Natalie at Baggage Reclaim mentions “what we deserve, such as love, care, trust, and respect“. Her article, “What We Deserve Isn’t The Same As What Somebody Will Do” is, as usual, helpful and encouraging.
I wonder if “deserve” is the best relationship word for describing what each of us should have, for the best good of ourselves, our families — our children, friends, and communities. Every time one of us fails to receive all we should have of love, care, trust, respect — and discipline (the will to complete a task), a foundation of security — those we depend upon, and those around us, are each left with a bit less joy in their lives than might have been.
The word “deserve” might come close to describing how much we want the basics of common, unexceptional (and gloriously joyful) nurturing for one another.
But I don’t see a richness of a relationship falling short, just because, say, the waiter forgot part of my order. That isn’t what happens.
For biological reasons, and cultural backgrounds, some people would be better mates for any particular person. Of those possibles, some have the skills and temperament, time and interest, to include someone into their lives in a mutually satisfactory sharing. Thus, the love, care, trust, respect is exchanged, and overflows onto all around the happy people.
Some cultures have refined (restrictive) notions about mating, and mere rote attendance to those strictures will avoid much cultural conflict, and sometimes ripens into real caring and affection, perhaps even into joy. Others have no notion at all — only bad examples from dysfunctional families, peers, or modern media, and thus unlikely to share anything healthy. Most people fall in between — struggling to combine images from home, from friends and their communities, often only partially understood. Many people, from whatever background, find mostly satisfactory was to share their lives, make a family, and enrich their community.
Everyone should have love, care, trust, and respect. These aspects of nurturing enrich everyone around us. But often we have to make choices — some people we have to exclude from our lives, at whatever cost is required, and with others we have to struggle to develop a consensus about what love, care, trust, and respect will mean in our lives, and in the lives of those we embrace.
If anything, what we deserve, each of us, is the chance to choose to associate with people of good character, to embrace the positive values from homes, and challenge the people and notions that aren’t nurturing us. Each of us deserves the wisdom to recognize when a potential partner makes a mistake — or exhibits a significant character flaw.
Because every hurt weakens each of us. And none of us deserve that.