By Megan Hopps
SUN PRESS Newspapers
Entitlement: the condition or state of mind that you have the right to something.
“You deserve it.” We’ve all heard this phrase at some point throughout the course of our lives.
And this can be used as justification for many behaviors. The smoker who’s trying quit worked a long hour day so he deserves a cigarette (fueling his addiction). The mother that washed, fed, clothed, entertained and read to her children deserves a cupcake … or nine (fueling her weight gain). And the list goes on and on. It’s frightening to consider the possible evils that could come from those three little words.
But do we really deserve anything? Are we really entitled to things?
I believe this is fallacy. I believe that telling ourselves “we deserve it” is a lie we tell ourselves to justify certain behaviors we believe to be wrong, or in the least, that do not set us up to be our best selves.
I also believe in a God. And I believe that He died to save my soul from an infinite evil. And He did this out of love for me, not because I did anything to “deserve” it.
My parents have also shown me immense kindness and generosity. Aside from the fact that they fed me and put a roof over my head, they also taught me to read, nurtured confidence in me, supported me in my athletic, artistic and academic endeavors and financially provided for me. Again, I believe they did this not because I deserved any of it, but because they love me.
The same could be said about the kindness my friends, coworkers, even complete strangers show me.
So where does this idea come from? It’s an idea that I have seen growing up in school, in my professional career and in society as a whole. And I’m struggling to understand people who truly think that they are entitled to things, and even where people get this idea.
I wonder if people who think this way have never been told “no” as children. And perhaps once they enter into adulthood and face rejection that they do not know how to cope with it properly. Is it possible to be told as a child that you are so great and so far above others that you deserve special things; that you deserve certain privileges the average Joe does not?
Just some food for thought. I often wonder (and worry) about living in a society that believes it is entitled to things. Perhaps these people are entitled to the things I have worked for?
Contact Megan Hopps at firstname.lastname@example.org