“Knowing too much of your future is never a good thing.”
Last month I wrote about one aspect and dynamic of feeling entitled. This month I am writing about another dynamic of feeling entitled. This dynamic involves how it can manifest and where it comes from. Even the best of us with our limitations, are not able to provide fully for anyone. We can want to and intend to, but their needs may be such that in combination with our limitations or weaknesses, we aren’t able to give them something basic to what they feel they need. As a young child, ideally, we are given enough so that we can flourish and feel loved and lovable and valuable. Life isn’t fair, so many of us feel like we didn’t get enough, and we feel wounded. That then becomes our work; to heal, to plumb the depths to get to the root of our wounds and to make them our friends and our strengths so we can know how wonderful we truly are. We have to earn our inheritance, so to speak.
What can happen and does happen is many of us feel cheated emotionally and spiritually and we feel we are “owed something.” Life “owes” us. The truth is we owe us. But it doesn’t feel like that. So we grow up feeling angry and resentful and entitled to everything. Not only do we see this dynamic in some cultures, we also see it in individuals. A cultural example is what has been going on in Ferguson, Missouri. What began as a crime of robbery and guilt and over reaction by the policeman and the young man (perpetrator), Michael Johnson, became a completely different entity. This crime became an old racial tension of unresolved hurts and pain. The “crimes” became a black culture feeling entitled to everything after generations of unfairness and of crimes perpetrated against them and a suburb, Ferguson, where unfairness has continued. This event became an excuse to riot and pilfer and demand different treatment.
An individual example lives in my family with my sister and her adopted son. This boy has very dark skin and lives now in a very white culture, knowing he is different and feeling often that he was taken away from his family. He and his adopted mother are bonded deeply but they also have great difficulty with each other at times. A huge factor which affects him in addition to this is that his mother has difficulty hearing and seeing. These deficits also affect her ability to process her surroundings in a quick manner; her processing is slowed down. This boy needs both physically and emotionally to have someone who sees him and literally helps him to do the step by step process involved in daily activities. You can see the difficulties inherent in this scenario. Here is a boy who has real needs that his mother wants to provide, but has physical limitations in providing them the way he needs them. In giving this a thumbnail sketch, a dynamic which is ongoing is his resultant feeling of being “entitled” to things. He feels cheated in life; first by being taken away from his birth mother and family and second by being in a culture he inherently doesn’t understand and then not having his needs met in order for him to feel safe. He needs to feel safe, as we all do. If we feel cheated by life we are in a reactive state of being a victim much of the time.
Being cheated in life is a mind-set. If we set our minds to a way of thinking, we can equally unset our minds. This takes a willingness to look inside and to begin to love ourselves. Being and feeling “entitled” keeps us from becoming the vital, whole and healthy people it is possible for us to be. Healing is an inside job.
Small Lifestyle Changes that Promote Big Results:
Find yourself a piece of paper and a pen or pencil. Write down something in your life which you feel entitled to, or a way in which this manifests for you. This could be feeling you have a right to be taken care of, or have a right to be right, or have a right to be heard, or feeling angry at life, or resentful of something or someone, or feeling entitled to a certain relationship, and so on.
Write down how this acts for you as completely as you can.
Now, write down what you could do for yourself to change this feeling. In other words brain storm with yourself, and with a friend if this helps, what you could do differently to help you to know that everything you really need is possible for you to accomplish through you, loving you, and through connection to self, others, and God, or the universe, or however you think about what is greater than us all.
Read what you have written over the period of a week and see if more comes to you and see how this helps you in your life.