Check your Entitlement Mentality

Check your Entitlement Mentality

I find that having a sense of entitlement isn’t in itself a negative thing when you align this mentality to the necessities of life – clean air, clean water, nutritious food, electricity, security, and human rights. Every human being has the right on this grounds. Requesting or demanding these is a right and a must. It’s what you and I need to live a sustainable life here on planet earth.

To frame the term ‘Entitlement’ would mean that one feels and believes she/he is deserving of privileges and requires treatments that are (sometimes) not earned.

In a country such as ours, many narratives about entitlement are usually attributed to youths or young people in our society. The attitude of entitlement means that some young people feel or think they are deserving of some privileges without thorough consideration about why and how they arrived at such a mindset. Some members of the older generation aren’t excluded from this feeling of entitlement. Some feel a sense to be entitled to younger ones. As we all dwell in a largely transactional society, is everyone guilty of this mindset? Who then is to blame for sustaining this mentality?

I am learning that being in an entitlement state of mind is also having a borderline egotistical mentality which doesn’t sustain in the long run. A state of mind that anyone can be trapped into.

A young woman who wants to apply for a job in an organization can feel she is deserving of the role just because she is a woman. Some narratives that are peddled in our society can make her entitled to that role because of the norms that have made her develop that mindset. She isn’t expected to be an outstanding candidate and she, in turn, may apply such a mindset to feel entitled to the role. The same standpoint theory applies to some men who feel entitled to a woman’s existence as a result of the masculine norms deeply inherent in our society. Either spectrum is detrimental to our society breeding oppression, dominance, and inequality.

While I strongly advocate that young women are deserving of opportunities in leadership and decision-making positions, women can also be as ready and equipped to take on the roles of leadership. There’s a need to be prepared intellectually and strategically, understand your goals and expectations from the role and move into such positions.

I was raised in a military home. My parents believed in hard work, contentment, and discipline. I attended a military boarding school and whenever it was time for resumption, my siblings and I would present our list of school needs and what was called ‘provisions’ which are tinned items that can sustain our time in school. My mom was the ‘list reviewer’ and she made sure that anything not relevant was deleted from our list.

At that time, I struggled to understand why she did that because it’s not like they couldn’t afford to lavish on us. I had asked my dad what the reason for this was and he said it is important that you know the difference between your ideal wants and also know how to be sustainable with what you get. He added that even if he could afford to buy more, he wanted us to know that we ought to learn that privilege isn’t for bragging. You are not better than anyone else, this could be taken away from you so be grateful and disciplined in what you have been given.

While at University, my parents could afford to get me other exclusive means of transportation and accommodation but they chose not to. I was living in the same accommodation provided for students, I used the same method of transportation and I was content to be like everyone else. I had been raised not to feel entitled to my parents’ economic power and learned to work for what I earned. I met students who had to supplement school work with making an additional income by being creative and productive. It made me also understand how life could be when you aren’t privileged and that sparked a very high sense of gratitude and hard work in me. I took the same attitude in the UK and while my parents could still afford to do everything for me, I still got myself a part-time job while I studied.

It’s alarming to read the mindsets of some young persons to want to arrive at a ready-made career with privileges without considering the efforts they need to put in nor the process of learning and development required. Young women should be able to realize that an entitlement mindset, if not balanced, can be detrimental. The society that normalizes the narrative for men to provide is the same society that creates mindsets in women to be entitled to men’s money. It’s a vicious cycle that has to be curbed.

As members of a larger society, we need to realize the limiting mindsets and attitudes towards our positioning and seek to replace them with something better and more beneficial to our purpose. You should not expect anyone to do anything for you. You should put in the work and be measured against the work you put in and the output as well. We should review our shortcomings without a bias especially if we have done our best to be deserving. If that then doesn’t happen, dust it off. Plan to arrive at another goal prepared to score. Ask yourself, what ethical thing can I do next?

Realizing the difference between what one is deserving versus what one is entitled to be paramount in my opinion. Intentions are a good place to begin if you find yourself at a place that has got you acting entitled, please take the time and check your entitlement mentality. Check yourself before you wreck yourself.

Let’s do a quick self-reflection.

Pause and Reflect

1. What does ‘entitlement mentality’ mean to you?
2. Do you think you have been entitled in any way?
3. What areas and why?
4. How can you overcome the entitlement mentality?
5. List the areas that you need to checkmate this reasoning and replace with what is ethically required from you.
6. What more can you morally do to show that you are deserving of what you want?

Añuli Aniebo Ola-Olaniyi is the author of #MoreThanJustPretty and the Executive Director of HEIR Women Development

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