Thursday, February 6, 2014

What Links Entitlement To Belonging?

I was in the hospital waiting to get a mammogram when I heard a lady next to me ask the nurse navigator who happened to be African, “The Asian lady with long hair, can she do the mammogram for my sister?” I cringed in my seat thinking that the nurse navigator might find this at the least presumptuous, and even demanding. I also thought she might be offended that a patient was telling her how to conduct her work. In such an environment, most people, myself included, would simply follow the procedure and do as they are told.
Some feel entitled to reach for what they want in all situations. They never lose sight of being entitled and being demanding comes naturally to them. This separates those who might lead from those who would only follow.
In the words of Thomas Jefferson, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” 
 It got me thinking that feeling entitled may be linked to a sense of belonging. Now we all know that belonging is right up there with bread and butter in the human condition. Everyone is looking to belong somewhere. That’s why sovereign states exist, why people band together in tribes, why individuals twist themselves just to fit into a powerful circle or become part of a status group.
Oftentimes patients do not want to make special demands because they don’t want to spoil things. The patient’s sister may not have felt vulnerable and that might have been why she could demand her chosen service provider, however offending it might be to the nurse navigator.
As a patient surviving breast cancer, waiting for a mammogram blocked any attitude of entitlement I might have felt previously. In general, there is nothing to lose by going for it, and we are  empowered when we reach for what we truly want. In actuality, it all depends on whether or not we feel there is something at stake. We measure our birthright to exercise our unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness against the odds of our belonging. So being part of that which may seem to overpower us has a great deal to do with harnessing our entitlement and harvesting all of the gains that come from it.
Next time you are in a situation which feels uncomfortable, chew on this and see what happens.


  1. Hello dear, Not sure I totally agree with the concept of a sense of entitlement is linked to a sense of belonging or if those who feel entitled are leaders. I have, on numerous occasions, been witness to people who "demand" because they feel entitled. In these instances, I have found "demanding" people to be aggressive, obnoxious and selfish, with no regards to others, as if others are "invisible" and do not matter. So if those who feel entitle get what they want and are therefore leaders, I for one would not allow myself to be led by them and certainly would not choose to follow them.

  2. Hi Zohra, thank you for reading my post and for your insightful remark. I totally agree that the downside of claiming one's entitlement is to become inconsiderate of others, pushy and self absorbed. However, one can't deny that those who claim their birthright get to exercise increased freedom and often find themselves in positions of leadership. Hello that may be why we have a world in such a state. Claiming our entitlement as an upside is where I wanted to draw my readers attention but of course I would neither advocate nor follow so called leaders who would bully their way into subverting the entitlement of others. I hope others will join the conversation and appreciate your taking the lead.

  3. I agree with both of you - there are people who are demanding and obnoxious when they ask for things, but I think that comes, as strange as it may seem, from feeling of not feeling important or worthy. Often this is the result of bad feelings and expectations about being marginalized.

    I believe that those who truly feel as that they belong, make their requests in a direct, polite, full-throated way that acknowledges that there may be factors in place that will prevent them from getting what they want. They ask for what they need even if they are uncertain if their request will be successful. It occurs to me that we're taught to pray in exactly that same way.


  4. Thank you Vivi, for taking the time to read the post and join the conversation. What you pointed out is very true, I think that some people feel entitled no matter what while others exercise precaution. Question is does asking in whatever form happen naturally when one feels a sense of belonging?

  5. Hi Hanna, How wonderful for you to give us all this moment to stop and think about something very interesting and feel your spirit reaching out. I agree that feeling as if you belong makes it easier to ask or demand - and perhaps also makes you feel more connected to and compassionate toward those you are asking. If you feel like you belong, you feel like your request will be welcomed. When you have to or are willing to push others aside to get what you want, that's the more negative kind of entitlement, I think, and means you see those others as NOT belonging to your group or level. The element of fellow feeling is important. Cheers to you!

  6. Hi May Jane, thanks for pausing to read and share your thoughts on this post. We all agree the negative side of entitlement is an aberration. When we belong with ourselves; accepting as we are, often that translates to being compassionate, considerate and congenial ( 3 vital Cs). But does that necessarily mean we feel free to ask for what we want in all circumstances? Is there a difference when the line of communication is vertical or horizontal? Is it harder to feel a sense of entitlement when something important to us is at stake?