Entitlement is that feeling that rears its head when you feel you have done something and now feel that you deserve something in return.
I’m going to give it to you straight. You are not entitled to anything.
Just by virtue of being born, there are no official laws that will be enforced that will mean you receive anything all the way from a fundamental level (food, clean air, good parents) to any other aspect of life (respect, ownership of objects, appropriate treatment by others). .
Just by virtue of putting in some work, does not mean an imagined flurry of accolades or successes will necessarily follow. If you do something for someone, they will not necessarily receive it and respond in the way you might expect. True, it might be that you expect something or even deserve it, but it doesn’t mean that it will happen.
That might seem like a tough home truth, but it isn't intended to deflate you. In terms of reaching your full potential, being able to unclog your emotions enough to lead a simple, fulfilling life or even really leave yourself open for creating, it is something you have to deal with.
Unrealistic expectations and entitlement can cause a great deal of pain as the outcome you feel you feel you are entitled to does not materialise as a result of your efforts. You might have a good job and earn a lot of money, but you may not be happy. You might be beautiful, sexy and popular, but still be single when you don’t want to be. You might have slogged through a lot go higher education and can’t get a job. You might have forced yourself through a bundle of diets and still not have lost the weight you want to lose. You might have the read the books and practiced hard, but still not have your talents recognised or be as good as you feel you should be.
Entitlement at its best sets you up for self-centred frustration and at worst can make you a narcissist.
When you feel you are entitled to an outcome, your language starts to become very self-involved, but often outwardly blaming. Why do other people have all the luck? I am smarter/better looking/more accomplished/more talented than Mr A, Miss B or Ms C, how come they get what they want? Why didn’t I win/get selected/succeed? It must be the fault of society/big business/culture/my genetics/my family/anything or anyone else.
If you ever see yourself adopting some of this language (and we all do at times) we need to put a little check on our ego and see what’s really going on. Usually it’s a response to a perceived “failure” - we want to justify ourselves and protect our ego. That’s a pretty normal response. But if we are honest, these arguments along with the comparison and excuses that accompany these internal monologues are never the solution to the problem. The key to moving forward will be beyond these emotions.
Not feeling entitled to something is actually a good thing. If we feel we are owed something and it isn’t delivered, we’re going to feel frustrated, angry and disappointed. If we realise that we are much more likely to achieve our goals or positive outcomes by actively working towards it ourselves, we see that we are the ones in control. Control is empowering. We can try and fail, try and succeed, experiment, experience and enjoy and take all the benefits for ourselves.
There are simply so many factors in what it takes to customise a great life that when you are seated in an “entitlement bubble” where you see A+B=C, you have not looked at the infinite other steps involved.
When you realise that you are not entitled to anything automatically, it frees up your mind to look at what is truly required to achieve your goals.
Sometimes there will be failures, frustrations and sometimes big, random occurrences that pop into existence to thwart you. Things won’t always seem fair. That’s just called “life”. If you want a life with more positivity, your strength will come from your ability to dust yourself off, learn a lesson and try again in a different way.
Or perhaps Cheryl Strayed has already said it much better:
“You don't have a right to the cards you believe you should have been dealt with. You have an obligation to play the hell out of the ones you're holding…”