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Deserve? or Don’t Deserve?

/ / Sass Savvy & Success

After you’ve been online for a while, you’ve heard all about ‘limiting beliefs’ and ‘what are your fears’ and ‘is it the thought of success or failure holding you back’.

Keeper Of The Bees

I collect old books, and I’m currently reading The Keeper Of The Bees by Gene Stratton-Porter, written about 1925.

In a nutshell (partial spoiler alert), it’s the story of an American soldier (Jamie) who returns home from WW1 seriously wounded, and cast adrift as both his parents died while he was away and their life sold up without his knowledge. Halfway through the book, he inherits a small piece of land from a benefactor he barely got to know… co-inherits actually as half the parcel goes to a child who was ‘partner’ to the elderly benefactor.

Things don’t happen that way in real life

Jamie is stunned by the generosity and very reluctant to accept it. “Why, I haven’t done anything to earn it,” said Jamie. “All I’ve done here is a drop in the bucket compared with the value of an acre of land down that slope, planted as it is, peopled with the bees. […] It’s too easy! It’s a fairytale! It’s a dream! Things don’t happen that way in real life.”

His co-inheritor, the child, responds with the simplicity and honesty and insight that possibly only a child could have: “Look here! Maybe you think the bandages you’re wearing don’t show through the shirt on your back; but when you stoop over they do. You’re pretty game about it and you don’t bellyache, but of course you wouldn’t be all harnessed up like that if you didn’t have to be. And that means that wrong things and things that hurt you and hit you awful hard came your way, and it was for all of us, for ‘Our country ‘tis of thee’. But you bucked up and you stood your hurts, and you didn’t complain, and you pulled through ‘em. And you just know, all by yourself, that ugly things, and mean things, and maybe things you didn’t deserve at all happened to you. Now, why ain’t that just the same as if something that was wonderful and lovely happened to you? Why couldn’t a beautiful thing happen to you just as well a bad thing? Why couldn’t gettin’ an acre of land with beehives and flowers happen to you just as well as gettin’ a rip-snorter that nearly tore your heart out? Laugh that off, will you?”

Questions and doubts

I read this passage several times when I came to it. It is so true. When life throws us a curve ball, most people roll with it, accept it as “life”. Yet when the big win (or the potential of it) happens, we question it, doubt our suitability or our worthiness.

Why is that?

This going to be a really short article as I have theories galore, I can Psychology 101 all over the question, but I’m more interested in whether you identify with these concepts… have you witnessed this “I haven’t done anything to earn it” in yourself or others? “I haven’t done anything to earn it” when it’s a windfall but never asking the same question when the storm hits.

Your turn…

Comments, please!

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Darla M. Sands
1 year ago

This year has presented many obstacles, but I look at my blessed life and know there is good to be found in every day. Seems like an excellent book I’ve heard about but never read. Be well!

1 year ago

The excerpts from the book are very powerful words. I often believe messages and words come to us when we need them the most. I especially like the phrase, “…just the same as if something that was wonderful and lovely happened to you.” I do believe I (we?) often do not feel worthy of the good that enters our life. Even when we have worked towards it. Gone back to school. Practised for a race. Or, even when a stranger gives us something unexpected. You remind me of what a friend in the past has said. “Just say thank you.”… Read more »

Christina Daggett
1 year ago

My husband and I have felt undeserving of good things for so long. Then one day we started The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, who says that we must learn to accept the gifts in life. It’s learning to feel confident and deserving. It’s not always easy to do, but something I am working on. Thanks for sharing, Agnes. Sharing to FB.

Patricia Doyle
1 year ago

A lovely section of the book and I could very much relate. I’ve been known to worry that I am too blessed. I haven’t had to suffer. And because I have not suffered, I think I should not I have the good things in life that I have. So yeah, I related.

Leanne |

It’s an interesting question, I don’t think I’ve had any major unearnt windfalls come my way in life so I haven’t really agonized over it. But that being said, when I chose to not look for a job after leaving work this year, I didn’t think I deserved to be able to stay home and enjoy my space and not earn my keep (after 40 years of working). It’s taken me several months to allow myself the grace to enjoy this wonderful time and space.
Thanks for linking up with us at MLSTL and I’ve shared on my SM 🙂

1 year ago

I don’t actually. If something bad comes my way, I suck it up, perhaps with a grizzle. Definitely a grizzle. But if good things happen, I figure I work hard, I’m a decent person and I try to be kind to everyone, so hang it – I’m taking the good. No questioning of worth. Life’s too short for that. Enjoy the good times!