My pastor told a story that has stuck with me about what “Entitlement Mentality” looks like.
One day the doorbell rang and a women answered the door. It was a man who handed her ten, one hundred-dollar bills. He said, “This is for you, a gift with no strings attached.” She couldn’t believe it. He turned and walked away. She was so excited. The next day, the same thing happened. This was too good to be true. Again the next day the same thing. She started watching for the man to arrive and he was faithful in coming everyday. Then one day she saw the man coming up the street, but he went past her house and went to the neighbors. She was furious. “What is he doing giving “my” money to the neighbors, who does he think he is?
What started out as a gift, becomes something we feel is ours, even though we have done nothing to deserve it.
How many times have we done that? I know I have, especially in relationships. We fall in love, get married and this wonderful woman or man can do no wrong. We feel blessed to have this person in our lives. Then as time goes on, we realize this person isn’t as great as we thought they were. They don’t make us feel good all the time and what happened to all the good sex and romance? We start taking them for granted and start feeling like we are entitled to more. It becomes all about us, not about giving back and appreciating them for who they are.
When we start focusing on our own unmet needs and not the needs of our spouse we are falling into the trap of entitlement mentality thinking. Relationships take work on both sides, but as soon as we start expecting them to meet our needs, there is a switch from feeling grateful to feeling entitled. Everyday is a gift and every breath we take is a gift. Being grateful and refusing to take ownership of things that are not really ours, in the first place, can make our lives a lot more simple and enjoyable. When we can get to the place where we believe that everything we have is from God and we really have no rights to anything, then we can be grateful for even the little things. When we lose something, we know it was never ours in the first place.
How we react to our world is about who we are inside, not about the world.
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Vickie Parker, LMFT