This Easter, there were several well-circulated stories about the cancellation of municipal Easter egg hunts in Colorado and Georgia because parents, eager to ensure that their kids got the most eggs, had caused a shameful ruckus in prior years.
Closer to home, I occasionally see examples of extreme entitlement – people who run lights because they’re entitled to get where they’re going, regardless of others’ safety; the father at the company cafeteria who got a piece of pizza for his son, put his hands all over it, then, when his son said he didn’t want it after all, thought it was OK to just put it back so he wouldn’t have to pay for it. Countless helicopter parents demanding gifted classes and better grades for their children when their effort would probably be better spent helping them learn to navigate the world on the strength of their own accomplishments.
So, excess entitlement – yes, I’ve seen plenty.
But then, I see examples in the other direction. People who apologize for taking up space. People who accept too little money for their work because they think that it’s rude to ask for more. People who have great ideas but keep quiet because they assume that the right to speak belongs to others but never to them. People who accept the short end of the stick all the time because it doesn’t occur to them that they can insist on getting at least half the stick, always.
Entitlement-deficiency – I see too much of it.
Realize this. Someone’s always going to get their way. It might be you, it might not, but you may as well ask because if you don’t ask, it’s pretty much guaranteed you’re never going to get your way. And when you are afraid or unwilling to step up and ask for what you want, you leave the goodies out there for those annoying over-entitled people to grab.
There are those epiphanies that mark a clear shift in one’s fortune. “As entitled as” marked an upturn in my life that has carried through to this day. Not more entitled, not always entitled, but in any situation as entitled as anyone else. Entitled to respect, entitled to make a decent living, entitled to speak my mind, entitled to be comfortable in my own skin, entitled to enjoy the fruits of my labors.
If everyone followed the “as entitled as” plan, we would all be better for it because it’s an attitude that understands all humans have basic rights; it’s an equalizer. I’m as entitled as the next person, who is as entitled as I am.
I can always ask for what I want, and so can the next person. If our wants are in conflict, I might have to accept less in that situation but next time I’ll ask for what I want, and chances are, I’ll be the one to get it. And sometimes, everyone will ask for what they want and everyone will get it. What it prevents is people grabbing everything for themselves, every time and leaving some people with less, every time.
“As entitled as.” Try it. The only people who don’t like it are the ones who believe they’re “more entitled than,” because you might encroach on their territory. Go for it – it will be good for them!