What is entitlement?
Society beats a few perennial messages into our brains:
You are special.
You can be successful.
You will live a happy life.
The truth? You aren’t special. Maybe unique in one way, but overall you are not. Can you become successful? Hell if I know. And are you guaranteed a happy life? Eh, go talk with someone who just got broken up with, beaten up, or stolen from…
Then tell me what you think.
Life is not fair.
Although deep down we know this, entitlement still seeps into our lives— we wrongfully assume positive qualities without effort.
I’m probably more at fault than you. I’ve been harboring a slow, toxic revolt over the last couple years.
If you’ve read any of my words or followed me on social media, I bet you’ve never sensed this from me.
That’s because you’re at a distance.
Behind the comfortable, invisible shield that is the internet, I feel more alive online than I do in person at times. I can more clearly express my thoughts and ambitions—I can put forth my opinion and attitude better here. That’s why I started blogging and making music recently.
I’ve taken to these forms of expression because I’m so far removed in real life.
Rather than address my issues, I’ve unwittingly run from them; I’ve disguised my secludedness as independence, self-love, and shyness.
In many ways, this is faulty-thinking.
Over the last month, life pretty much forced me to tear down all forms of personal pedestal I’ve built.
I thought I was entitled to be happy and content. In my attempts to achieve that, I ran from the closest people in my life. I moved away for college. I traveled without telling anyone. I wanted to be alone because I believed I could love myself more and serve my own interests better than anyone else.
This is called “arrogance.”
Out of Gas
You can’t run from your problems. We try to, and I think entitlement is the #1 reason we do it.
In my case, I wasn’t getting the connection and comfort I thought was supposed to be “handed” to me.
I was confused and distraught when I didn’t get along with family. I was angry when friends left me out of plans. Overtime, my relationships became smaller... (which, for the record, isn’t always a bad thing.)
But I ran.
Later down the line, I’ve come to terms and realized I’m becoming self-consumed. It’s causing damage to my most valuable relationship.
I am not entitled to shit.
How To Improve
So what? Do we all just suffer because we aren’t granted the most precious things in life? No, not quite. There’s a couple crucial switches I believe anyone can make to improve:
First, you need to turn off your entitlement and turn on your effort and devotion.
Can you become extraordinary? Yes.
Can you achieve success? Sure.
Can you live happy? Of course.
But not unless you work towards those things.
For me, I wasn’t doing my part to keep the relationships around me healthy. Yeah, there are deeper underlying issues, but my part in removal did not help. That’s a short-term fix for a life long issue. You really have to put the proper energy into every aspect that makes up your mental image of uniqueness, prosperity, and happiness. If you lack pursuit, you won’t ever get there…
We aren’t entitled to shit, remember?
Secondly, you can (and should) appreciate more life.
Most of life is perspective.
For starters, if you have a family, water, and an iPhone, I take it life ain’t so bad. You have much to be thankful for, by comparison.
But you’re human.
Greed is in your blood.
You want a million dollars. Why? Because American-culture drills that idea through your skull. Wealth is associated with everything you want; it means special ability, affluence, and contentment.
Wanting a million dollars is okay… but believing you’re entitled to it without massive amounts of work is not.
Regardless who you are, hopefully you see within yourself to look around at life more. Life is amazing. Please, recognize when you are under-appreciating the simple, yet beautiful, things you’ve been granted.
The moral of the story:
Be grateful for what you have and work hard for what you want.