During one of the lowest points in my adult life, I was hospitalized for depression for over two weeks. It was a painful experience in many ways, but I also learned things that have helped me to not get disabled by depression again. One of the most useful things I learned was that it's important to recognize our attitude, and to look at whether our attitude fits the situation or not. And if not, to look at what attitude would fit.
The example my therapist used was traffic lights. Some people go through life focusing on the red lights, he said; they get upset by unexpected, and seemingly undeserved, bad luck (red lights), and don't get happy about the equally undeserved good luck (green lights) they get. He said people who tend to get upset by the red lights in life were more likely to get majorly depressed than people who tend to "woo hoo" the green lights.
I saw his point. It doesn't actually make sense to get upset by bad luck, although it's a natural reaction for a lot of us. It's just as logical (or illogical) to celebrate good luck, even though celebrating it doesn't
come naturally — BUT it can be learned.
Since then, I've worked to practice noticing and celebrating good luck, and writing off bad luck for what it is: something bad, beyond my control, which happened. It's amazing how much better it feels to focus on, accept, and celebrate the good things than it does to get high blood pressure over the bad things.
So, to FINALLY answer your question: No — I don't feel like I deserve to be happy. I don't feel like I deserve to be un
happy. I don't feel like I deserve the good OR the bad luck I get. As Will Munny said to Little Bill in Unforgiven
, "Deserve's got nothin' to do with it."
And yeah, I used to undermine myself. I used to believe that I was obligated to live up to certain standards. First, they were my parents' standards. Then my friends', teachers' and coaches' standards. Then, when I started having relationships, they became my partners' standards. When I tried to look at myself through their eyes, I never figured that I fully met expectations. And I figured that if there was a Higher Power, I didn't met that standard, either.
So, when something bad happened to me, I figured I deserved it. When something good happened, I believed I didn't
deserve it. And I guess I wanted the world to be fair, so I tried to sabotage whatever good fortune it was. Like, when I finally had a great relationship with a girl, I cheated on her the first chance I got. And I "confessed" it to her. And our relationship was ruined.
Now, I don't worry about standards. I figure I'm just the way I'm supposed to be. I'm just the way Nature (or the Higher Power of the faith of your choice) made me. When something bad happens, I try to just say "fuck it" and get on with what I'm doing. I know I didn't deserve it. When something good happens, I make sure to notice it and celebrate it. I didn't deserve it, either, and it's awesome. Like winning the lottery. It still doesn't come 100% naturally to do that, but it's easier than it used to be. And I don't feel any need to undermine myself anymore. I like green lights. And I feel a LOT better. About everything.