So, Let's Talk About Entitlement

I have been thinking a lot about entitlement these last few days and the universe is giving me signs to continue to think about it. I was exploring it on my own in a different context, but a dear friend brought my attention to how important it is to ensure that we raise our children in a way that they are not consumed with this sense. My friend, while talking about the challenges of having a toddler and the merits of letting our children express their individuality said, "But I don't want her to feel entitled, you know. I never want her to feel like she can do XYZ because she is who she is." That really resonated with me. I absolutely want that for my daughter as well, and will strive to foster virtues of humility and determination and ambition in her - but it's such a fine, fine balance. Like most aspects of parenting, the success of teaching our children to rise above feeling blindly entitled teeters precariously on scales that can tip over at the slightest push in the wrong direction. While this is a continued and valuable challenge of parenting, this is not the type of entitlement I want to talk about today.

[Warning added after completing post: The part below devolves into a rant. Apologies. But this is where I come to write poetic truths, and this is also where I come to get bad things off my chest.]

What I want to talk about is the sense of entitlement that adults feel towards every damn thing in their lives - home, work, relatives, friends, household help, restaurant servers, services, goods, you name it. Why is it that most of us feel like it is an expression of our greatness and a representation of our generous spirit if we demonstrate this sense of entitlement brazenly? I will give you an example, an example that is probably at the root of this whole thing, anyway (and the truth comes out, you say? Yes, yes, apparently, it does). I am quite happy and successful. I love what I do both at work and outside of work. I have a beautiful home, a loving family, et cetera. Now, there are probably some people that I used to know back home in Pakistan who nurse the idea of having positively altered and helped me so fundamentally that I have reached satisfactory levels of self-actualization because of their efforts and not because of the obvious reasons, i.e., hard work, resilience, persistence, and obviously the help of remarkable people along the way (not unlike the ones who are the subject of this post at this time). The point is - I am the sum of all my parts. And to say that I am content with my current circumstances because of one person with whom I crossed paths in my childhood is simplistic to say the least, but let's also point out all the other things such a claim is: arrogant, ignorant, ignominious, ignoble, derisive, belittling, unsubstantiated, and quite frankly, absolutely and utterly false as anyone with an ounce of sense will attest, and what it has at its rotten black core is a well-oiled, well-nourished, rather rotund sense of entitlement. Pity. No, anger (as demonstrated) and pity. 

So here's the thing, O Person Who Would Love to Take Credit for Me, I will continue to be great, god willing. And you can continue to feel entitled to everything I do/achieve. But the stark truth is this:  You cannot be me, because I rather like being me. I am quite comfortable being me if I am to be perfectly honest with you. And next time I learn of your entitlement issues, I promise to bring my good humor along as I have gotten all the vitriol out of my system here. You should thank god for Goll Gappay. 

Photos by Rebecca McCue