For whatever reason, some memories get etched deeply into your mind, making up a sort of highlight reel of seemingly irrelevant moments. For me, one of those memories happened on the soccer field when I was 10 years old. I had just come off, desperate for a drink, when I decided to kick my water bottle away. I hadn’t played well enough to earn a drink of water. I needed to work harder if I was going to deserve basic sustenance.
That memory has always haunted me. It pointed out just how inherently undeserving I thought I was. How just being myself wasn’t good enough for something as simple as water. How I’d have to work hard, be impressive, and earn things like love, attention, money, and friendship. Because who I was on my own just wasn’t enough.
Now I’ve heard these same words spoken in my office enough times to know that I’m not the only one who struggled to feel good enough to deserve basic nourishment. So many of us struggle to allow love, money, success, or happiness into our lives because we feel like we’re not good enough.
For anyone struggling to feel deserving of what you really want, these five tips are for you:
1. Make a commitment to yourself.
Every major life change starts with a simple commitment to yourself to stay on track, even when the path gets rocky. Decide to let yourself feel deserving of everything you want in life, and write that down on a piece of people to hang in your bedroom. Every morning, when you’re questioning whether to ask that cute co-worker out, or pitch yourself to the media, or raise your rates, you’ll see that commitment and remember to let yourself deserve it.
2. Practice receiving unconditionally.
We’ve all heard about giving unconditionally, but nobody talks about receiving unconditionally. The second we are paid a compliment, we feel like we have to give one in return. Instead of feeling like you need to even the score every time someone gives you an unsolicited gift or compliment, just take it for what it is and feel grateful that you’ve surrounded yourself with amazing people whom you deserve. Besides, it will make that unconditional giving a lot easier next time.
3. Make a list of why you’re deserving.
At the end of the day, you’re deserving because you’re alive. But that doesn’t do much to satisfy our doubting minds. So make a list of every reason why you deserve your ideal relationship, or your dream job, or tons of money to come your way. Convince yourself that you really do deserve everything that you want, and then you’ll have a lot easier time convincing the world that it’s true.
4. Indulge a little bit.
Celebrate any mini victories with over-the-top indulgences. If you get a new client, maybe you take yourself out for (dairy-free?) ice cream. If you had a great day, maybe treat yourself to that movie you’ve been dying to see. And, if you’ve been working really hard, maybe you take an afternoon off just to reward yourself.
When you celebrate yourself, even in small ways, you remind yourself that you are doing amazing stuff and really deserve everything you’re getting.
5. Ask for support.
Let’s face it — we’re not the best at seeing ourselves clearly. So ask those around you whom you know and trust for help. In my experience, our most intimate relationships are amazing testing grounds where we can experiment on our toughest issues, and then bring those solutions out to the world at large. So the first step to allowing yourself to deserve and receive is to let the people who want to support you actually help you out.
From money troubles to relationships woes, we shoot ourselves in the foot so often because we’re afraid that we don’t actually deserve what’s coming to us. But we all deserve everything that we want in life, and most of it is within our reach. We just have to let ourselves receive it. Besides, if you don’t become all you’re meant to be, this world will really be missing out on what you have to offer. And that’s a damn a shame.