Why The Sense of Entitlement

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This article was last updated on April 16, 2022

“When we replace a sense of service and gratitude with a sense of entitlement and expectation, we quickly see the demise of our relationships, society, and economy.”
Steve Maraboli, Unapologetically You: Reflections on Life and the Human Experience

The Oxford dictionary defines entitlement as “the fact of having a right to something”.  It may be this sense that is involved in many cases of disappointment.  When you feel that you are entitled to be treated in a certain way by another person regardless of the situation, you are bound to be disappointed when the other person does not meet your expectations.  When you help another person, you automatically feel a sense of entitlement to compensatory services by the other person unless your intentions are pure and selfless.  It is not uncommon to hear of litigation suits in which the plaintiff blames the corner-store for slipping and falling on the ice in front of the store.  To take it a step further, this false sense of superiority may stunt personal and professional growth because you do not feel the need to learn from your experiences or to consider feedback from others or to accept positive societal changes over time.

Where does this feeling of entitlement come from?  Why is one individual expected to owe another individual anything unless a willful formal or informal intention is expressed (for example, verbal commitments, legal contracts, jobs, etc.)?    It may be coming from a hidden feeling of insecurity wherein you are looking for acceptance from others to fill the void within; so when you do not get what you want from others, the void still remains and negative emotions/actions take over. 

Learning to be comfortable with who you are helps you to gain self-trust and self-respect; this leads to confidence about the choices and decisions you make.  Then, even if results are unsatisfactory, you hold yourself accountable instead of blaming others.   Since there is self-respect, you have a drive to aim for satisfactory results.  In other words, your inner self feels entitled to be enriched by your tangible self.  This, in turn, means self-education and improved productivity.  It becomes an ongoing positive cycle of personal and professional growth, where there is no room for an internal void.  Growing positively from within will also help to avoid expectations from others and to be thankful for whatever others do for you.  This will lead to initiation and maintenance of positive relationships with family, friends, partners and colleagues.

In short, if the sense of entitlement is applied towards yourself in the right way i.e. having expectations only from yourself, there will be no room for disappointment because it will be a lifelong exciting journey of self-discovery.

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