Personal Entitlement

Lesson 3: Topic 6 of 19

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If you find yourself described here, if entitlement is part of your personal disposition, there is hope! The solution isn’t easy, but it is possible to change. It requires a deliberate shift of both inner and outer life. Choose to become a person who contributes to the good of others rather than one who drains their joy and energy.

Taking responsibility for both yourself and for how others are affected by your actions and attitudes is worth it.

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What can you do about your own entitlement?

  • Own it. It’s important that you acknowledge the part that flawed thinking and actions have played in the relationships around you. Think through and list areas where you have undercut kindness and generosity to others. Write out your regrets, if it helps. 
  • Learn to confess the opposite of entitled thinking. Make deliberate changes in how you think. This takes some effort! Practice changes in “self talk” such as, “I’ve been thinking that people should notice my contribution, but in reality I’m only doing what is expected for my job,” “I need to notice the contributions others make to the team,” or “There are times I can ask for help when I don’t know what to do, instead of finding someone else to blame.” 
  • Actively seek feedback. Ask mature, trustworthy individuals how your behavior has affected them and others. Give them permission to be honest with you. Thank them when they take the risk of telling you what they think, and ask for any suggestions they might have. 
  • Cultivate gratitude. Express thanks for daily parts of your life that are beneficial. Learn to express gratitude to people in your life – at home, work, and other places. Thank people for what they do, but also for who they are. What traits do you admire in others? 
  • Look for ways to grow. Make a candid assessment of your skills. Where do you need improvement? Concrete computer skills are a relatively simple fix. There is a clear path forward for certifications and such. “Soft skills” that involve inter-relational abilities are far more nebulous. Find a mentor you admire or hire a personal coach to help with these areas where growth is needed. 
  • Don’t give up on yourself. You may need to ask forgiveness from some people in your life. They may or may not respond kindly, but their response is not your responsibility. Seek to do what is right from your position. You may also find that you fall back into patterns of thinking or behavior that reflect entitlement. Acknowledge the wrongs you have done, ask forgiveness (even of yourself), and move ahead with gratitude for another chance.  
  • Seek professional therapeutic help. If your process of moving ahead is daunting, a reputable therapist or counselor may be quite helpful. 

Pause and consider: If you recognize a need for help, what step will you take today?