For a lot of us, that means a new week filled with possibilities for all that we can go out into the world and achieve.
But some people don’t see opportunity for what they can do. Their primary focus is all about what other people can do for them.
They live their lives with a sense of entitlement. They seem to think they deserve something for nothing from the people around them simply because they exist and live on this planet.
Sound familiar? Maybe you have a spouse, a teenager, an adult child, or even an extended family member who acts entitled. Or maybe you’re sometimes the guilty party. If so, today’s broadcast is for you. Our guest is psychologist and well-known author Dr. John Townsend.
Entitlement is nothing new.
We can trace it all the way back to Genesis 3 where Adam and Eve, our first parents, felt entitled to something beyond God’s love and His provision. They felt they deserved special privileges that weren’t theirs to have. Ever since then, we’ve suffered from the same sinful disease.
From stunted spiritual development to difficulties in our parenting and marriages, entitlement is the root of many of the problems we face in our households. We expect special treatment from the Lord. We expect special treatment from our spouses or our friends and family.
As a leadership consultant who works with organizations across the country, Dr. Townsend says entitlement is even having a tremendous impact on today’s workforce. Young and old workers alike are demanding more for doing less.
The culture is catering to our broken nature. When our expectations aren’t met, we get upset, and our attitude spins out of control in all sorts of ways. It costs us a lot relationally, spiritually, emotionally, and even financially.
The question is, how can we or the people we love break free from entitlement if we struggle with it?
There are three things I’ll briefly mention here that we discussed in full in our conversation with Dr. Townsend.
First, give God permission to show you the areas in your life where you act entitled. Psalm 139 says, “Search me and know me and try my anxious heart.” Let God put the spotlight on you and tell you where your blind spots are, where you’re being self-centered, hurtful, or irresponsible, or making things all about you.
Second, become a detective of yourself. Have “self-scrutiny time” at the end of each day. Give yourself a report card for how you treated the people you care about the most. What was your impact on other people? Were people glad you came into the room, or did they cringe?
Third, get people around you that are safe and loving, but also full of truth. Give them permission to speak into your life if they see you with a negative attitude that could affect your life, your marriage, your health, or your relationships.
We’ll talk through these ideas and more on today’s program as well as share specific examples from both a marriage and parenting context to help you better understand how to handle an entitled person in your life or to make changes yourself if you’re a bit too self-focused.