A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the fraud I experienced in Habits of the Past and Present. This fraud experience actually continued after posting into the realization that my husband’s bank card had been compromised as well as my own. I handled the first fraudulent episode fairly well, you know with the attitude “Ok, this stuff happens”, but the second? Well that was handled with a little less grace. This fraudulent activity, which allowed the con artists to spend thousands of dollars of money that wasn’t theirs, lead to the realization that some people feel entitled to things that do not belong to them.
I’d like to call this the Air of Entitlement.
(photo courtesy of downwardspiralintothevortex.com)
Entitled: (noun) to feel qualified for, fitted for, to be given claim to. (Webster’s Dictionary)
Entitlement: (noun) a notion or belief that one (or oneself) is deserving of some particular reward or benefit—if given without deeper legal or principled cause, the term is often given with pejorative connotation (e.g. a “sense of entitlement”). (wikipedia.org)
So, while in some cases, the word is used to show that something is legal and right (i.e. he was entitled to the promotion because he was next in line of seniority), a false sense of entitlement is to feel that one deserves something for doing nothing. This false sense often involves the following:
- A feeling that one is “owed”
- The idea that things are “expected”
- What is wanted is “deserved”
- What one wants does not need to be worked for or earned
Often this air of entitlement evolves from the concept that one believes that it’s “All About Me” and that the individual literally has an inability to see how his or her actions can affect and hurt others.
In contemplating entitlement, I paused to think about the Golden Rule: Treat others the way you would like to be treated. When an air of entitlement is present, the real Golden Rule is often forgotten and is replaced with “treat others the way it is convenient for you to treat them”. This new meaning kind of defeats the whole reason and purpose for compassion for others, doesn’t it?
This air or attitude of entitlement can take different forms. Sometimes the air of entitlement involves the actual, physical taking of things that do not belong to the person who feels entitled to them – objects, property, even an innocent blogger’s money, because the “entitled” feels that those things are owed, deserved, and expects to get what is wanted or desired . In other cases, the attitude of entitlement is more the sense or projection that one puts forward that one is entitled to behave or treat others in a certain way. It’s an attitude that one carries around; that one is entitled to speak and act in any way that he or she deems fit.
I think what it all boils down to, when we consider an air of entitlement, is a lack of respect for others. Ironically enough, the sense of entitlement often lends itself to the idea that the “entitled” feels that they should be respected no matter what he or she has done or how his/her actions may have made others feel. What is often forgotten is that respect is earned, not given automatically.
So, how does it feel to be on the receiving end of an “entitled’s” sense of deservedness?
We are often left to feel taken advantage of, used, and, in some cases, robbed. We feel disrespected and hurt. We may even feel like our opinions, our wishes, our own desires, even our needs are not considered important in comparison to the “entitled’s”. We may find ourselves feeling lost in the shadow of the “entitled”.
Is there a solution? Is there a way to end this epidemic of entitlement?
I don’t have the answer. All I am sure of is that we have become a society in which too much is expected and not enough is earned. We have stopped believing that the most deserved things are those that we have worked the hardest to get. We have lost sight of the little things being what should matter most. We have forgotten that faith, family, and friends are what are most important. Material possessions will only bring a temporary happiness. It’s not, nor can it ever be, all about me when so many others are in my life and are affected by my choices and actions.
I believe the epidemic of entitlement could be replaced with the following thoughts:
I am entitled to nothing just because I want it. I deserve only what I work for. I am blessed with much.
(Dear Readers, Thank you for reading! Please like our facebook page, Writing For The Love of It, and follow on me Twitter @kim_blais. Yours, ~ K ~)