Yellow and orange flowers
Say It Brave

We Deserve

By Nōn Wels

I deserve joy. I deserve good things. I deserve to be seen. I deserve to be healed. I deserve connection. I deserve success. I deserve to be nourished. I deserve love.

I woke up this morning to a specific thought I haven’t had in over a decade: I don’t deserve food.

These kinds of thoughts were oppressively prevalent during my 10-year battle with anorexia, a decade marked by cognitive fog, brittle hair taking death plunges from my scalp, a perpetual (and quite literal) heartache and the stegosaurus spikes that protruded from my spine.

 It was an all-consuming self-destruction. A masochism. An arduous exercise in self-hate.

 And yet, as I’ve had time to sit with this and unpack what it means, I realize it’s a frame of thinking I’m all too familiar with.

 At the core of all my struggles—from childhood through today—is this deeply entrenched belief that I don’t deserve anything.

 I don’t deserve joy. I don’t deserve good things. I don’t deserve to be seen. I don’t deserve to be healed. I don’t deserve connection. I don’t deserve success. I don’t deserve to be nourished. I don’t deserve love.

 I don’t deserve.

I don’t deserve.

I don’t deserve.

 I don’t.

I don’t.

I don’t.

It’s an old story that continues to be played in my head and heart, like the cable tv rerun of that one show you can’t recall the name of or particularly enjoy, yet you can’t turn your eyes away from the screen.

The old limiting stories are ever-present, simply playing the roles they’ve been assigned, however conscious or unconscious. I’ve written them in permanent ink, with the cavalcade of traumas and emotional wounds looming over my shoulder holding a shotgun to my head, dictating how I see myself in the world.

I’ve got to change this story. I’ve got to rewrite it.

One time, I was lucky enough to be a participant in an “On Being Human” workshop led by the magical Jen Pastiloff. Jen had asked all of us to each write down a morning prayer, something we can say to ourselves and to the universe each morning.

I wrote this: “I don’t deserve to be in pain.”

I repeat that in my head often, even when the odds are stacked in the favor of me deserving that pain.

I wonder, perhaps, if I said it aloud:

“I don’t deserve to be in pain!”

I wonder, more so, if I said it differently:

“I deserve to live without pain!”

Now try this. Say this aloud with me:

I deserve joy. I deserve good things. I deserve to be seen. I deserve to be healed. I deserve connection. I deserve success. I deserve to be nourished. I deserve love.

We can rewrite these old stories that limit the love we allow into our hearts. We’re holding a magical permanent-ink-obliterating eraser. We hold the pen that tells our stories.

We are the pen.

We deserve.


Written by

Nōn Wels

Nōn Wels is a mental health advocate, writer, doggo lover, runner, empath and feely human who resides in Southern California. In his late teens and early twenties, he nearly died from a mixture of…

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