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Positively Young: What exactly are we entitled to?

What are you entitled to in life? Many people believe certain things to be true: Life should be fair and fruitful. Family should be loyal and supportive. The American dream should be ours.

While these beliefs may fuel our ambition and come from a noble place, they can be unrealistic expectations that lead to a sense of entitlement.

You may think entitled people are those who put on an air of haughty indignation, cynical resentment or angry disappointment, but the truth is that we all feel entitled to some degree.

Entitlement often comes from a deep-seated desire to avoid pain — a natural desire that is often nurtured by protective parents. Those who are raised this way develop an attitude that they deserve more without putting in the work to “earn” it.

Life is not meant to be easy. Life’s purpose is to help us grow from our experiences, and these experiences are often painful. It’s when we were raised to have these unrealistic expectations of what life and others should be that we struggle.

Entitled people fail to understand there has to be challenges in life for us to be balanced.

If we release the idea that life should be easy, we can ambitiously pursue rewards that are often hard-earned.

We become entitled when we think we deserve more than what we’ve earned.

Here are some ways to minimize entitlement.

>> Renegotiate expectations: Creating realistic expectations for ourselves and others is a great start. Most of us probably don’t even realize how much we demand of ourselves and those around us.

Setting realistic expectations leaves more room for happiness in our outlook.

>> Be specifically grateful: People will often say they are grateful for their family and health. However, when we become specific about the things we are thankful for, the gratitude has even greater impact.

“I’m grateful for my health as I’m able to walk with my grandkids to school each day.” or “I’m grateful for mom because she calls every day.”

Specificity rewires the brain and encourages more postive thought processes.

>> Practice humility: The practice of humility is an essential daily exercise. When you show humility, you inspire silent respect from others.

Humility not only fosters personal growth, but it keeps your ego from overreacting, and it curbs the feeling of entitlement. Humility reminds us that we still have a lot to learn.

No matter how much we think we know, when compared to the magnificence of the universe we live in, what we know is really not much at all.

We can be happy even when life is challenging. We can be satisfied and at peace when our hearts are hurting and our bodies are incapable of moving the way we’d like.

We can be happy if we focus on what we can control and accept and let go of the things we can’t control.

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