Let’s contrast entitlement versus expectation. No question there can be entitled expectations, but let’s attempt to tease out some fine points around each. Entitlement is always toxic. It comes with arrogance and pride, selfishness and laziness. Entitlement asks nothing of what is best about each of us. Entitlement is operating under the delusion that you deserve something you have not yet earned, whereas hope and expectation comes is born out of faith and belief.
Entitlement says, “You owe me. Give me what I want now!”
Expectation says, “I’m counting on you to keep your promises and commitments. I’m depending on you.”
Entitled people think they have rights to something just because, therefore entitlement takes advantage of people. I’ve seen people who operate in entitlement use others rather than build relationships. Entitled feelings, thoughts, and perspectives actually tear relationships apart because there is no room for empathy, compassion and certainly no room for appreciation where entitlement lives.
Expectation, uncolored by entitlement is about the relationship. When you’re entitled you to think people do what you want because they owe you but when you operate through beliefs in committed expectation, your beliefs are born out of promises, given and received in relationship to others.
What happens when people let you down? What happens when people don’t live up to your expectations? That is up to you. Because human beings are simply that, human, they will inevitably fall short of their promises and fail to live up to expectations you may have of them. When we live in the light of the truth of humanity then it’s easier to understand and forgive times when your expectations and hopes are shattered or disappointed.
In every relationship faith, hope and love are the very things that keep us upright and steady as life attempts to trip us up. But the most important ingredient that brings us joy and balanced perspective is gratitude.
Feelings, thoughts, and perspectives infected by entitlement will always bring with them misery, frustration, and unhappiness. Why? Because they blind us to the truth of what we do have and focus us like a laser on what we think we deserve instead.
When we are standing in entitled thoughts up to our waist, what we are angry or frustrated about in our lives are usually the small, truly inconsequential things like our partner coming home with groceries, but they forgot the hummus. Instead of appreciating the bags of wonderful food they did bring, entitlement says “They forgot the hummus! The hummus was the thing you really wanted. They have failed you.”
I realize that is a small, petty and silly example, but entitlement makes us small, pity and certainly silly in our upsets and anger.
When you find yourself frustrated, angry and miserable ask yourself, “What am I feeling entitled to?” It will always be there churning up miserable feelings as it swirls around you.
When you are happy and joyful, look for those things you feel grateful for and they too, will be right there. Gratitude is our major defense against the wrath of entitlement and gratitude will cause your expectations to be filled with hope and belief in your partner, where entitlement will scream your partner, and all they do, are simply NOT ENOUGH!