Home » Sunlight » A Bit of Sunlight: Deserving

A Bit of Sunlight: Deserving

September 21st, 2010

Dear Self,

I just finished reading Eat, Pray, Love.  I am now confused as to what happened in the book or the movie or both.  Not sure.

While I was reading the book I folded corners over of pages that resonated with me.  I thought I would now reflect on those pages or comments from the end to the beginning – yes in that order.  I will see if I can finish reflecting prior to a nap.  I hope this venting of feelings will be healing in some way.

The last thing she, Elizabeth Gilbert, says that really hung on me is the concept of ‘paying back’ people who have helped us live and showed us kindness.  I always feel like I need to pay back to these people.  There is this constant pull to owe someone something.  People give me so much that I feel forever in debt to society as a whole.  EPL (Eat, Pray, Love) says that we should maybe stop trying to pay back and instead continually say thank you sincerely and honestly for as long as we have voices.  Somehow this never feels like enough to me.  I am forever feeling undeserving of people’s help.

I need to get past this part of myself that feels like I owe somebody, or everybody, something. I need to get past this part of me that always feels guilty for living. Guilty for receiving love. I’ve often told myself that my life is too good to be true so something bad is going to happen. I feel guilty all the time. I feel undeserving.

On Saturday after my sutra study class Debra, the facilitator and yoga instructor, and I were chatting. She was telling me about things her business advisor has told her. He said that in our culture people pay with money as a means to say thank you. Some cultures give food for sacrifice but in our culture it is monetary and it should be honored and respected. Spend it wisely.

She also mentioned another piece of worldly advice from her business advisor. She said that you can’t be all things to all people. While I know this I forget it or subconsciously feel that it doesn’t apply to me.  I bend myself in every direction to make everyone happy and am flooded with guilt if someone is not.

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6 thoughts on “A Bit of Sunlight: Deserving

  1. I often feel this way as well. And in a society that says thank you with money, I feel it leaves us feeling that simply saying thank you isn’t enough. Yet, when I help someone, that is certainly enough for me to hear.

  2. I love this post, Marlene. Especially this part:

    “The last thing she, Elizabeth Gilbert, says that really hung on me is the concept of ‘paying back’ people who have helped us live and showed us kindness. I always feel like I need to pay back to these people. There is this constant pull to owe someone something. People give me so much that I feel forever in debt to society as a whole. EPL (Eat, Pray, Love) says that we should maybe stop trying to pay back and instead continually say thank you sincerely and honestly for as long as we have voices.”

    Sincere gratitude and appreciation for what is given to us by others can often go much further than the scurrying need to “pay back”. She is so right with that. And you are so right in that it can be a very difficult attitude to adopt lol…

  3. I can relate to this post. I am trying to do more hand written thank you notes. In today’s world of email greetings and thank yous, I think it goes a long way. I’ve been trying to do it more.

    • Thank you notes is an amazing idea. It seems as though that custom has disappeared in our society. I should get on that band wagon. Everyone loves to receive snail mail even now in our fast past world, right?!

  4. I could so identify with many of the things you said here. The feeling guilty for being alive is huge! And I really want to learn to say thank you and just let that be enough. Am I not satisfied with that when I give something to someone else? If I want more, that’s my problem. Shouldn’t I see others the same way?

    • I totally agree. I can often tell by the way someone says thank you that they greatly appreciate it. The depth of their thank you is enough.

      It is a simple example but I was at the grocery store the other day and a man behind me put a 2 litre carton of milk on the cashier stand then realized he had forgot his wallet at home. I said I would buy his milk for him. He said thank you over and over again and offered to mail me the money. I could tell by his body language and tone of his words the depth of his thank you. That was enough for me.

      Yet too often we feel we need to give more don’t we. Are we a society that feels it is never enough? That we always owe someone … or someone always owes us (as I know a few people who feel the other way)?

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