Deserve v. Worthy

photo by Annette Pedrosian

[In this series we examine the importance of the words we use and how changing our vocabulary can change our mind giving us opportunity for transformation. More articles can be found in this series @ Tools:Words]

“I don’t deserve better…”

One of the phrases I hear frequently from clients is “I don’t deserve…” This phrase comes is all shapes and forms.

  • I haven’t done enough in the past to heal. I don’t deserve to get better now.
  • I have screwed up so many times. I don’t deserve God’s love.
  • I have so much in my life compared to others. I don’t deserve to more.
  • I have had success in the past and squandered it. I don’t deserve to have success now.

When we are in the mindset of “don’t deserve” it is very difficult for us to experience transformation and healing. There are a number of reasons for this, but mostly it comes down to the fact that when we don’t feel we deserve to heal then we are not going to put the effort or take the steps necessary for transformation. If we don’t do the work we are unlikely to heal.

Whenever I encounter a client who doesn’t believe they deserve something I like to draw a contrast between the words deserve and worthy. In my mind deserve means to earn something while worthy means being made for something. Here is an example to make it clearer.

I work with a number of clients in a spiritual context. Very often my clients feel they “do not deserve God’s love”. They believe they are not good enough, they have made too many wrong choices, or that it is just too late for them.

By using the phrase “I don’t deserve God’s love” they are saying (most time without thinking about it) that God’s love is something they must earned. The only way that God will love them is if they live a certain way, make certain choices, or achieve certain goals. If they are incapable of living in this way then God is not going to love them.

When I encounter this I encourage my clients to reframe this understanding to they are “worthy of God’s love”. God’s love is no longer a prize or a reward, but instead something that we are made for. God’s love is an intrinsic characteristic of who we are. This simple shift moves us from earning God’s love to giving ourselves permission to allow God’s ever present love into our life.

A sample tapping patter for this might look like:

Right now I am having a very hard time…I am struggling…but I choose to know that God loves me no matter what…His love is unconditional…There is nothing I can do to earn his love…Or lose his love…there are times like right now when I don’t believe I deserve God’s love…There are times when I beat myself up because I am letting God down…I choose to know that God wants nothing more than my healing to happen…God wants me to see myself with the same love that he has for me…I give myself permission to know God still loves me…I give myself permission to believe I deserve God’s love, even when I have a hard time loving myself…

This same approach can be used when we are working with issues of healing, weight release, success, and abundance just to name a few. We are made for health, well-being, and success. It is our intrinsic nature. When we are able to accept this fact we eliminate many of the self sabotaging behaviors because we are no longer fighting part of our self that don’t believe it is something we deserve.

If you hear yourself saying or thinking “I don’t deserve X…” tap on the phrase “I am worthy of X and I give myself permission to allow X into my life.”

Click here to read what others have to say or add your own thoughts and comments. I would really love to hear what you thing!

Stop Self Sabotage NOW!

The biggest obstacle to our success is ourselves. We know what we want and often we know exactly what action we need to take… but we remain stuck. Here is an easy way to use tapping to stop self-sabotage now!


  1. Kevin says

    Great distinction between deserving and worthy.
    Got a big Ah Hah out of reading this.
    Thanks for writing this.

  2. says

    Thanks for a wonderful article. I am like the previous comment that stated they had an AHA moment. I thought I fully understood the difference in these two but, my understanding has been enlightened and will help me greatly in a issue I have been dealing with…very grateful! ;o)

  3. Annie says

    WOW! Thanks for that distinction. I totally needed that. It seems so simple, and yet something I have always struggled with. This put it in perfect perspective. Thank you.

  4. Mandy says

    ditto…sometimes it is just the way things are said that click..everyone is an individual and to make it click, sometimes it just takes a different perspective or a different phrase…awesome, thankyou very much :-)

  5. Andy says

    This worthy / deserving distinction is really unhelpful. I think in some ways it is trickier to deal with feeling unworthy than undeserving. Undeserving is about what you have done, unworthy is about what you are (different logical levels if I can drop into NLPspeak).

    In the God’s love example you gave, you can make the point that God can love and value anyone in whatever way he wants – the divine prerogative. If you are dealing with someone who feels unworthy in a secular context – as something they learned in childhood from neglectful / abusive parents then I think undoing unworthiness is a profound work but takes some effort.

    As always, a great and thought provoking post.

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