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Do I Deserve It?

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Tuesday, December 13, 2011

There is this thing we do where we tell ourselves we deserve something.

I've worked hard, I deserve a new car.
I've finally graduated, I deserve a nicer apartment.
I'm cute, I deserve the $17 lipstick from MAC.
I'm the best great dane mommy ever, I deserve a third great dane. Nevermind, scratch that last one.

When I'm at the mall shopping with my husband and I admire some fabtastic, gourmet swanky thing, like an obscenely expensive purse, or a light fixture (I have an obsession with light fixtures it seems) or something else that I don't need, deserve, haven't earned and will never be on a "need" list, my husband is incredibly helpful. He says, "buy it, you work hard, you deserve it."

So when I say my husband is helpful, I really mean that he isn't.

The same thing happens when I am all gooey at the idea of macaroons (the French kind, not the coconut kind) or cheese, or naughty food in general. Go on, you've worked hard, you've lost lots of weight, indulge... you deserve it.

I'd like to say that it's always my husband telling me I deserve the naughty food, but the reality is that it's usually my internal Jenn muttering in my brain, "you deserve those 100,432,224 fat grams, you've worked hard. You DESSSSERRRRRVE it!" It's like the damn basilisk in the wall, and I'm the only one around who can speak Parseltongue. Or maybe it should be called FatTongue. (For those who don't know what Parseltongue is, get thee to a Barnes and Noble posthaste and buy all 7 Harry Potter books immediately, start at page one book one and read until there are no pages left.)

When it's a $500 dollar purse, smart Jenn kicks in and when hubby says I deserve it, my response (unless I want it, covet it, can't live without it, refuse to go on with life without acquiring it) is this: "I deserve to retire one day too." Too many expensive purses, lights, itunes songs, whatever... they all add up to me having less money in the bank for retirement.

Have you ever noticed when we start to use the word "deserve" we are usually talking about something that is not a need, but a want?

I deserve a piece of birthday cake, I've been good.

I deserve some fried chicken, I've lost five pounds.

I deserve dinner in a restaurant, I haven't cheated all week.

Just to clarify, all of the things we "deserve" seem to be contrary to our overall goals, desires and wants. Well, I speak for myself really, royal we and all that crap.

Right now, I deserve a nice freaking vacation. I haven't saved up for one, but dammit, I deserve one. I need to work at earning that vacation, so that deserving it is a moot point.

Anyway, as per usual, I digress.

Deserving it thinking is dangerous thinking.

I did an hour on the treadmill, I deserve cheesecake.

I stayed within my points all week, I deserve some movie popcorn. And Milk Duds. And a leaded soda.

I didn't overeat this week, I deserve pizza.

For me, when I start to hear NaughtyJenn or someone else talk about deserving things, it's time to run. Run far away. Run like a sissy girl, run like a marathoner, doesn't matter, just run.

Deserving is code for "I know better" and "I should not, but I will" and lots of other things. Not good things.

Now to be clear, when you start to get in shape and get your sh*t straight, you will have moments of "I DESERVE BETTER!!!" and you do. You may deserve a better person in your life than the one you have. You do deserve to be treated with respect. You do deserve to have a spouse who loves you. You do deserve to be healthy. You deserve a normal BMI. You do deserve to have an hour to yourself to work out.

You deserve good things for yourself, things that make your life better. Absolutely. without a doubt.

So, how often are the things you "deserve" things that will actually improve your life, and how often are they things that are standing between you and your goals?

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • MKATJ75
    Spot on! I needed to read this today.
    2320 days ago
    to what we *really* deserve!

    2322 days ago
    I can see myself in your blog too, Jenn, although as I'm getting older... what do I mean "getting"? I'm 68 so I'm already old... but anyway, I really do want fewer and fewer material things, and am actively trying to simplify my life.

    But here's the crunch - I would like to simplify things so that I can travel more. If I were on my own, I would have a one bedroom condo somewhere, or maybe even an apartment to free up capital, so that I could go out, lock the door, and go away for months at a time. Ever since I was young, I've wanted to explore and see how people live in other parts of the world. I love to try new foods, take lots of pictures, and try to imagine myself living there.

    My children are all grown and educated. The first three are already making way more money than I ever did, the fourth has just moved in with her boyfriend, they are buying a house, and she will soon be well-established too. So while I want to leave them something, I feel that I can enjoy life too.

    BUT... I'm not on my own, and my DH is a collector... not quite a hoarder, but definitely on that road. He will never voluntarily move from this house (4 bdrms, 2 full and 2 part baths). Our large double garage contains his 2 classic cars, 4 motorcycles and racing kart.

    We've been together 10 years and have done lots of travelling. We are very lucky that we're both relatively healthy and can afford to take one big trip each year.

    We all have dreams, and we deserve to try to make them happen. You're doing great on SP, and I know that you will sort out the things that will really make you happy, and choose them instead of the things that stand between you and happiness.

    2323 days ago
  • KLONG8
    Right on as ususal. This one is a big one for me. "I deserve" truly is self-sabotage. Today I decided I deserved 4 sugar cookies that my hubby baked at 9AM. Warm sugar cookies. So those cookies that "I deserved" made a huge dent in the 1 hour bike ride I took at lunch. Who the heck deserved THAT?
    2328 days ago
  • HHB4181
    I don't really reward myself for weight loss. I actually hate shopping for clothes, so everything I own is big on me. Someone told me last week that my pants are so big, I look like I'm wearing a diaper.

    I buy things when I need to. I bought a new coat because I wanted one that was a) warmer than the one I owned (i live in MA) and b) one that didn't make me look soooooo frumpy. I ended up buying an expensive coat, $150, from Nordstroms, but it's SUPER warm and exactly what I wanted (color, length, hood). I can wear ones that cinches at the waist a little bit, because I finally have a waist that can be cinched.

    Best of luck in 2012!!
    2328 days ago
    yep!! yep!! I so see myself in this blog. Reward =food. What? Not again. Same old mind games. Need to break the cycle in 2012. emoticon
    2332 days ago
  • LINDAJ0621
    2333 days ago
    Your blog postings are always provocative and thoughtful. You have great insight into the often devious and self-sabotaging workings of the human brain! emoticon
    2336 days ago
  • SHEILA-45
    The "I deserve..." is right up there with the "It's only...," dangerous territory! A slippery slope that will surely cause one to fall into caloric oblivion or debt! Here's to lighting a torch and keeping that flame burning bright for our soon to be skinny selves in 2012~ Enjoy
    2337 days ago
    Great blog..made be talk to myself reprovingly :).. emoticon
    2340 days ago
  • MILLIE5522
    Great blog! I shall remember this when temptation strikes again. emoticon
    2342 days ago
    So that's what's been going on in my head! Thanks for the great insight.

    Scootergirl in Oz
    2342 days ago
    Love this blog! I often suffer from a bad case of the "deserves" . I need to do some serious thinking on that!
    2343 days ago
  • THEIS58
    so right. Thanks for sharing it.
    2343 days ago
    I say I deserve, I sometimes say I don't deserve something because I am too fat or... name the reasons. You have to think of yourself and your goals and doing it healthy and knowing you do deserve some pretty thing, you do deserve an expensive purse :) but you also deserve to live a healthy great life!! Stay on track Love your blog!!
    2343 days ago
    I absolutely love your blog...I needed it today,Thanks honey youre the greatest!! emoticon
    2343 days ago
    "Deserving it think is dangerous thinking." Masterful blog, gorgeous. So clear and so well-written. And you are so spot on, as usual.

    I am on the fence about the MAC lipstick, however... :) Methinks me want it... ;)

    2343 days ago
    I hate spending money when I want something, but my wife often tells me that I deserve it. I need to listen to her more often. We all deserve to be happy.
    2344 days ago
  • ANEWME42012
    So obvious when it is written down by someone else... I don't deserve to eat crap because I worked out this morning! Great job Jenn!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2345 days ago
    My hubby was This thru and thru!! "Go on hunny you worked hard this week, you deserve that bag od chips!!". I had a BIG talk with him and told him this is just sabotage thinking so now he has become my voice of reason!! When i start talking "parseltongue" he understands it and coaxs me to go and get something I TRULY deserve like a new workout outfit or a new pair of cute but functional sneakers!! I understand that deserving self sabotage way of thinking and have come to stop it before the thoughts even start!! Good for you Jenn for recognizing your own self sabotage thinking!!

    2345 days ago
    Sha hai se shen!

    (that's Parsel tongue for "Boss post!"
    2345 days ago
    Great post....
    2345 days ago
    I love this! Totally true, I have to remember this when I'm thinking of having something I don't need.
    2345 days ago
    Great synopsis of the "it's ok to do things that aren't good for me" by saying "I deserve it.!" Thank you for this observation. I am guilty of getting things that are expensive or not in the budget, and then wonder why I am always stretching to get bills paid, and why my savings keeps shrinking. Seems like the way do anything is the way we do everything. My habits that got me fat, got me in other situations, too.

    The good news is that I am aware, and I am changing. With one change, many things shift. Thanks again! emoticon
    2345 days ago
    Yup, I'm guilty of hitting the deserve button too many times.
    2345 days ago
    I'm still working on getting over this way of thinking. But to be honest lately it's not been going so well. It's I've been having a tough time I deserve (insert usually something with ice cream). Thanks for posting this. Helps see what I'm doing.
    2346 days ago
    Well heck ... I needed to read this in the worst way. Thanks for being a voice of reason.
    2347 days ago
    I used to think the same things. I was so good on my diet today, I deserve a donut, etc...I no longer think that way. It is too tempting & dangerous!...Keep up the great work!
    2347 days ago
    Great blog! emoticon emoticon
    2347 days ago
    My husband says We deserve dinner out EVERY single freaking Saturday, because he gets bored and wants to get out. I usually play golf with the girls on Saturday (we're retired) and he helps with laundry that day (some things I treasure!!) It's not often I can talk him out of it, and when I can't I try to minimize the damage. There are only so many places in a small town that you can go, and I get so bloody tired of "sport bar type sandwiches" I could scream.... the menus are all so hauntingly similar. I'd rather stay home and have something I cooked that I know what's in it. Now expensive jewelry is something else. He never says WE deserve that every Saturday! Ha!
    2347 days ago
    Boy, how many of us have said that to ourselves?!!
    2347 days ago
    Really great blog! My favorite line is: Deserving is code for "I know better" and "I should not, but I will." VERY TRUE and touched home.

    2347 days ago
  • ASHL_84
    Great! I'm a product of the instant gratification generation so I tend to feel like I deserve a lot of rewards. If I ever had an immense disposable income I'd be in big trouble!
    2347 days ago
    Awesome blog! We deserve to be free from unhealthy eating habits. We deserve to feel fit and healthy! We deserve to feel good about ourselves!
    2347 days ago
    I totally agree, we justify too many things because we think we deserve them, but we need to learn what is really best. Is it saving money and losing weight that we deserve the most for our hard work, yes! It's like I read in the Spark, you can reward yourself, just don't do it with food and it doesn't even have to be pricey.
    2348 days ago
    Jenn - you are SO right. And what a great time to remember this. At a time of the year when we all tend to let this happen to us...

    "Let this happen"... hmmm.... passive reaction when we need to be actively choosing to make good choices.


    Great post!
    2348 days ago
    You definitely deserved this "popular blog post" award! You reminded us what our real needs are and when the word "deserve" can be used as a great excuse. Thank you for the insight. And for the friend add!
    emoticon emoticon emoticon
    2348 days ago
    Great reminder for me.

    Thank you
    2348 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    2348 days ago
  • ADDICT74

    "You deserve a healthy BMI . . . "
    thank you for this reminder. your post not only resonated with me but pushed me to write that line down for myself, tape it to my mirror and write it in my journal so that I don't just see it, I believe it . . .
    I hope you'll go back and read this post to yourself any time you feel like that 'fat tongue' is speakin' too loudly.

    Blessings to us all in our journey,
    --Jenn emoticon
    2348 days ago
    Sheepishly raising hand, and copping to the latter. Do ya think saying I deserve to live a longer, healthier life would make raw broccoli more palatable? Hmmmm, worth a try...or I could roast the broccoli, and still say I deserve that better life thing.

    Once again, a great, thought-provoking blog.
    2348 days ago
    2348 days ago
    I did this to myself today by working out three times this week and "rewarding" myself with pizza tonight. This reward made me feel bloated and icky and guilty that I put in all that hard work and basically wasted my efforts on a moment of indulgence. I think I never fully realized that sabotaging my efforts is not a reward. Great blog and very timely in my case!
    2348 days ago
    Great Blog - it not only applies to obtaining a healthy lifestyle but to life as well.
    2348 days ago
    You deserve to be your personal best! Thanks for a great blog.
    2348 days ago
    Yes you do.
    2348 days ago
    I am impressed with how far you have come. You are to be congratulated! I will choose to run far away when I think I 'deserve' something that I by no means need. Thank you for that good advice!

    I will also continue to run from HP books. Will not read them. Ever.

    Hope you continue to have great success!

    2348 days ago
    You pretty much hit the nail on the head! I'm going to try to remember this the next time co-workers want to share their holiday goodies!

    2348 days ago
    Way to go! I need to start thinking like this too!
    2348 days ago
    Wow, excellent points all around. I deserve to be healthy.
    2348 days ago
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