A week or so ago I wrote a post called “You Deserve Better“. In this post, I shared that I struggle when people who love me say to me, “You deserve better”. The post was an attempt to comprehend why I struggle, and of course to get your thoughts as I always love to do.
Recently I had an aha moment – an additional revelation if you will – about this phrase. I realized that “I deserve more” and “I want more” are not one and the same. At least in my world, one denotes comparison with outside others or forces, while the other emphasizes an inner very personal longing or a vision I have for my life.
For instance, for many years I have dated men who didn’t give nearly as much as they would take from me. I allowed it for – well, several reasons. During these years, my close, loyal friends would periodically treat me to a well-intended mentoring session of “you deserve better”, which I would listen to out of respect for the fact that they clearly loved me and were perceiving a happier state for me in their mind than what their eyes were showing them.
But I never broke up with the men on account of someone telling me I deserved better.
Then one day I was watching a couple of friends – a dating pair – and they were so happy and supportive towards each other – much more so than what I was experiencing with the man of the month in my life, actually. And inside of me I heard myself whisper, “I want that”. The way it felt within was that I wanted better than what I had with the man I was seeing.
I broke up with him a few days later.
Relationships themselves can be the finest sort of mentor – they teach us how important subtle nuances in words like “deserve” and “want” really are. From this experience I have learned that hearing “you deserve better” from a friend or loved one is reassuring in its own way as evidence of the sheer obvious care the other person has for me. But apparently none of my actual choices will change until, deep within myself, I experience that same longing that my caring friends feel for me on my own behalf.
Today’s Takeaway: If applicable, do you perceive a difference in your life as well between how you process statements like “you deserve better” versus “you want better/more?”
Happy couple photo available from Shutterstock
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Last reviewed: 7 Feb 2013