People love to complain about millennials, with their raging narcissism unchecked entitlement. But, let’s get real. You want to see peak entitlement? Check out the 15th Century, often termed the Age of Discovery (Thanks, Columbus!). Because, at its worst, entitlement leads to expectations about other people’s possessions, bodies, and land. Luckily, every contemporary person with a sense of entitlement isn’t a sticky-fingered, raping colonizer. But, according to science, they are all setting themselves up for a “habitual, self-reinforcing cycle of behavior with dire psychological and social costs.”
A new theoretical model from Case Western Reserve University maps out a continuous loop of suffering (a ride we’d prefer to skip). The study reviewed over 170 academic papers and discovered that narcissists are always vulnerable to unmet expectations, which lead to discontent and other unpredictable negative emotions. This discontent needs a remedy, which leads to the strengthening of the superiority which, in turn, feeds entitlement. Yep, that’s right, people who are entitled soothe the pain caused by entitlement with entitlement.
Ultimately the only way to avoid chronic disappointment in the short-term and interpersonal clashes, uncomfortable relationships, and depression in the long-term is to break the cycle. There isn’t a specific formula that works for everyone, but the following pieces of advice should help you to develop the gratitude and humility that you need to fight against entitlement:
Remember You Aren’t Owed Anything
Let’s say, for instance, that you are very, very rich and you believe that gives you power over others; you might believe that you can do anything to the women around you. You can do anything. Kissing. Grabbing. Anything. When you think things like this, you aren’t interacting with individuals who have free will, you are treating them as objects. And, when the people around you support you in these harmful conceits, you are part of a mutual admiration society — essentially a circle jerk.
That makes you part of the problem. Instead, think about the people around you as complete individuals who owe you nothing. Earn their respect. Don’t grab for it. Seriously, no grabbing. Hands down.