by Dawn L. Billings, founder of RelationshipHelp.com
A sense of entitlement is a cancerous thought process
that is void of gratitude
and can be deadly to our relationships.
Unapologetically You: Reflection of Life and the Human Experience
Entitlement is a cancer that kills your joy by blinding you to the value of all you have to be grateful for. An entitled mindset succeeds at filtering out abundant data while leaving perceived scarcity and lack in bright focus. It causes you to focus on what you perceive you don’t have, leaving you unhappy, dissatisfied, and ungrateful. Therefore an entitled perspective pollutes satisfaction, and destroys any opportunity for genuine joy. As an enemy of joy, satisfaction, and delight, entitlement is a subjective and emotional reaction that justifies and, even defends, dissatisfaction.
What entitlement inveigles us to believe we deserve, actually ends up backfiring on us and destroying what we value most—relationships, hopes, dreams, compassion and tolerance of any kind. Entitlement bends our perceptions toward self-consumption, disappointment, and frustration while simultaneously smothering our feelings of tolerance, compassion and understanding.
A few of the consequences of an entitled mindset are:
Conflicted or broken relationships
Resentment and Bitterness
Anger and rage
Hopelessness and Depression
So how do we battle entitlement's wrath in our lives? Battling entitlement is one of the most worth while foes a human can battle. Some of the most important skills and efforts include fostering self-awareness, promoting empathy, and developing a more realistic and humble perspective. Here are some effective ways to address and overcome entitlement: Cultivate Self-Awareness: With all of your learning, learn about YOU. Take a personality test. Learn to understand why you do and say the things you do and say. Learn about your strengths and how to enhance them and especially, learn about where you are weak so that you can strengthen your abilities, skills and emotional intelligence. Reflect on your attitudes, behaviors, and expectations. Developing self-awareness allows individuals to recognize entitlement tendencies and understand how these attitudes may impact themselves and others.
Build and Strengthen Your Empathy: Learn to consider the perspectives, feelings, and needs of others. When you work toward empathetic understanding it will work toward counteracting and entitled, self-centered attitudes that might damage your relationships. Allow yourself to imagine what life might be like if you were walking in the shoes of another. What are their personality color tendencies? How do they view the world? How does understanding more about them, aid you in developing a stronger, deeper and richer relationship with them? When you show empathy toward another, the chances increase greatly that they will show empathy to you as well.
Practice Gratitude Daily: Your daily practice of gratitude is an amazing way to shift your focus from an entitled perspective to appreciation. Appreciation has enormous physical and psychological benefits and is our greatest weapon against the wrath of entitlement. When you regularly express thanks for positive aspects of your life, you remind yourself of the many gifts that you might routinely take for granted like breathing, watching a sunset, wrapping your arms around a loved one, seeing the light in the eyes of a child. Remember the things we have to be grateful for fosters a sense of contentment and reduces the desire for more, always more.
Set Realistic Expectations: Set realistic and achievable expectations for yourself. Set yourself up to win by adding up your small victories. Set realistic and achievable goals for the one's you love as well. When our expectations are unmet, entitlement tells us that we have been cheated in some way. Don't listen. When you experience an unmet expectation, examine it. Take it apart. Find where you might have been feeling entitled. Do all you can to help those around you succeed at loving you. Remember that no matter how good the plan, not everything will fall in line. Setbacks and challenges are a normal part of life, and in fact, they are necessary to build our resilience and personal fortitude. Use every circumstance as fertilizer for your future growth.
Foster a Growth Mindset: Open your mind to possibilities. Life is a journey that does not end until it is over. Foster a growth mindset. Be willing to learn, grow, expand and become more resilient. Individuals with a growth mindset are more likely to view challenges as opportunities for learning and improvement. When you realize every situation, challenge and problem are actually gifts in disguise you can choose to use them in productive, positive and uplifting ways.
Be Accountable and Live with Integrity: Live with Integrity. Be who you say your are and do what you say you will do, by when you say you will do it. Allow your words and your actions to be congruent. You determine the value of the words you speak. Hold yourself accountable for your actions and decisions. Take responsibility and ownership of your words and actions. Entitlement does not exempt you or anyone from the consequences of their behavior.
Seek Constructive Feedback: Find people that you respect and trust and seek constructive feedback that enables you to see your blind spots and grow into the best you can be. Find someone who understands how to give you constructive feedback without judging and causes you to feel hopeful and more of yourself instead of less. Focus on specific entitled behaviors and their negative impact. Realizing the damage that entitlement causes will help to motivate you to challenge your entitled feelings and change them.
Improve Your Communication Skills: Learn how to express your needs and concerns effectively without moving into your entitled personality extremes. Learn to be respectful and assertive without being aggressive and defensive. Learn to actively listening so that people believe you have heard what they are attempting to say. Consider their thoughts and feelings before you respond. Listen with an open heart instead of closed mind.
Be Inclusive versus Exclusive: Promote inclusivity, amity and a sense of community. Create an environment where everyone feels valued and included. When we are welcoming and tolerant of the different ways others view the world it greatly reduces entitlement's negative effects. Learn to understand other people different color personality tendencies so that you can better understand how the lenses through which the view the world differ from your own. When you understand how to see the world through differing perspectives, communication becomes enlightening versus conflicting.
Live with Humility: Model humility in leadership and interpersonal relationships. When you live with humility you encourage others to do the same. Great leaders, teachers, and mentors play a crucial role in setting examples for humility and gratitude. Gandhi is quoted as encouraging us: "Be the change you wish to see in the world." Our humility help us to counter our arrogance and narcissistic tendencies. It reminds us to remember that others are equally important. People respect people with humility much more than those who are haughty, self-consumed and full of themselves.
Volunteer and Serve: When you engage in volunteer activities or community service they often provide you with a broader perspective and a sense of purpose. Many people report that in serving, they actually felt they receive more than they give. Serving others makes more of us. Serving helps shift the focus from what we might feel entitled to, to the self-worth that builds within us when we contribute to the well-being of others.
Seek Professional Help: In cases where entitlement is deeply ingrained or significantly impacting your life in negative ways, seeking the assistance of a professional such as a therapist, coach, clergy or counselor. Find someone you admire, respect and trust as they can provide valuable insights and support for personal growth.
It's important to note that overcoming entitlement is a gradual process, and individuals may benefit from a combination of these strategies. Creating a supportive environment that encourages self-reflection and personal development is key to addressing entitlement effectively.