I wasn’t planning on posting before Christmas, but I ended up with a bit of unexpected “free time” this afternoon. I was also inspired by this great blog post on children and signs they might be struggling (or not!) with entitlement. I started wondering, “what about adults?” And myself. Do I struggle with entitlement? I settled on a few questions to ask myself.
- When I receive unexpected monetary gifts, do I think first about spending the money on myself?
- Do I find myself fantasizing about things I want to own?
- Do I struggle with envy?
- Do I feel that I deserve a certain lifestyle, regardless of how I live?
- When things don’t work out as I plan – i.e. money coming through, not receiving a gift I hoped for – do I become angry?
Ask yourself these questions after Christmas and see how your heart has responded.
Today is my birthday, which for many of us, is the day of entitlement. My birthday is usually low-key, dinner with family. I don’t expect a party or a weeklong celebration of drinks and dinners out. (Now I’d love a 3-hour snuggle with my son.) But if I look back, I can see entitlement, maybe not overt, but at the heart level. Maybe I didn’t get the attention I thought I deserved. Maybe I thought I should have received that one other gift. Likely no one else has ever noticed these moments in myself (or you), but from out of the heart the mouth speaks (matt 12:4). Or in other words – if entitlement has taken root in me, the fruit will become evident in time.
What is the antidote to entitlement thinking? Several things come to mind, but at the top of my list is gratitude. Gratitude is always a perspective changer, though it requires discipline for most of us. More on gratitude to come.
Do you see moments of entitlement-thinking in your own life?
For more on a related topic see Simplicity Killer: Self-Pity.