The Well-Deserved Break
The semester was over and it was time for a long awaited break. We wanted to participate in an angel tree, and we talked to the kids about getting less Christmas so we could help provide Christmas for others. We worked hard to stay somewhat within budget and I agreed to work extra so that we could make this happen.
That’s right. I agreed.
I didn’t fight it. In fact, I am the one who suggested that I work extra.
Then something shifted. An idea started to creep in over Christmas break. I don’t know if it is because everyone is buying things at that time of year and there is a rush to get gifts, but I started telling myself that I deserved this or that. First it was earrings (which were pretty cool and you should check them out here). Then it was getting my hair trimmed (and this girl is pretty awesome too!).
After the New Year, I started feeling in a slump. I was pretty frustrated that I worked all Christmas break and I didn’t have anything special happen for me. I was throwing myself a wonderful pity party and didn’t care too much how it came across.
Trying to remind myself of all of the blessings I got (time, kids were super excited on Christmas, earrings, a haircut, hanging out with friends and family) didn’t pull me out of my slump.
Why Wasn’t It Enough?
I had gotten these things for me. Why wasn’t it enough? I sound pretty selfish, but I felt that my whole Christmas break was for others and nothing was really for me.
I plopped down on my bed and started thinking again about the earrings and the haircut…why are those sometimes enough and other times not? I looked up at this beautiful full-length mirror my husband had gotten me for our anniversary. I LOVED it, but I didn’t feel the same way about the earrings and haircut. What was the difference?
It is because I felt that I deserved them. I took the specialness of the gift out of it and instead made it about pride. I felt I deserved something, and after getting it, the feeling of joy and happiness was fleeting. But when I look at the mirror I still feel happiness and joy.
Wanting vs Deserving
Intention and the spirit with which you do things is more important than the gift you give or receive. It can be met with joy and happiness or emptiness and greed. The difference between wanting something and feeling that you deserve something may not be a far jump, and I think it is easy to go between them both.
I think the cycle of pride can be so toxic because as we desire things, and begin to feel that we deserve things. We work to get those things and sometimes, will even cut corners to get what we feel we deserve. However, once we have what we are looking for, it doesn’t fill our cups, and we seek for more and more, all the while turning more inward and not looking out for others.
The difference might be slight, to go from wanting something to deserving something, but I believe it makes a huge difference in our joy and happiness.