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Do You Have a 'Sense of Entitlement?'

“Entitled millennials”

People joke about the millennial generation and say that they are “entitled.” A sense of entitlement is something many people struggle with, regardless of their age group. The pervasive societal stereotype is that millennials feel that “everything should be handed to them on a silver platter,” and there are people out there who genuinely feel they deserve a medal in life for merely existing. But it’s not limited to one generation. A sense of entitlement spans the gamut of ages. Despite the stereotype of an “entitled millennial,” not all people of the generation act that way. I have a good friend who is technically a part of the millennial generation, but she’s been working since she was 14 years old and doesn’t have the sense of entitlement that millennials are associated with.

A sense of entitlement

Let’s back up for a second. What is a sense of entitlement? A sense of entitlement refers to the belief that the world automatically owes you something. A person who feels entitled thinks they do not have to work to receive a reward in life, or recognition or fame, because it is “owed” to them. We know this is false and the world does not owe us anything, so having a sense of entitlement is unproductive and unhelpful. Some people might argue that feeling entitled is a symptom of narcissism; it might be, but not necessarily. Feeling entitled could have to do with how a person was raised, or a number of factors other than having a personality disorder.

People who have a sense of entitlement are suffering in the long run because they don’t acknowledge that the world requires them to work hard. It is a rude awakening when they find out that not everybody thinks they are unique and have to work for what they want in life. Sometimes children have overly affectionate or doting parents who spoil them or tell them that they are extraordinarily unique, which is an excellent quality to instill in your child. However, your child may go out into the world believing that everyone should view them this way and that everyone is going to be so charmed by them.

Not everyone is your best friend

The truth is that not everybody is going to like you. There are times when you believe you have a great friend, and it doesn’t end up that way. Friendships come and go in life. As human beings, we need to get used to the fact that some people will think that you are great and some won’t vibe with you. That is normal. It’s just the way that life works. For example, you wouldn’t enter an entry-level position expecting to be paid the same salary as your manager, nor would you start that job believing that you know as much as your boss or deserve recognition for accomplishments that you haven’t made yet. A person with a sense of entitlement, however, may very well begin working a new job with that belief. A sense of entitlement is not the same as confidence or knowing your worth, and it will hurt you rather than help you.

The world doesn’t owe you anything

Regardless of the origin of the belief that the world owes you something, it is essential to address that thought. Your future will benefit from learning that you need to work hard and care about other people. A person with a sense of entitlement may not realize that the way to gain recognition is to have genuine empathy and compassion for others. Caring helps you because when you help others, you not only show them that that’s the way the world should be, but they will also be more likely to help you achieve your goals in return.

Remembering that’s it’s probably not personal

So the world might not owe you anything, but you deserve to have good mental health, which means going to therapy. Sometimes people need to confront hard truths, including personalizing people’s actions toward them. Are you struggling with feeling slighted? Maybe you think or recognize that you are entitled? If so, it’s important to see a therapist and talk about these issues. Whether you are working with a mental health professional in a local area or choose to see an online counselor, both modes of treatment will give you a place to discuss your feelings.

Photo courtesy of Pexels

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