The word ‘Entitlement’ has gotten a pretty bad rap lately. There are lots of complaints of people, lots of times kids, having a sense of entitlement that somehow makes them think they deserve everything. I agree with this and want to make sure my kids don’t grow up with this special sense of entitlement that is becoming so common in our society.
So I was surprised, when listening to the audio version of Donny Deutsch’s book ‘The Big Idea: How to Make Your Entrepreneurial Dreams Come True, From the Aha Moment to Your First Million,’ that about half way through when he went into a section on what we are entitled to. He went through a whole list of ‘You are entitled to…..’. Since I was on the road fighting through highway traffic I wasn’t able to write down his list but the word stuck in my head. Entitled had such a negative meaning in my mind, but what if it was also an empowering and motivating word?
What if I really am entitled to some things and can go out and take them from life without feeling guilty?
The definition of ‘entitled’ is:
- From Google – Give (someone) a legal right or a just claim to receive or do something.
- Merriam-Webster – to furnish with proper grounds for seeking or claiming something entitles the bearer to free admission>
(it also means to give a title too)
There are things I have legal right, just claim, or proper grounds for.
When I figure these things out I can go after them, own them, be proud of them, and enjoy them. Here is a list of things I think I (and you) are entitled to:
- Salvation – had to go here first because it jumps out at me. Nothing I do gives me any right, but Jesus paid the legal cost for my sins and trusting and living in Him means I can use His righteousness in place of my own (2 Corinthians 5:21) or here is a good article on it.
- Happiness – over and over we have been told that happiness is a choice. No matter what our circumstances we can choose how we respond and we can choose to be happy.
- Liberty and Freedom – not everywhere and not in every time has this been played out, but I believe it is a right. What this means to us now is more about the freedom we give up when we try to live up to others expectations or try to live in a way that will make them like us. We put ourselves in a form of slavery this way. We are entitled to freedom.
- Healthy Relationships – not saying that anyone should walk away on family, but in the family we are entitled to do everything in our power to make the relationships better. We can change ourselves and can’t change others (no matter how convincing our logic may be to them). We have the right to make these changes in us to make the relationship healthier. We also are entitled to choose who we allow to be our close friends and we can choose to work on those relationships.
- (mostly) Do Do What You Love – as long as it isn’t illegal, negatively affecting others or dependent on others, we are entitled to pursue our passions. I was hit with the realization (through a great interview I watched) that the only thing stopping me from being a writer was my not writing. Totally in my control. I was entitled to be what I wanted to be. Not that it can turn into a full time job or that others will love it, but there is no way to know if those can happen unless you take the choices you are entitled to and live it.
- Health – debatable maybe, we don’t have complete control, but we are entitled to a healthier life than the cards we have been dealt. We can learn, take necessary steps, and be entitled to a healthier life.
- We are entitled to create our own life. Entitled to make changes, entitled to direct.
The freedom, information, and social structure of most first world society makes it very easy to make entitled changes. When we feel trapped and undeserving of some of these things we are creating our own bondage. Not that everything is easy, but we can pursue these areas, and maybe more areas I have missed, without regret or guilt knowing that we are entitled.