Deserve... it really is a funny word. I mean, there is nothing too extraordinary about it, but it's one of those words that holds a lot of weight.
We hear it all the time as part of marketing strategies as in " you deserve this expensive thing, or break from reality, or this (you fill in the blank)". We hear is as a negative as in "Oh she'll get what she deserves". No matter how you hear it come out of others mouths, I wonder, in which way is it coming out of your mouth?
I'm just now realizing that when it comes from my mouth to myself, it's always in the negative connotation. Like "I don't deserve the nice thing, I don't deserve the big break, I don't deserve to complain about my hard moments, and I don't deserve what I really want". And this isnt a "woe me" entry, but it's definitely an eye opener. I tried to look back on my life and see where this would have come from or why it might have even started. My 20's were rough and I can definitely draw lines for that part of my past, but I had this very distant memory of my freshmen year of high school.
In my very small town, I had made the freshman homecoming princess. It was my first high school moment in the spot light and, like most girls, I wanted to make a good impression. My parents took me to a dress shop (and back when girls wore ballgowns to events like this) I was in the dressing room trying on what felt like my first "big girl" dress. I could hear the other girls in the neighboring stalls yelling out how each dress fit to their moms or friends and it almost felt like a locker room filled with life and energy. In my 3 x 3 dressing room I put on this black and hot pink satin dress with a corset lace up detail and little pink flowers, and man did I feel like royalty. I honestly will never forget the feeling I got when I looked at the girl in the mirror and thought how special I felt. As I glowed in that moment, I remember tearing up and thinking I could never ask my parents to buy such a dress for me. In fact, the exact words I remember saying to myself were "There is no way I deserve this".
I wiped up my tears, took off the dress and quickly put on another dress I found on the sale rack. It was a pretty dress, and even though it didn't make me feel special, it was what I thought to be a reasonable choice. I told my parents that the satin dress didn't fit right and that I was choosing the sale rack dress.
There must have been a tone in my voice because I remember my Papa asking if I was sure, as if he could see I was trying to put up a brave face. I broke down and cried in the dressing room (with all the other girls starring) as my voice cracked as I said " I just don't think I deserve a dress like that".
My loving parents tried to assure me I did, walked straight over to the cash register and bought me the dress of my dreams. And not to belittle the price of that dress or the value of a dollar, but the price tag was $80.00. I had worked hard to get stellar grades, be active in my school and community and join sports and I still didn't think I was worth that.
I've been playing small for so long that I had no idea I was even doing it any more. I can even fast forward to my marriage now and say that while getting married to my husband was the best decision of my life, I definitely didn't think I deserved to show my excitement or even celebrate with a shower, or a bachlorette party, or even at my wedding. I felt that I had been given that shot and since my first marriage failed, I wasn't allowed to start again.
So like I said, beyond my high school story or my current love story, I wonder if you find yourself riding down the same road I am?
Are you playing business small because you have children and "mom life" should be fulfilling enough? Are you playing it small because your role as a wife to to "just" keep the house? Are you playing it small because your partner is intimidated by your big ideas"?
I would really urge you to look inside your head and your heart and see what lies you're telling yourself, and (more importantly) which ones you believe to be true.
Today I was asked a hypothetical question about what I really wanted, and I was stumped. 1/2 of me thought, " well you don't deserve that" while the other 1/2 thought "why put a cap on the possibility" and I think that is where you know there is a disconnect. Because no matter how big or little you dream, if your head and heart are torn between the immediate answer that pops in your head, then you're off balance.
If you're struggling with this same "mis-belief" I would suggest that you do exactly as I am, start with writing down the "BIG DREAM". Just get it down no matter how crazy it feels. Then as your thoughts starts to "bring you back to reality", listen to what you're saying to yourself and write the thoughts down. Are you hearing "you can't do that", "you aren't smart enough for that", "you haven't worked hard enough", "you should be happy with where you are"? THESE ARE YOUR MIS-BELIEFS and that things you have to work on tearing down. Because if you don't, you might end up 10 years from now saying "I wish I would have..." and that is something you definitely do not deserve.
With all my best,