I’ve wondered if I might have entitlement issues. “Entitlement” is a buzzword, and it’s a quality that has bothered me in others, so I want to be conscious of if I may have a sense of entitlement myself. As the youngest child in my family, I wonder if I might be spoiled, which is part of a societal issue where we stereotype the youngest sibling as being doted, babied, and so on. To some extent, in my case, there’s truth to that. My parents doted on me and got excited when I did things like put my pants on by myself as a kid; that was actually a big joke in my family. My dad would exclaim “you put your pants on by yourself!” like it was astonishingly exciting.
Now, as an adult, I use that as an analogy because I still get excited over the tiniest of things of things that people do for me. I’ll be like “wow! You got me a soda?! Awesome!” and in my experience, people find this to be strange because they don’t know why I’m excited over something as small as handing me a glass of water, etc., but I think that it’s good to be grateful for things. I am a firm believer in the importance of gratitude. Small things make me happy, like coffee in the morning. One of my favorite words to say is “YAY!” and people think that it’s funny, but it’s good to get excited! Being excited about life is something that I see as a positive trait. But, let’s get back to the issue of entitlement.
My parents were very encouraging. They instilled confidence in me, told me how great I am and how awesome the things that I do are, and it was great to be a child who was shown so much appreciation. Then…I became an adult. I had a rude awakening when I went out into the world and not everyone thought that I was so awesome. When you have great Jewish parents who think that you’re wonderful and proceed to walk out into the great, wide world of people who don’t know you, well…let’s just say that people who don’t know you don’t give a shit about if you put your pants on yourself or not. People don’t know you and they’re often self-centered, so guess what? They don’t care about the small things that I do, such as the way that I care for others, which had me flabbergasted.
So, maybe I do have a sense of entitlement. Maybe I still do, to some degree, because I am a good person and I like to be appreciated. However, no one really deserves anything, if you think about it. It’s like people who experience trauma – they don’t deserve it. My point is that if I had (or have) a sense of entitlement, it’s not something that I developed on purpose. I’m aware that it is a problem and that it can affect interpersonal relationships. I’m writing an article about empathy right now, and truly, empathy should be hugging the concept of altruism. When you feel empathy for a person, you truly care for them independently of anything else and you want to help them, and that is not about you. It’s about them. As a result of helping others, you feel good, but it’s not about you. You shouldn’t help people because you want recognition for it or because you want them to help you back. That shouldn’t be your intention. It should be out of genuine kindness, and that’s it.
You know when people throw things in your face and say “oh, I helped you, but you didn’t help me!” that is not empathy. I’m guilty of doing this, and now that I’m aware of it, I’m actively working not to do it anymore. This feeds into a sense of entitlement – no one owes me anything! There is no score sheet. I don’t want to be an entitled person and I don’t want to raise my kids to be entitled. I am trying so hard not to be “that person.” I don’t want to raise kids that are the stereotypical Millenials that you hear about all of the time. Well, my kids aren’t Millenials anyway, but you know what I mean. I want my kids to have values and be grateful because that is the kind of person that I want to raise. So, do you have a sense of entitlement? Maybe it’s something to look into.