It can be dangerous to write on gratitude I’ve found because it’s normal for me to forget what I wrote the very next day. And one particular day gratitude could have saved me a great deal of heartache. Instead, my mind in free-fall chose something else.
Gratitude, of course, is a mind job, where the heart is placated by a sound mind content with what it has.
This article is about the opposite of gratitude: entitlement. An attitude of entitlement leads us away from gratitude down a slippery slope called immaturity, which expects what it doesn’t have and resents what it has. Entitlement is, in basic terms, the short way to madness.
Entitlement begins the downhill passage into something more sinister and potentially destructive. Like with gratitude, entitlement kick-starts a process.
Entitlement creates frustration. Frustration turns to exasperation, which turns into anger, and then to tears when anger gets us nowhere – because never does it get us anywhere, anger.
Tears are the surrender that should have come earlier if we had have nipped the frustration in the bud. Of course, some people just get angrier and angrier and don’t surrender at all to the bitter sadness deep within them. And many women, and possibly some men, may bypass the anger stage altogether and enter tearfully into their sadness – which is far more desirable than diverting to a secondary emotion like anger.
During a recent bout of frustration which turned to exasperation, which turned into anger, that ended in tears, I got to that cherished place I call ‘the-end-of-me’, or I could also call it, ‘the-end-of-my-entitlement’.
There is peace after tears. Something like an inner resolve returns and it can be likened to acceptance. It’s when contentment arrives even in a lamentable situation. But there’s still the lamentable situation.
The opposite of gratitude is entitlement, which is an attitude that makes us frustrated. But gratitude only improves our joy.
The trouble with entitlement is it robs us of joy. With gratitude, however, joy is double.
The trouble with entitlement is it leads to frustration, but with gratitude there’s only peace.
Steve Wickham holds Degrees in Science, Divinity, and Counselling.
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