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We are all entitled to something.

There is nothing wrong with expectations that we have towards psychological and safety needs (Maslow’s hierarchy of needs) when we work hard to deserve them. There are also legal entitlements from our government and legal system such as the concept of equality.

Entitlement can also be about social agreements such as treating people with respect, kindness or compassion. However, there is an important situational component which can be problematic depending on how much and when. People who have been denied any of the above entitlements and even mistreated or abused, may be understandably forceful in their claims to be treated the same as others.

 

“Entitlement is simply the believe that you deserve something. Which is great. The hard part is, you’d better make sure you deserve it.” — Mindy Kaling

 

Why Entitlement Can Be Wrong

Entitlement, by definition, is a right. If you give thought to it, you will realise that by feeling entitled, you’re forcing your authority unto others. How? By insisting that they behave in a manner that pleases you. And when they don’t, you feel hurt, frustrated and angry, even blaming others for your despair.

What happened to me was, every time someone spoke to me rudely, treated me unfairly or did multiple things that I didn’t deserve, I would feel hurt, frustrated and angry. I started to blame others because of my feeling of entitlement. I realised that at the core of entitlement is this phenomenon called demandingness, which is nothing but insisting that the world owes me my happiness.

 

“A sense of entitlement is a cancerous thought process that is void of gratitude and can be deadly to our relationship.” — Steve Maraboli

 

Ways Entitlement Reveals Itself

It’s quite easy to notice entitlement in your daily life. Simply be aware when you or others use words like “must”, “ought to”, “need to”, and the like. When you notice these words, know that a feeling of entitlement is hiding beneath somewhere, no matter how justified you think your demand is.

Let me share my own experience when you can tell you’re dealing with entitled persons. They will show the following three behaviours.

 

1. Narcissism

A sense of entitlement brings with it an uncompromising attitude. There is a lack of understanding of others’ needs and of certain social situations, accompanied by an expectation that you should be far more interested in their life than they are in yours.

Narcissism is at the very heart of this trait, the over-exaggerated sense of self-importance accompanied by illusions of power, beauty and cleverness. In terms of a concession, where one requires to meet others halfway, don’t exist in the world of the entitled. Everyone else is either competition or irrelevant.

 

“He that falls in love with himself will have no rivals.” — Benjamin Franklin

 

2. Having Double Standards

The double standards that come from a sense of entitlement can feel puzzling in a society built on mutuality. While being unreasonable to other’s requests, self-entitled persons make unrealistic demands, even unmindful that their personal happiness comes at another’s expense.

Unappreciative attitudes are most of the times directed at you after you have performed a good deed for them. You might constantly change your schedule to fit their appointments, but they never offer to return the favour, even when you really need it. The self-entitled often seem insensible to the inconvenience they have caused you.

 

“It is not fair to ask others what you are not willing to do yourself.” — Eleanor Roosevelt

 

3. Expecting Privilege

A sense of power resides in the self-entitled. They have the intention to start from the top of the ladder, without the typical bottom-up approach that most others take. They overrate their own achievements whilst simultaneously underrating yours, creating in their head ‘justification’ for their expectation of privilege.

It’s this sense of entitlement that will eventually harm themselves. Eventually, we distance ourselves from such people to limit the damage of their actions upon us. This type of behaviour would appear to be driven by an unrealistic view of the world, one that includes the assumptions of favourable living conditions and treatments.

 

“Privilege is not knowing that you’re hurting others and not listening when they tell you.” — Dashanne Stokes

 

Accept And Unfold

When you accept reality the way it is, you begin to view others as well as situations in an objective manner. You then begin to understand that while it’s wonderful to receive love and respect but demanding the same only puts you in the corner.

Acceptance is smarter and wiser. You do whatever is in your control and let go, allowing the world to unfold the way it has to because you know it will, regardless of your demands that it does otherwise.

In fact, we are entitled to nothing. Those who realise this truth lose all need to control and demandingness, or insist that the reality be any different than what it is. Such people have traded their entitlement for gratitude — a clever choice, I’d say.

 

  • Do you feel entitled to anything from anyone?
  • Where does your sense of entitlement come from?
  • Has your feeling of entitlement ever backfired?

 

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