you’re the one that caused this shit. That means you’re the one who can solve this shit.

Sometimes it can be as simple as you (me) deciding that V8 is a meal replacement because you’re (I’m) too fancy-pants important to break for dinner. Maybe that’s why you’re (I’m) miserable and covered in self-pity at three in the morning. Maybe the next time you’re (I’m) compelled to work through meals, I will fucking remember how I get and eat some damn food like a grown-up. In my experience, it’s usually something like that.

But sometimes it’s more complicated than that. Sometimes you’re going through life unconsciously basing all your significant relationships on the destructive patterns you learned from your parents, who taught you that other people’s feelings are your responsibility and that if you were just less of a fuck-up, everyone would be happy.

Maybe you can’t help thinking that if you could just figure out the secret code, someone would finally love you like you deserve to be loved, all the while completely failing to notice that you hate yourself more than anybody ever could, and as long as that’s true, no one can love you like you need to be loved because they don’t posses the one thing you need to make this better, which is of course your ability to love yourself.

Weight fucking Watchers is not going to give you what you deserve. A shiny ring is not going to give you what you deserve. A fucking diploma is not going to give you what you deserve. What you deserve is already with you. Every second of every day, awake, asleep, fat, thin, sane, insane, tall, short, black, white, purple, everything you are is everything you deserve to be. Because you’re the one that made you like this. Not your circumstances, but what you’ve done with them. Not your body, but how you’ve treated it.

Everyone struggles. Everyone makes bad choices, and we will continue to make them for as long as we live. There’s no getting over that. Ultimately, what we deserve means nothing. What we have now, who we are right now, means everything.

Don’t waste what little time you have crying over what you didn’t get or weren’t given. That’s irrelevant. Who you are right now, how you got here, and what you’re going to do next are far more important.

2 Replies to “Stop Telling People They Deserve to Be Happy

  1. I still think it’s not harmful to believe that you deserve happiness. No, it’s not going to be found with a charm bracelet or by losing weight, but it’s something to work for and work out for yourself how to achieve it.
    At least that’s what i keep telling myself on my journey to happiness.

    1. I think it’s healthy to encourage people to be happy and find happiness for themselves. That’s productive, but I think setting up the idea that everyone just deserves happiness is harmful.

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