Entitlement. “The belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.” It’s a popular word at the moment. Usually used with reference to young people expecting their dreams to materialise by way of glittery unicorn, rather than hard work. Or as a warning to indulgent parents. Don’t give your children so much else they expect life to be as generous.
But my experience is that a sense of entitlement is not the sole terrain of a much-maligned generation. People of all ages expect the universe will deliver them a happy ending. Particularly when they feel the universe has already been unkind.
There are souls that believe in abundance, positivity and the power of wishful thinking. The people who believe it will all be okay in the end. I really like those kinds of people. They radiate positivity. Funnily enough, life often smiles on those belonging to this school. And when it doesn’t, they shrug their shoulders and move on.
I’ll take wide-eyed optimism over bitter cynicism any day.
The people that have been hard done-by. Those that believe they have suffered enough and it’s time for the universe to show them some love. The kind that adopt “What about me?” as their anthem. Who demand more from the people around them than is entirely fair and feel justified in doing so. Because the universe owes them something.
The universe doesn’t work that way.
I’ve known tragedy. And through that tragedy, I have learnt of other tragedies. Terrible things heaped upon singular families with no respite. Tragedy is not life insurance against further tragedy occurring. We are not all allocated an even amount of pain, joy and success to spread out over our lives.
And tragedy, success and deservedness are not necessarily interconnected.
Some people get lucky. Some people don’t. Some people always manage to see the positive. Some people don’t. Some people have nothing and are happy. Some people have everything and will never be happy. And most of us sit somewhere in between.
But as much as the universe owes us nothing, I don’t think it hates any particular one of us either. I think the starry skies are fairly ambivalent. Life rolls on.
Terrible, random things occur that I have no control over. But, on balance, there are more things I do have control over.
A teacher of mine used to say “If it is to be, it’s up to me.” Funnily enough the school motto was, “nothing without hard work.”
I think it’s up to each of us to make things happen in our lives. To materialise our dreams. By way of hard work, rather than wishing upon unicorns. I really want to write a book. But all the wanting in the world, won’t make it appear. The only thing that will do that is sitting down each day and putting in the work. The universe won’t deliver me a book. But it might offer some inspiration if I’m open to it.
I have a friends that have published books. Isn’t that amazing? I feel lucky to have such creative people in my life. And it gives me hope, that I could do similar. But if I chose a different path, I could spend my energy on envy and resentment. That definitely will not result in a book.
If I write the book, no-one owes me publication. Or readers. Or wonderful reviews. And that, I suppose holds me back. Because I know I am not entitled to any of that. That’s where the fear creeps in.
Because it’s not fate that holds us back from our dreams. From our happy endings. It’s fear. And wide-eyed optimism will beat fear over bitter cynicism any day.
So I won’t expect any happy endings from the universe. I won’t pretend it’s my due. But I’ll be very grateful if they come my way.
How do you feel about the universe, abundance and entitlement?