by Dawn L. Billings, founder of RelationshipHelp.com
We are currently living in a world where attitudes of entitlement are dominant and pervasive. Through lenses of "NOT Enough”, or “I am Owed MORE”, an entitled view of the world restricts and distorts almost everything we see and creates a breeding ground for selfishness and greed.
Entitlement causes us to view our circumstances through lenses of, “I Deserve More”, or “It’s my right, give it to me.” When you feel that you are not getting what you deserve or are owed, you can convince yourself that you are being neglected, look over, even cheated. One could feel they deserve privileges or recognition for things that they did not earn. They could feel they should have what others have that they covet without the effort required to earn it. They could find themselves feeling entitled to someone loading the dishwasher exactly the way they want it loaded, as they lose sight of what a gift it is to have someone attempt to help them. They could begin to believe that they are entitled to steal from stores, without considering how that theft could actually kill a small business.
As one’s feelings of entitlement grow they encourage you to justify feeling miserable and dissatisfied. After all, people around you, life circumstances, even society are cheating you. When you believe you’re entitled to better ________, or more _______ (fill in the blank) than you think you are getting, resentment takes hold. When you believe you aren’t getting what you’re due—time, attention, money, affection, recognition, appreciation—the list can be endless, an entitled mindset takes over. An entitled mindset can convince you that you have a right to demand or receive, and in the process shut down your ability to feel gratitude. After all, it is your right. YOU deserve it.
Entitlement causes us to believe that the world we live in owes us something more, but sadly, the payment is never enough. An entitled mindset and the feelings that follow can:
cause you to create unrealistic expectations: Nothing sets us one for feelings of disappointment and resentment more than unmet expectations. This disappointment and resentment build bitterness in your heart and steal our ability to experience the many physical and psychological benefits of gratitude.
reduce your motivation to take positive, productive actions: Feelings of entitlement lead to you believe that the outcomes you desire are owed you without the effort that creates those outcomes. Soon you lose the motivation toward any positive effort and justify your laziness because you believe that what you want is your right, and should be mandated and provided by others.
lead to conflict and misunderstandings in relationships: Entitlement creates narcissistic and self-consumed attitudes to over take you and leaves those with whom you are in relationship, angry bitter and resentful.
prevent you from learning and growing: Why should you put the effort into learning or growing in any way, when you believe other’s should provide you the things you want or need? But without learning and the growth that comes with it, you lose meaning and will struggle to find a purpose in your life that makes more of you.
create feelings of superiority: When entitlement convinces you that you are 'entitled to more' without any effort toward earning it, you begin to convince yourself that you are superior and 'better than’ others. A superiority complex can lead you to exaggerated, and false beliefs about your abilities. This entitled superiority causes us to behave in boastful, vain, and narcissistic ways. Whether a superiority complex is a defense mechanism to mask or hide a person's true feelings of inferiority, or the end result of an entitled mindset, it is always destructive and harmful to relationships.
limit your ability to feel empathy: Entitlement limits and restricts your ability to see the world through other people’s lenses, thereby inhibiting your ability to understand their point of view. When you cannot understand someone else’s point of view, it makes it nearly impossible for you to feel or show empathy toward them. Relationships void of empathy are destined to fail.
prevent you from being a team player: When you feel entitled you become insensitive to the feelings, needs and perspectives of others. You cannot collaborate and cooperate with other member’s of a team when you feel entitled to having everything your way.
damage your career: Entitlement can cause your colleagues to resent your selfishness, bad attitude, or double standards. When other’s feel you are out for yourself, behave in self-consumed ways, and have no regard for their needs, they do not want anything to do with you.
cause you to ignore cultural and societal rules: Entitlement can lead you to disregard rules that you feel are stupid or you simply don’t want to follow. Without individuals respecting laws that insure safety and equity, a society begins to tear apart of the seams.
lead you to try to control or manipulate others: Entitlement tells you that you deserve to control and manipulate the idiots around you. After all, they are not nearly as smart of as important as you are. The problem with this entitled mindset is that it is toxic and therefore most often backfires of you.
reduce your influence: Entitlement will reduce your personal influence and power over time because an entitled mindset encourages disrespectful, discourteous, and demeaning actions that cause people to turn away from you. No one want to listen to someone they do not trust and that they believe does not have their best interest at heart.
make us feel unhappy or depressed: Entitlement, because it greatly dimities your ability to feel gratitude, leaves people feeling hopeless, unhappy, miserable and depressed. Feelings of gratitude bring with them feelings of joy and appreciation that cause you to feel blessed, lucky and fortunate. While feelings of entitlement bring with them feelings of anxiety, misery, bitterness, unhappiness and disappointment, all which can lead to depression.
Before dismissing entitlement as a problem for others that you’ve managed to avoid, you may want to reconsider. For example, it can be easy to forget how fortunate and privileged you are. Spend time counting your blessings, and remembering those things that bless your life and you will find that simply remembering your blessings can help you succeed at winning your battle with feelings of entitlement.