Entitlement is a disease. A disease that’s not easy to identify and cure. It often starts with false ideas about oneself. It’s when we tell ourselves that we “deserve” or “have the right to do” something because we think the world revolves around us. It’s the epitome of the “Me! Me! Me!” attitude.
Entitlement can blind your vision and cloud your judgement. So you end up putting yourself on a pedestal, all the time.
But, what does entitlement look like? Let’s take a look at some familiar examples to understand it better.
❒ When a bratty child in the supermarket cries out loud to make her parents buy her a toy, all she’s trying to convey through those drops of tears is, “I’m the youngest member in the family. I deserve all the pampering. So better give me what I’m asking for.”
❒ When you expect your partner to constantly meet your expectations because you think you’ve been a dutiful partner, and that you deserve their attention all the time.
❒ When your manager loads you with a lot of work with tight deadlines because they think you don’t have a choice but to listen to them.
❒ When you’re absolutely sure that the girl or the guy you’re going to ask out will say “yes” because you think you’ve been good friends with them for some time, and they can’t reject you.
❒ When you expect God to fulfil all your wishes because you’ve been performing some daily rituals on a regular basis.
❒ When you constantly cancel plans with a friend because you’re sure that this friend will stick by you no matter what.
These are some subtle signs of entitlement that we often overlook. That’s why making sense of it is so difficult. It’s necessary to be aware of the root of this toxic attitude to understand it better. It emerges from ones’ ego.
In any given situation, ego rushes to the end, rationalizes that patience is for losers, and assumes you’re good enough to experience what you think you deserve. It makes you look at your actions and behaviour through rose-tinted glasses. This in turn makes the other person feel guilty of a crime they’ve never committed, leading to accusations and chaos.
Personally, I’ve had my share of experiences that have lured me into the “entitlement trap”. Every time someone does something that disappoints me, I immediately start to
– focus on my good behaviours
– think of what I’d have done if I were in their position
– burden the other person with unreasonable expectations
All this without actually trying to understand what makes them behave a certain way. I try to wrap my blindspots with my own sense of self-worth. The end result is disharmony. This is exactly why it’s important to become aware of our own sense of entitlement.
While dealing with stressful situations, be it in a relationship or at work, it’s essential to calm ourselves down, and try to understand the other person. This can happen only through open communication.
But here’s the catch: sometimes people are not willing to open up and that’s perfectly alright.
Once bitten, twice shy.
They often carry their past experiences with them into every decision they make, including their decision to open up with others. That’s why it’s necessary to give them some space to think and reflect.
Some of you might argue that in a passionate relationship, such reflection is impossible. Fair enough. But let me reveal something to you – Passion typically masks a weakness. Its impetuousness and franticness are poor substitutes for discipline, meaning, and purpose.
We could save nerve-racking situations if we avoid playing God by putting ourselves on a pedestal all the time. It’s good progress if we could slow down, park those irrational thoughts aside, and try to walk on the other person’s shoes, without any preconceived notion.
Though this is an effective way to become aware of our sense of entitlement, it’s not an easy first step. Impatience, the urge to get a quick closure to a given situation, and the past experiences we carry can spoil it for us. That’s why it’s key to remind ourselves that we cannot change the past. Everyone experiences hardships and difficulties. They are unfortunate but guaranteed parts of life. However, the way we handle these challenges is what either makes or breaks us, determining who we are as individuals.
Entitlement is for losers.