One More Time on Feeling Deserving
As I’ve written before, at the root of many troubled eaters’ food problems is the issue of not feeling deserving of health, happiness, success, etc. They are conflicted about whether or not they’re deserving of good things in life and, hence, behave sometimes as if they are and other times as if they aren’t. Let’s get this straight once and for all: everyone is deserving and you are no exception.
A person who feels deserving, never thinks about it. It’s simply something they are like green-eyed or brown-haired, witty or a artsy. They are because, well, they are. I know that sounds awfully simplistic, but the subject is just that: simple. Many of you try to make it more complicated as in, “I’m deserving if” or “I’m deserving because.” You’re deserving because you were born. Think about it. There’s no way some folks are born deserving and some folks aren’t. That doesn’t make any sense, does it?
You feel (but are not) undeserving because that’s how you were treated either overtly or covertly in childhood. If your parents were highly critical of you, you come to feel less than and defective, that is, undeserving. If they acted as if you were stupid, worthless, lazy, or unwanted, that’s what you believed because it was said or implied repeatedly. As children, when adults speak, why would we question their veracity? They rule.
The root reason you feel undeserving is because people caused you to feel that way—not that you are. Get the difference? If parents made you feel brilliant, beautiful, or athletic, you actually may not have been those things, but merely believed you were. As an adult, if you aren’t these things, by now you have found out that this is the case, that is, that you’re not brilliant, beautiful, or athletic as your parents made you think.
To feel deserving (since you already are), you must counter the words and actions you absorbed automatically in childhood by telling yourself that you are deserving and acting in ways that make you feel it by speaking kindly to yourself and engaging in activities that cause you to feel valued, worthwhile and, yes, deserving. Over time, your efforts will override what you learned in childhood. It will certainly help if others are nice to you and remind you that you’re worthy, and it will hinder your progress if you hang out with critical, unkind people. But the main effort to change must come from your doing, not theirs. You have to hear these thoughts in your own head coming from your own heart. It doesn’t matter if you believe them now. In time you will. Just like it took time hearing you were defective to believe it, it will take time to believe you are not.