I’m often perplexed when, to comfort someone else, friends suggest to do something “because you deserve it” or reassure them that “good things are coming your way, you deserve it!”. I understand in situations where someone gets to make choices for us where deserving may come into play. Apparently when Apple was taking off, Steve Wozniak felt that the programmers who had been there deserved more money so he gave them a share of his stock options. He looked at the reward system in place, sacrificed some of his personal property in order to compensate people he felt were entitled to more. I understand this.
When someone encourages us to buy an expensive new coat saying “you deserve it!” what does this mean? We all have finite funds to make purchasing decisions with, so what is it that could possibly entitle us to the coat? We can either afford it or we can’t, right? Is it just saying “You’ve had a rough time recently, so you should increase the proportion of your entertainment spending to make yourself feel better”?
With random events, this is even more perplexing. I’m always hearing women say they’re holding out for a first rate man “because I deserve it”. What does this mean? I usually move on to greener pastures at this point since, as Mike’s wife assures me, I’m at best a third or fourth rate man ;-).
The only explanation I can make for this is that people feel like God or karma is going to “compensate” them for their good deeds or recent suffering. I’ve heard people who aren’t religious or spiritual make the same assurances and I can never quite figure it out. Unless there’s an all-powerful Woz to reward us for our life choices, where does this expectation come from?
If you’re not religious or spiritual, and you feel like people “deserve” things, where does this belief come from? Are you surprised when people don’t get what they “deserve”?
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