Every day I witness so many people with a strong sense of entitlement. There really seems to be no demographic that is inflicted more than another. Unfortunately, it can be found almost everywhere you look. Some examples that quickly come to mind are the shoppers who are so frustrated that they have to wait two deep in a line. They are spending their hard earned money and are entitled to faster service. Diners in a restaurant who feel that they are entitled to service that is tailored just to their exact specification. These are just a few that are easy to spot of the many. If we look deeper we can see that we have a culture of entitlement that only seems to be getting worse.
We all know who to blame right? It’s this new generation of spoiled, self-centered, disrespectful, ENTITLED children and young adults. Is it really their fault? Since turning 40 years old a few months ago I have started to take a hard look at the man in the mirror and it turns out that there are a lot of things that I didn’t think were my fault that may just be. Realizing this helped me to realize that on a broader scale I don’t believe it is fair for any generation to blame the one before or, especially, the one after. Where do younger generations get their belief systems from? They are taught and brought up by the very people who want to turn around and blame them for all the ills of society. This I believe is where the broadest range of entitlement rests. It rests with those who believe that they have done their duty and now they should be able to sit back and have the easy life while those around them all behave in a way that is in alignment with how they are expected to behave.
I work in a lot of different retail spaces which affords me the opportunity to observe some of the most selfish, entitled behaviors. I don’t know what it is about the grocery store or retail stores in general that seems to bring out the worst in people. During my observations now as more of a passive presence in the store and my experience as an employee/manager in these establishments, I can tell you that I see a very distinct pattern of which individuals who tend to show evidence that they feel more entitled. It is not the younger generation. The younger generation usually exhibits a patience that most adults would/should strive to achieve. They are the ones that are giving up their spots in line. They are the ones holding the doors open and saying yes sir or yes mam and giving out a thank you or you’re welcome.
I hypothesize that this entitlement is a learned behavior. Either the behavior is influenced negatively by those around them or the stresses of constantly being beaten down by life has caused people to simply abandon their polite, empathetic tendencies in exchange for rude, entitled behavior. Unfortunately, the only solution would be for everyone to come to their senses and realize that no one owes them anything. For people to understand that the only behavior that they can control is their own. For everyone to “Be the change that they wish to see in the world.” The interesting thing is that when we start behaving in a way that acknowledges that there are other people in the world and they are just like us, we start feeling better about the other people in the world. We will start to have a bit more patience and understanding. We will hopefully stave off the learned behavior of entitlement that we are passing on to our children.
I have a feeling that this will be the theme for this week’s posts because there is so much to be said on the subject. If you have any thoughts be sure to share.