First, let’s start with the definition from Google. Entitlement: “The fact of having a right to something.”
The FACT of having a right to something.
Oftentimes, we confuse opinion with fact.
There are going to be moments in your life, Dear Children, when you are going to feel entitled to have something. And that is okay. That is human. To feel like we are sometimes owed something, even if we are not. I, myself, struggle with this all of the time. You, yourselves, struggle with this. Remember when we go to the movies and the feeling you get when I sometimes refuse to visit the concession stand? That is the feeling I speak of. Or when your teacher decides that there will be a pop quiz and you feel that you should have been allotted more time? That, too, is an example of what I write of today.
I often feel entitled to a cookie after vacuuming the house. That cookie is my reward. I earned it. I singlehandedly fought the floor for its hold on dandruff, dirt, crumbs, and flakes. And I won. I schooled that carpet. It owed me.
But do you see how ridiculous that sounds?
I mean does a carpet really owe me anything? Or do I owe the carpet a right to be clean? Or dirty, if it wills. Is the carpet entitled to be as dirty as it would like to be? Is the vacuum entitled to refuse to clean it?
And so you see, children, how very, very tricky the word “entitlement” can be.
Now, imagine we are not talking about one human being and two inanimate objects, but rather three human beings instead. Can you imagine what the world would be like?
I imagine it would be a constant shriek and rumble of these three sentences:
“I earned it!”
“I got it first!”
I recently went somewhere and I was appalled by the behavior of persons that would call themselves adults. And I was appalled by my own behavior. Because I sat there for a time and agreed with those people.
Yes, you are right. We do deserve this. I found myself nodding in agreement. I was entitled to be mad. I was entitled to feel that somebody owed me. I became a wretched human being. I heard, This is what we were promised.
And Everyone knows you can’t break a promise.
I went into the situation feeling very entitled. And I left feeling disgusted. And confused.
Because didn’t I have a right to feel this way? Wasn’t I entitled to it?
I decided to break it down to avoid confusion. For both myself and for you.
Here is what you are entitled to:
A lawyer if you are arrested (and an inconsolable mother if that is the case).
An opinion. As long as you recognize it is not a fact.
An item if you purchased it.
The air you breathe if the Earth allows it.
A refund if it states so on the receipt.
Your Constitutional Rights as provided and dictated by the law.
To be compensated for the work that you do. Except for volunteer work.
To make your own decisions when you turn eighteen.
That about sums it up.
Doesn’t it seem like there should be so much more?
Unfortunately, there is not.
And that is what leads to the chaos that is that word.
Because everyone thinks they have more rights than they do. They are entitled to more.
The world is full of entitled people. Who are raising entitled children. Who will grow up to be entitled adults. Each of them, kings and queens of their domains. Each of them entitling each other to be the best. Have the best. Fight for the best. Because it’s their right.
Who am I to think any differently?
Shouldn’t my needs come before his/hers?
Because I earned it. I got here first. It’s mine!
And around we all go on this ferris wheel of words. The unfortunate repeats of the “I’s” and the “M’s.”
Until the whole world explodes with the Me’s. The Mine’s. The I’s.
It is not a coincidence you can find all three of those words in the word, “entitlement,” itself.
It is corrupted.
Other words that can be found in “entitlement”:
Just wanted to see if you were paying attention with that last one.
I will have many more opportunities to redeem myself with that tricky word. And more probabilities of failure. And you will, too.
It seems as though us humans are wired to feel this way.
Much like the vacuum cleaner that was wired to clean the floor.
I will try harder in the future to fight my programming.
Too often when I feel I have the right to something, it turns out that I am entirely wrong.
Even the word “entitled” feels entitled.
Entitled often insists it is the twin of Deserved.
It is up to you to be able to spot the differences. They do, too often, get confused with each other. I will give you a few clues.
Deserved is the one without an “I” in it. And it is usually standing next to Earned.
Standing next to.
Not hiding behind.
May you make the right choice and not demand the choice as your right.
* My children read my blog. Which is sweet. Very sweet. But I also want to know that they are learning something from me besides simple recipes and pretty clothing. These letters are real letters to my children. From their mother. You might not agree with my message, but please respect my sentiment.