The Entitlement Trap
The Entitlement Trap
The Entitlement Trap
First, let’s get the definitions out of the way:
Entitlement: the fact of having a right to something or, belief that one is deserving or entitled to certain privileges.
Deservedness: something rightfully earned because of something done or qualities show; merited.
I have a Facebook page for Healthybeing which has nearly 5,000 “fans” on it. I work hard to provide service and to the people who visit my page. I consider this part of my giving back. There is a lot of interaction on my page and in my inbox. I once had an “inbox” message from someone who was ranting that “spiritual women shouldn’t charge people who don’t have enough money. They should help them for free.”
At first, it pushed a button in me that said, “Yes, I have a gift that I can use to help people who are struggling.” But quickly, I realized that was the old me talking – that was my false belief system saying, “You don’t deserve to receive money for your gifts.”
“I do a lot of pro bono work,” I justified to myself. Then I realized that I was justifying.
This is the perfect example of deservedness vs entitlement: I struggled with feeling deserving to charge my value and she felt entitled to have the world give her for free what someone took away from her somewhere along the line. The world must pay for her suffering.
Now, are there people who are starving, poor and deserving? Of course! No one “deserves” to be hungry, homeless or abused, in any way. The distinction I am making is between those people deserving of their basic human rights and those we all know, and many of us have been at times in our lives, who “feel entitled” for no apparent reason.
And as women entrepreneurs, we are compelled to give back. In fact, that is the reason many of us went into business to begin with. Our “why” is to help the world in some impactful way. That is why the Dalai Lama said, “the world will be saved by the western woman.” Because we have the capacity to make money AND make an impact. And we care, deeply. For most of us, it’s not about the money, but what the money can do. While you can make many changes in the world without money, the reality is that money can be used to make a big impact.
And besides, remember, money is just an energy exchange.
The deserving piece: The money wounds so many women have essentially stem from the question of feeling worthy and deserving. We self-sabotage, feel guilt, fear what others will think and even worry how making money will interfere with our relationships with our partners. We feel that if we possess “gifts” that spirit granted us then we don’t deserve to charge for them. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard, “But it’s so easy for me. How can I charge for this?” or, “Anyone can do this. No one will pay for this.”
Cover your ears, but, that’s bullshit, my friends.
There is a balance every person has to find in his or her life between giving back and knowing they have value worthy of payment. You don’t go to your doctor and say, “You should give this surgery to me for free.” You don’t walk into a restaurant and say, “You should give me a discount because I don’t have any money.” No, you figure out a way to get the help you need, and then lift yourself up.
This is going to push a lot of buttons, I know. But the truth is that until we start to feel worthy, we run the risk of feeling entitled. And that is disempowering and has an adverse effect on the world, in general!
The entitlement piece: Usually this stems from people’s sense that they have been victimized in their lives. They can’t seem to find a way out of the struggle (often financially) and so blame others for their plight. It becomes more and more of a self-fulfilling philosophy and rather than go deeply inside to address the pain, they blame others and don’t take responsibility for participating in the creation of their own reality.
Take divorce. I see it time and time again when a marriage falls apart. Rather than deal with the abandonment issues, the pain of being left or the anger at the other person who wasn’t meeting needs, there is a lot of complaining going on about how the other person ruined the marriage. (That’s what I did in the beginning!) It takes two to break up a relationship…after all, there are two people in it. Not taking responsibility is a form of entitlement.
I remember my ex showing me photographs of a trip he took to India. He visited a leper colony. There was a beautiful photo of a couple who were losing limbs and sitting in front of their makeshift home, a fire burning. They were making tea. They looked so happy. He said he was touched by how cheerful, loving and good spirited they were, how much love they shared, and how happy they were to be together, even in this situation.
So I ask you, no matter where you are in life: are you enjoying this gift of life, feeling worthy of love, money and happiness? Or, are you angry and entitled, feeling the world owes you a favor?
It’s a sensitive subject, but I think one worthy of debate. I have a feeling I may have ticked people off in this newsletter, but that’s okay. Because I know where my heart is, where my value is, and what I am deserving of.
How do I know this? Because I used to be that entitled one.
Affirmation of the Week
I realize and own more and more of my value every day. I believe in what’s possible. I live by the motto of doing well by doing good.