Everything must be earned. No one ever gets things just because. You have to do something to deserve it.
I’ve lived by that principle my entire life. I didn’t take things I didn’t feel I deserved. If I hadn’t earned it, I didn’t take it. I even went so far as to force myself to not want the things I hadn’t earned. Everything from new clothes for school and Christmas presents to prom was observed and scrutinized. Did I really deserve that new game? Could I get away with refusing it if I didn’t?
The major flaw with that logic, that particular way of thinking was that I never applied it to reprimands from other people. If I was being scolded, I likely deserved it and tried my hardest to take it to heart. Only when I was too filled with guilt and remorse did I stop listening to scoldings and that was only because there was no need to listen to someone tell me that I was fucked up when I already knew it. But every reprimand, every criticism was taken in and absorbed. Why?
Because, if I was being scolded by someone, it was because they knew better than me and were trying to help me be better. I’ve only recently (in the past 2-3 years) learned that this is not true. People criticize and scold and reprimand sometimes out of fear or anger. They don’t necessarily know what’s best and, quite often, they don’t have any intention of making me a better person. If anything, they’re causing a ruckus because things aren’t going the way they planned and want you to bend over backwards to make their lives easier.
The worst part of that logic, for me, is that, at this point, I bend over backwards without even thinking it through. I know people are just trying to get what they want out of me. I know that people don’t necessarily know the right way of doing things when the “correct” me. But I’m so used to feeling like their criticism and harsh words are deserved and what I’ve earned, I accept it.
And here’s the kicker.
I still feel like I have to earn love. I still feel like any kindness done to me without my earning it is wrong. But I feel like the rest of humanity deserves these things without having to earn them. I don’t deserve happiness, but it is an inherent right of humanity.
I’m so contradictory sometimes that I don’t know if I’ll ever piece myself together properly.