“Entitlement is a delusion built on self-centeredness and laziness.” – Unknown
I like to call myself out instead of glossing over my flaws. I call it reverse diamond, find the carbon that crafted this shiny flaw that is a hardcore reality in my personality. That said, guess who is entitled? ME.
My entitlement is a funny one, it disguises itself as fear and anxiety. I expect things to go a certain way and if they do not, everything else shatters. I also have the impatience of White Rabbit in Wonderland. Skipping to the next thing as quick as can be because I should be somewhere in my envisioned future and I am not there yet. Why am I not there yet? I need to be. But, have I earned it yet?
This incessant desire to be in a future that is not coming to play is disrespectful to the present and all the work I have been doing. Also, I just got back in the game. I have been in isolation for years so I could have space to healing and find myself.
Yet, somehow, I expect to have it all handed to me immediately I return to existing in the world as a whole. Who do I think I am? The prodigal son returning to father after swindling inheritance only to be given more and have a celebration too?
Ah, reality checks are shamefully hilarious.
I am pretty much a spoilt child throwing a tantrum in the corner because things are not happening as fast as I wish they would. Bless my heart for my juvenile perception of success and my greed.
Besides, I spent too much time this week trapped in a web of anxiety because I felt undeserving of everything and felt I would fail if I tried to be more. I waste time and here I am expecting a reward for my foolish ways. I beg, pray for wisdom for this one because clearly, I have to relearn how life works all over. So much for assuming I had become a master of discerning my own cuckoo patterns.
How to spot entitlement in yourself? (and if you are petty or protecting your space, this can help you spot people like me- entitled people who have not even made it yet.)
You want everything and believe you deserve everything. Especially, things that you have worked for and cannot afford. You assume someone else should foot the bill for your all deserving wants.
When someone offers you something, instead of appreciating them and their gift, you huff and puff at how it is not what you wanted. Hence, discrediting the worth in the offering. (as if you are God or their bank account)
Someone wishes you well and instead of receiving the blessing, you question their compliment and ask them why. See, this fear is indeed a bit conceited. Yes, we can blame it on so many things and give excuses for it. In fact, I have a list of excuses I carry to apologies but all of them are useless in face of fact that it is unfair to be the one giving and not wanting to receive. Do you think only you can give compliments? Are you the only one with an eye for appreciation? You go ahead to ask them why they are cursing you. (This one may just be me though)
You assume people should drop their priorities for the benefit of yours. Yet, you do not extend the same grace. Everything is on your terms and it is non-negotiable.
You throw hissy fits when you are ignored or do not get your way. (but when others do it, you call them needy and childish. Forgetting yourself and your ways.)
People often tell you are entitled but you believe they just misunderstand you. (to be fair, maybe they do but that is for another day. It is also quite entitled to assume people should understand you.) So, everyone is the problem and not you.
How to rid yourself of entitlement that does not serve you? Simple, learn appreciation. Embrace gratitude as a lifestyle. Be ready and open to receive what is given and be grateful for all that comes your way.
Now, pause and reflect on yourself, be honest, are you entitled way past the point of being humble and knowing your worth? Have you practised gratitude today, or can you explain?
“gratitude has a dual meaning: a worldly one and a transcendent one. In its worldly sense, gratitude is a feeling that occurs in interpersonal exchanges when one person acknowledges receiving a valuable benefit from another. Gratitude is a cognitive-affective state that is typically associated with the perception that one has received a personal benefit that was not intentionally sought after, deserved, or earned but rather because of the good intentions of another person”
(Emmons & Stern, 2013)
the quality of being thankful; readiness to show appreciation for and to return kindness.
Counter the entitlement you feel due by showing gratitude. Why? It will do wonders for your core, your health, sleep and existence as a whole. Gratitude is one of those teeny magic pills that fixes so many problems including your hairline and having no friends.
A quick look into some of the beauty that comes with gratitude;
Being grateful widens your perception of reality in times of adversity.
You gain a better visual of life when grateful for things that have been, are and will be. Your sense of the bigger picture grows as you realise that new hurdles are merely setbacks that will pass and be overcome. You have before, why do you doubt you will make it to the other side again?
Your relationships will flourish, including the most important one- the one with yourself. When you are grateful, the shackles of entitlement that also cripple one’s esteem loosen up. Gratitude is like a key opening up doors to possibility by showing you how much you already have.
When people around you feel appreciated for who they are, they start to embrace themselves around you, rather than shrinking or exaggerating their existence to please you or avoid conflict with you. You, do the same around yourself. Appreciating your efforts, your desires, your dreams for what they are and not comparing them to those of others.
Gratitude helps one relish what they have in the present. Taking inventory is a big necessity in a business as one can take account of the resources at hand. I have a bad habit of fixating on the things I do not have. I will take one thing I lack and stick it as a thought in the core of my mind. Reciting the lack as a mantra and willing my way into a pool of discomfort and anxiety. How do I get out of the loop? I count my blessings one by one till the anxiety goes to sleep and I can breathe.
One gains control over their emotions. I like to think of the pause in between breaths as a moment to be grateful. You receive, you appreciate, you extend out. Breathing, conversations, existing. I have been studying my breathwork per how I see the world. I am a hoarder- I like to keep what I get in fear of nothing else coming back to me. I breathe in so many held breaths. I hold. I am scared of losing. This fear is not of benefit to me because truth is, things will come, just as they will go. Being grateful supersedes fear and happiness. It is a state of being. If there is nothing you feel grateful for, try being grateful for being. Just as is.
Better health. This is so diverse in the spectrum of physical and mental wellness that I think of it as sorcery sometimes.
Have you ever noticed yourself slouching and bent into a sort of walking ball? For me, this is because my depression has overcome me and so has my paranoia stance. Once I feel that ache in my back, I know I am taking what I have for granted. How does this relate to gratitude?
Well, my loop of mental well being has a predictive cycle. Depression, anxiety, paranoia, psychosis, pep-talk conversation with future and past self, restored being, depression. Repeat.
When I stay in my pity party too long, I get tired from incessant thinking of all the wrong things, I compare my blueprint with what is and feel even more morse. In my pep-talks, which sadly are to the end of the transition, I remind myself of possibilities that are still alive and well. I get the energy to get up and move forward because I can. Without gratitude, my loop lags in the paranoia for longer than should and this can birth insomnia.
Grateful people sleep better. I have noticed that most of my tossing and turning is from memories flooding of things I failed at or times I felt shame and regret. Another loop I find myself stuck in, obsessing over the wrongs. Imagine going to bed with a light heart- how precious the night would be. Try it!
In your journal account of the day, write things you are thankful for and embrace them- then turn off the light and rest. Or even send a gratitude text before one goes to sleep and remind someone you love and cherish of why.
So, count those blessings one by one... start now. Why wait? Write a list of six things you are grateful to have at this moment and appreciate each one as is.