True Entitlement

By Greg Baer M.D.

March 6, 2024

There was a day when most people understood that almost any given condition was preceded by a choice and an action. For example:

  • If you were wet in your street clothes, you obviously had put yourself in a situation where it was likely to rain, and you did not provide sufficient protection from the rain. You made a choice. You might even have chosen intentionally to get wet, but there was a choice involved.
  • If your garden was full of weeds, you previously made a great many choices that did not involve eliminating the weeds. You chose to have the weeds.
  • If you received a bad grade on a test, either you chose a subject too difficult for you, or you failed to study, or you failed to find a mentor to help you.
  • If you saw a child who was entitled and snotty, you knew that the parents had enabled and spoiled the child.

Victimhood and Entitlement

Now, however, the Law of Choice has largely been suspended by the Rule of Victimhood and the Laws of Selfishness. For example:

  • If you have a child who is obviously entitled—unhappy, ungrateful, and self-righteously demanding—the child is “just being difficult” or somehow “just that way.” It’s as though “bad luck” or innate temperament had replaced any possible choices.
  • If a child is performing badly in school, the parents bear no responsibility whatever. No, it is the fault of the schools, or the teachers, or systemic “whatever”—racism, genderism, sexual preferism, or absolutism (the ridiculous notion, for example that 2 + 2 DOES equal 4). Or perhaps some tyrant has insisted that advancement must depend on qualification by merit or preparation.
  • If you don’t have something you want, then somebody must be blamed either for not providing it or for obstructing your obtaining it.
  • If the rules of society, family, religion, business, or anything else become difficult for you, you are entitled to demand that they be changed to suit your level of effort or preference. Never must you be required to change.
  • If you WANT something, that is the same as NEEDING it, and then somebody must be responsible for providing you with that thing.
  • Your rights and desires supersede those of everyone else.

I wish I were exaggerating with the above examples, but I’m actually understating how thoroughly the synergizing twins of victimhood and entitlement have flourished and infested every part of life.

What is True Entitlement?

So what is the truth? Is there such a thing as healthy entitlement? Is there a true entitlement? Yes. We ARE entitled, but the key question is, to what?

  • We are entitled to make our own choicesbut this divine gift is inseparable from responsibility, accountability, and consequences. If you choose to do a thing, you must pay the price of doing that thing. You can choose to climb Mount Everest, but you cannot then ignore the training and other preparations required to fulfill that choice.
  • We are entitled to be happy but not without following the Laws of Happiness, which involve faith, gratitude, and love. We cannot ignore these laws and then rightly feel entitled to the happiness we claim to want.
  • We are entitled to justice but not always in the manner and in the time we prefer. Justice has laws. We can make our own choices, with all the attendant mistakes, but justice insists that other people also get to make their own choices—including the ones that negatively affect us. Contrary to popular belief, justice does not mean that we always get what we want, without inconvenience.

The word “entitlement” has become so heavily distorted and incorrectly used it has an almost universally negative connotation. But for those who understand true entitlement, life is endlessly rewarding.

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About the author 

Greg Baer, M.D.

I am the founder of The Real Love® Company, Inc, a non-profit organization. Following the sale of my successful ophthalmology practice I have dedicated the past 25 years to teaching people a remarkable process that replaces all of life's "crazy" with peace, confidence and meaning in various aspects of their personal lives, including parenting, marriages, the workplace and more.

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