Thought Catalog

What You Deserve

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You deserve to look in the mirror every morning and see someone that, though not perfect, isn’t trying to be. You deserve to walk past the billboards and commercials that show staged-and-Photoshopped images of what and who you are supposed to be and laugh at them, secure in the knowledge that you are wonderful because you are real. You could imagine that the models themselves must be so much greater in person when not reduced to a pose and a cheesy tagline — maybe they are at their most beautiful when just stepping out of the shower, hair still wet, and excited to go eat a good breakfast — but you don’t compare yourself to them. You deserve to love your body simply because it is yours, and it is capable of so much.

You deserve to look past whatever is displayed on the outside, whatever code lingers on your skin to be read by society and neatly organized into some compartment about who you “are” — fat, thin, ugly, tall, awkward — and be even more in love with what exists within you. Of course you may have moments in which you regret past mistakes, or dislike a character flaw that you know you need to work on, or feel the rope of maturity tugging at your ankle saying “Come on, catch up,” but it doesn’t define you. You deserve to appreciate all of the wonderful qualities you bring to the table, instead of relentlessly harping on yourself for the categories in which you fall just a tiny bit short.

You deserve to look for love, if that’s what you want, and be ready to accept it when it comes your way. You might find yourself overwhelmed and even briefly in disbelief when you realize that someone actually loves you for who you are and wants nothing more than to be with you, but you should be able to embrace that unconditional caring with your own. You should wrap your arms around them and cover them with your whole body — flesh, bone, the ugly little cracks and scars that they can’t stop kissing — and know that you are a good person, who is worthy of such joy. You deserve not to question every person who gives you a compliment or tells you that you’re wonderful, not to wonder if they have some ulterior motive, or if you are somehow the victim of an elaborate prank. You should realize that you are worth loving because you are ready to love back.

You deserve to go through your day and take in the good parts, breathe in the good air and appreciate the little things that too often go unnoticed. You should know that a strong flower growing in a city sidewalk, a child laughing and blowing bubbles, or strangers that smile at one another and mean it are all things worth loving, and which make your day a net positive. You deserve to live your life for the joys and not the frustrating slights that are out of your control — to be able to say that, because you held the door open for an older man with too many bags on his arms, your afternoon was good. Though the profound effect these tiny moments of happiness can have on all of us are often lost in the shuffle of life and its myriad injustices, you deserve to look at them and see them for the victories of compassion and simplicity that they are.

You deserve to try, and give it your all, but be okay if you fail. You deserve not to spend so much of your life berating yourself for not having been “good enough,” especially when you’re not even sure what “good enough” might entail. Your job might be strenuous, your classes impossible, but you deserve to be able to do your best work and, at the end of the day, put your pen down and sleep well. You deserve to have a personal best that is good enough for you, to not constantly feel as though you’re outrunning yourself with expectations, to the point of sapping the joy out of a hard day’s work.

You deserve to be truly happy for others. You deserve a life that is filled with its own successes and triumphs, that is carved out in the image you desire, and that is not effected by the perceived victories of others. Sometimes others may get things that we wanted for ourselves, but you deserve to be confident enough with your own life and journey that someone else’s achievement is not directly detrimental to your own desires. You deserve to see success not as some finite pie from which we must all take exactly one slice, but rather a constantly evolving and growing garden in which we can all flower and reach the sunlight.

Perhaps most of all, though, you deserve to be okay. You deserve to know that a day in which you can just barely get out of bed because you are sad, or sick, or simply not ready to see the outside is not the end of the world. You deserve to know that moments of weakness do not make you fundamentally weak, only fundamentally human, and that sometimes we’re not going to be effusively happy, and that is okay. You deserve to be happy just existing and not constantly holding yourself up to a standard of fake smiles and forced cheerfulness. You deserve to not beat yourself up when you do not reach perfect acceptance of your body, your personality, the love you receive, or anything else that may come your way. Though you should know that you are worthy of these things, learning to be happy just in a kind of stasis with yourself is a long process, and you should know that we are all working on it. You deserve to live through all of your emotions, all of your states of motivation, and know that as long as you are treating everyone with kindness (including yourself), you have nothing to be ashamed of. TC mark


image – Mehul Antani

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      A beautiful piece, thank you!

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      And I would give you all that and more you little vixen. But this is something we can’t bestow to you. You have to find it on yur own.

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    • NYfrog

      This is beautiful! Everyone should read this at the beginning of everyday.

    • Priyanka

      This is such a killer article..its like i want to print it and keep it in a book and keep reading it again and again , its so beautiful and so true!!

    • Michael Koh

      great work!

    • Tiffany

      loved it, thank you (:

    • Ella

      As beautiful as this is, I feel like I should answer ‘why?’ to all of this. Why do I deserve it?

      • Doug Hart

        Why not?

        • Ella

          Because I haven’t done anything to deserve it.

      • Doug Hart

        OK if you want e mail me at I am not sure what your point is. I get that we are not automatically entitled. And then what? Go panhandle and live under a bridge


      Nicely said.

      • Doug Hart

        It’s a matter of perspective Ella.

        • Ella

          How so?

        • Doug Hart

          Maybe every one can see how deserving you are but you. The foundation of feeling good about yourself isn’t quid pro quo. Feel some entitlement now and use the good you know you will provide for others later as collateral to withdraw from the feel good account now.

        • Ella

          No, I promise, I’ve definitely done nothing to deserve any of this. That was my original point – that, in fact, not everyone deserves this automatically. No one is inherently entitled to this great life detailed in the above article. As beautiful as it sounds, it’s not a reality for everyone.

        • Doug Hart

          Ella. Read closer. She is not saying that they deserve all that. But they deserve to have enough feeling of empowerment to at least give it their best shot. I am sure you are right. You haven’t done anything to deserve the above. But you deserve the right to go out and earn it. And if you go out and earn it you deserve the right to enjoy the fruits of your labor.

        • Ella

          No, she’s definitely saying they (people) deserve all of things above things. I’ve read it plenty of times. Doubtless we shall never agree on this Doug.

    • Kovie Biakolo (@koviebiakolo)

      This is so beautiful. I love TC for pieces like this!

      • Doug Hart

        Ella. No we are not all entitled to this life by default. But we are entitled to step out of our head long enough to not limit the possibilities that are available to us. Allow yourself to turn enigma into serendipity.
        There are people that come from really horrible back grounds.
        They didn’t deserve the life they had while growing up.
        They won’t be getting any refunds.
        Why should you pay more because you don’t feel deserving.

        • Ella

          Turn enigma into serendipity? What do you mean by that, how does it apply to this situation? No, noone deserves to come from a horrible childhood, but that’s different to not feeling that you deserve all of the things in the article. They are things that should take work, time, commitment, good deeds, selflessness etc etc. I re-iterate, not everyone should be able to have everything they want for nothing in return. Myself included.

    • Anna

      “You might find yourself overwhelmed and even briefly in disbelief when you realize that someone actually loves you for who you are and wants nothing more than to be with you, but you should be able to embrace that unconditional caring with your own.”

      I think that It’s important to hold out hope and keep looking for something if it’s really important to you, but I also think that love is not promised to everyone, and that for those of us who won’t find it, we need to be able to figure out some way to still feel okay. It hurts horribly and it doesn’t end.

      • T

        I don’t think this has to be romantic love, it can be found in friends, family, and community. I feel this all the time because I’ve found friends who want nothing more than to be with me. We get each other and we are equally invested in our friendship. I’ve never felt like I could rely on others and open up to them as much as I do now, and this overwhelms me all the time.

      • Jk

        Couldn’t agre more. There’s some romantic notion floating about that everyone ends up in a loving relationship with the right person/people. And it’s just not true. People need to establish what else makes them happy.

    • Angelica

      The last paragraph – exactly what I needed to hear (read). Thank you!

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    • Danielle @ Collegiate Feminist

      This was beautiful.
      Lovely writing, lovely message.

    • Kin

      LOVED IT. this was perfect. thanks, Chelsea.

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    • Sean

      thanks for this. def needed it.

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      “you are worth loving because you are ready to love back.”

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    • fringster

      This is very inspiring, I almost cried.

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