Do This and You Will Stop Entitlement Thinking in Its Tracks
One of the most dangerous forms of a negative outlook is the attitude of entitlement. This is the way of thinking that leads people to think they deserve whatever they get, or, more likely, they haven’t received what they really deserve.
An attitude of entitlement puts tension into any relationship. When a husband believes his wife owes him affection and sacrifice, it puts a chill on their relationship. When an employee constantly believes she’s worth more than she’s being paid, her negative attitude will infect every aspect of her work.
You can break the attitude of entitlement in those around you by practicing two simple acts: celebration and thanks. Bring the attitude of gratitude into your relationships by celebrating what’s good and saying thanks for everything you receive.
Celebrate at Every Opportunity
Celebrate good things every chance you get. Celebrate birthdays, work anniversaries, project completions, report cards, holidays, or any achievement, no matter how small. The celebrations don’t have to be lavish; make them in keeping with the event it commemorates. The important thing is to frequently let the people around you know that you notice what they are doing and value them and the contributions they make.
Celebrations lighten the mood. Everybody feels better when there’s a celebration, even a small one. It’s hard to keep a negative outlook when everyone around you is happy. Also, celebrations affirm others. This takes the focus off of you for a while and helps to break your own sense of entitlement. It’s hard to be self-focused when you’re praising someone else.
Say Thanks for Everything
The second way to attack the attitude of entitlement in others is to say thank you whenever possible. Say thanks for everything you can think of, and I mean everything.
Thank the server for bringing your meal at a restaurant, even though it’s his job. Thank your employer for your paycheck, even if you think it’s less than what you deserve. Thank your spouse for doing housework, even though it’s partly their responsibility. Thank the policeman who gives you a citation for speeding; it may have saved your life! Hand out thank-you’s like Halloween candy—everybody gets some.
When you are generous with giving thanks, you break the culture of entitlement and replace it with a culture of gratitude. You model a positive outlook for others, you demonstrate humility, and you lift the spirits of those around you. Saying thank you is an incredibly simple, easy thing to do, and it has profound effects on a home, a workplace, or any relational context you find yourself in.
What about you? What has helped you eliminate an attitude of entitlement and replace it with gratitude?
I’d love to hear your answer on Facebook or Twitter.
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