Undeserving of Love?

You ever hear God talking to you? He was shouting emphatically yesterday, in the way I hear Him, through others and in concepts.

First, on the afternoon Twitch streams, I was confronted on feeling undeserving of things, of love. The mean streamers told me they were going to send me creative encouragements, not because I earned them, but because they wanted to. They said that the idea that I don’t deserve nice things is false, and it made me really uncomfortable. After that, I went to do my recovery work. This week’s lesson was writing out my “grievance stories,” impactful things in my life, how they made me feel, and the thoughts about myself I took away from them. I didn’t pre-plan what I was going to write, but they were overwhelmingly relational, and what I took from all of them is “I am unworthy of love–romantic, platonic, agape. I am good for entertainment value–as a punching bag, a clown, a laughingstock, or a simple diversion. I am only as good as the performative aspects I bring to friendships and relationships–sex, money, connections, tutoring, entertainment value. Love is earned, conditional, a la carte, and finite. Unworthy as I am, I need to accept any companionship that comes my way and be grateful for the opportunity, even if it’s one-sided and toxic.”

I don’t want others to feel the way I do, so I try to love them as much as I can. Meanwhile, I don’t want to let anyone get close because these things, which I’ve never sat down and thought about before, have become a truth in my life. On the other hand, I am codependent on the few people that manage to break through and get close, because love is conditional and finite and I am so scared to lose it.

“Other people deserve love, and I hope I can make them see that. Not me though. That’s been proven over and over. Love is my reward for being a good person, for seeking my blind spots, for trying to figure myself out. Love is my reward for spending a long time working really hard to learn to be selfless, find my blind spots, and give of myself to a world that is bigger than me. Love is my reward, not an entitlement. I’ve squandered entitlements most people only read about, entitlements they can’t even comprehend. I’ve squandered enough entitlements for a lifetime, so I need to earn my way in the world. That includes relationally, which has been demonstrated over and over through the years.”

That got turned on its head yesterday afternoon. I was there to cheer others’ successes, support others in their vulnerability, and make others laugh in the meantime, but for a few minutes they made it about me. I didn’t “deserve” an outpouring of love in stream chats, but I got it anyhow. It was uncomfortable, but it was powerful, and it happened at the right time in my thought processes to really make an impact.

IDK. I’ve “performed” in this community. I’ve loved and supported others. I’ve told them what I wish I’d known, said what I wish I’d heard. I’ve offered value, and received love. Yesterday felt different though.

And then I heard (or rather understood) God saying “Read everything you’ve written here, and then think about the outpouring of love from the HeartSupport community. Think about your wife who doesn’t ask anything of you in exchange for loving you, and who loves the whole you, not the sum of your parts. Understand that this is how I love you as well.” I don’t “deserve” it, but that doesn’t matter. I don’t need to earn it either. Maybe I needed a lifetime of betrayal, abandonment, insignificance, and performance-based love to realize and appreciate all that I have now. I don’t know.

Going forward, anytime someone offers me love, I’m going to start writing it down and writing down a deeply-held notion that it contradicts. I know my attitudes are unhealthy. I’d tell anyone else they’re not true. It’s time for me to start practicing that.

Y’all. I don’t like feeling my feelings. I want to feel so badly, but I’m afraid. I try to break down my walls with a hammer in one hand and a mortar trowel in the other, fixing the cracks as fast as I try to create them. It’s not a choice anymore, it’s automatic. Lately, though, my hammer is getting bigger and stronger. I don’t know what’s going to happen next. I’m scared.


Friend, I could spend literal days talking to you about how much I relate to this post.
I hear the universe screaming at me all the time. Sometimes I choose not to listen. Sometimes I don’t have a choice.
I have spent most of my life feeling like I’m not worthy of love. I can tell you that you absolutely deserve love. Everyone does. Not only do you deserve it but you need it. Love is food for the soul. I relate so much to you saying that you’re good for entertainment value or whatever else someone “needs” from you. I’ve spent so much time trying to be what someone else needs. That’s how I survived childhood. I was adopted at 2 years old. I was told that I was adopted at 6 years old. My father told me at 6 years old that he could not love me the way he loved his biological children. I have spent all of my adulthood trying to recover from that. It has affected every single kind of love I’ve come across in my life. I, like you, love people as hard as I can. I don’t want people to know what it feels like to be me. I also don’t want to feel what it feels like to be me. You and I deserve so much love, friend. We need it. I hope that through your therapy and recovery work you will come to see that you deserve so much more than you think you do.
I can also relate to the codependency. I experienced that in my first romantic relationship. I’m happy to be on the other side of that now thanks to therapy. And I hope for you that you will come out on the other side of it as well.
I love so very much what you said about maybe needing a lifetime of betrayal, abandonment, etc. I have been working on writing out my life story. In that process I discovered that bad examples and bad experiences can be just as valuable of good examples and good experiences. To me, this is proof that I need love. Everything I’ve been through has allowed me to love others even harder. Why should that mean that I don’t deserve the same love that I give so freely?
You are incredibly inspirational and your story is so powerful. I hope that you can see just how valuable your experiences are and how needed and incredible you are. I feel so honored to be able to interact with you in this space. Words mean so much and your post really came to me when I needed it. Thank you for sharing all of this.
It is so scary to live life this way. I also have a very strong wall that I build up because I’m terrified of being hurt. But there have always been cracks in my wall that have allowed sunshine in. I hope that you can see the sunshine through the cracks in your wall. And I hope that you’ll at least replace some of those bricks with a window. Let more light in. You deserve it.


Man reading this really hit so many sore points. It’s weird how we come to a point where we fully believe our worth is the person to take out others frustrations on. It feels like it’s the only and probably the best way we can support someone.

I know in my journey my “friends” treated me like shit. It was what I was there for. It’s because “they feel safe around me”… I distinctly remember the first time I shut down one of those people. I finally had enough and this particular friend always controlled the mood. On this particular day I wasn’t allowed to be happy and enjoy my one day off in two weeks because she was in a bad mood. She was mad about something I can’t recall because who cares. Her exact words were “you’re not allowed to be happy, because I’m so fucking mad”…. That was when the lightbulb clicked on and I was like… what?? I said to her “don’t take your shitty attitude out in me, just because you’re having a bad day, doesn’t mean I’m not allowed to enjoy mine. Talk to me when you’ve snapped out of it”. It was an awkward three hour drive, but after two hours she spoke again and made a joke. I was happy to engage again, but why it made me realise is that I had been accepting the garbage people threw at me.

Jump forward and I made some new friends and completely left the old ones. These friends did random nice things because they can. They didn’t count or add up IOUs. They didn’t talk trash about each other when one wasn’t present. I was able to celebrate successes with them and learned the healthy way to share shitty days. I learned i was allowed to tell them my mental health wasn’t great and I actual felt on an equal ground when they told me if they were struggling because it really did come from a place of them trusting me.

I still struggle immensely at times thinking that they would be better without me and that I have to apologise for my existence in their lives, but the one thing I keep going back to is the fact that -

People who genuinely love you and care for you choose to do so. They don’t build up a point system with you and give you bits of love as they feel you deserve it. To them you deserve it because your presence in their life has enriched them. And not in a “this is what I have to offer” kind of way. In a way that has made them also feel loved and valued. In a way that brightens their day when they interact with you and they walk away feeling joyful you’re there.

True genuine love comes from a place that surpasses the feelings of deserving. If you imagine a small child or baby, you see the parents loving them and nurturing them. They love them. This child hasn’t “done” anything to deserve it, but you know they do. When you see a child being mistreated by their parents the thought is “that child doesn’t deserve that”.
If we applied that to our relationships, imagine how it would change. Imagine how much closer we would grow to those we love and imagine how we would speak up when people mistreat us.


Holy shit. I never thought of it like that before. Wow. You might have changed my life with that thought. Thank you.

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I had a hard day in therapy yesterday. We were talking about this theme, and he was confronting me with the reality that I didn’t get the love I needed as a child. I always thought my upbringing was good. Mom stayed home, Dad made sure we spent quality family time every evening, good schools, not a lot of conflict, etc. But I guess we can be blind to the dysfunction around us.

My mom was hot-tempered. She felt, as a stay at home mom, it was her duty to keep everything perfect. When dinner wasn’t ready when my dad got home, when the house was messy, when anything went wrong, she lost her temper, yelled, and slammed cabinets. My brother, between health and behavioral problems, was high maintenance, and usually commanded more than his share of her attention and her emotional resources. The best thing I knew to do was to stay quiet and not be a problem–to be a good kid.

I’ve always believed I was a good kid–low maintenance, easygoing, independent, trouble-free. I always wondered, then, why people didn’t like me more. Why didn’t people want to be friends with a good kid? Okay, so I was weird, I was smart, they didn’t understand me and I didn’t understand them. Into adolescence, why didn’t girls like me? That one stumped me. I didn’t think I was ugly, I was getting better at social skills, I was super successful in school (add that to my good-kid resume). Girls spewed the oft-reviled line “You’ll make a great boyfriend someday,” so it’s not like there was an objective problem with me. I figured there must have been something I was missing, probably having to do with my looks, but in any case that there was some reason I didn’t deserve love.

When I finally started dating in earnest, I carried my good-kid ethic into my relationships. I put their needs ahead of mine, tried not to rise to conflict and keep peace, and compromised myself endlessly to be the man of their dreams. One particularly cringeworthy example was after a first date, the girl said “Sorry I never texted you back. I really liked you, but didn’t like your beard and glasses, but I want to give you another chance.” So for the second date, I put in contacts and shaved. There was no third date, and I think she was just toying with me.

The older I got and the more I dated, the more I “learned” that love is conditional and finite. Now that I’m married, I “know” that she loves me unconditionally and isn’t going anywhere, but I still carry the beaten-dog mentality that I need to do everything in my power to keep her happy. If she’s having a bad day or a bad week, my fear reflex kicks in. I ask if it’s anything I’ve done. When the answer is “No,” I don’t believe it, and keep checking in until she says the persistent asking is annoying her. Then start asking what I can do to make her feel better. When the answer is “Quit smothering me,” I start doing chores like my life depends on it, make her dessert, get her flowers, and do my best to demonstrate love without bothering her. All I want is for her to feel better and to not be frustrated with me. I have always thought it was my role as a good husband, but yesterday my therapist guided me toward realizing I’m trying to earn her love in a sense of panic.

This mentality has governed how I’ve related with people my whole life. I feel like I’ve been buried under a pile of sandbags. Realizing that my perceived altruism and selflessness is a people-pleasing tendency stemming from a fear reflex, rooted in a past of staying out of my mom’s way so she could handle my brother and keep the house perfect, was a lot to absorb in about a 20 minute stretch. I don’t know how to process it, so I’m starting here, organizing my thoughts. Hopefully time will make it better. My therapist called it a breakthrough and says we’ll continue working on it next week. First time I’ve heard a therapist say I’ve had a breakthrough. It’s everything I’ve ever wanted in therapy–that movie thing where they uncover your childhood trauma to figure out why you’re a screwed up adult. I just didn’t count on it happening to me since I had a “good” childhood, and I certainly didn’t count on what a gut punch it would be.


Thank you for writing this.
As somebody working on my childhood issues, this is much food for thought.

Im sure you feel relieved and hope you achieve clarity, understanding, acceptance, solutions and happiness.
Congrats on the breakthrough too…thats simply fantastic!