Over the course of our social lives, entitlement is inevitably something that we will find ourselves on one side of or on the other side of. However, I am bringing this topic up this week because entitlement is a big issue within intentional community. Teal Tribe is essentially a worldwide intentional community and lately, I’ve been noticing that entitlement is something that many members our worldwide intentional community have been struggling with.
What is entitlement? Entitlement is a conscious or subconscious belief that one deserves or has a right to certain things that benefit them. They expect those things to be given to them. Like almost everything, a sense of entitlement is a spectrum. Most people on earth have some sense of entitlement, but some people really dramatically fall to either side of the spectrum and that is when relationships become too painful to maintain.
Believing that you deserve what benefits you is not inherently a bad thing. It assists your capacity to manifest. A big part of why people cannot create the life they want is because they have been raised to believe that they do not deserve to have it. But entitlement is actually on the opposite side of the scale from true deserving because it is rooted in powerlessness and false self-esteem. It is profoundly dysfunctional.
The two main problems with entitlement are as follows: First, action is a critical part of manifestation. But those who believe they have a right to things that benefit them often do not take any real action to actualize those things. Instead, they sit dependently idle and expect the universe to simply do it all for them.
Second, those who believe they have a right to things that benefit them usually expect other people to provide those things that benefit them. Regardless of whether other people want to or not. On an energetic level, this is like waking up to find that you don’t have enough groceries in your house and then going to your neighbor’s house to take the groceries you need out of their fridge (groceries they put all the effort into securing for their own needs) and then wondering why they are so upset about it.
To understand the dysfunction of entitlement, we have to travel back in childhood. Part of good parenting is to teach a child the empowerment and the skills of meeting their own needs. But sometimes for a great many reasons, parents just don’t do this. They maintain dependence instead of assisting the child to become autonomous. They foster a sense of “I can’t, but others can and will for me” in the child. They don’t ever show the child how to meet their needs or get what they want through the genuine satisfaction of their own action. The child’s attitude becomes, “I am, therefore, give to me.” It is critical that children are raised to see the connection between putting forth energy and seeing a return. Or in other words, making an effort and achieving success.
When we are younger, we are powerlessly dependent on our parents for what we want and need. Then we enter the phase of individuation called toddlerhood. We are less powerless than we were when we were babies, but we still feel powerless to getting what we want, like a certain toy in the store for example. And so, we expect mom and dad to give it to us exactly when we want it and when they don’t, we throw a tantrum. If our parents never help us to figure out how to get what we want, independent of them doing it for us, we continue to throw these fits with other people… People who we subconsciously expect to be the ones to give us what we want. But as adults, we throw fits in much less overt ways. Instead of getting down on the floor and kicking and screaming, we resort to sophisticated forms of manipulation, like playing the victim for example, or deliberately seeking out people with poor boundaries who we can leech off of.
This is why entitlement is such a big problem in intentional community specifically. People who possess this entitlement shadow subconsciously see an intentional community as a feeding ground. They do not see an intentional community in terms of what they can contribute, but instead in terms of what they can get out of it. As a result, they often unintentionally rip intentional communities apart. They live off of other people and make excuses as to why that arrangement is justifiable. They play off of other people’s poor boundaries so as to get their own needs met. It starts to feel like everyone is contributing to the community, like the community itself is a separate living being that everyone’s energy is dedicated to feeding, but that one person (or more) is just lazily benefitting from everyone else’s efforts.
I cannot tell you how many intentional communities have this unhealthy dynamic going on. Some intentional communities are literally made up of only two kinds of people; people who feel like they have to earn emotional support and companionship by providing things for people (transactional). These are people who believe they deserve nothing. And to the opposite, people who feel like they have a right to being provided for and who are only present when something is being provided for them (which is also transactional). These are people who believe they have a right to other people’s resources. These two types of people are a perfect vibrational match to one another but the intentional community that is founded on this premise, is destined to only last as long as the members continue their unhealthy patterns of relationship.
People often mistake entitlement as self-love. It isn’t. The reason it isn’t self-love is because at its root is a subconscious belief in one’s incapability, which is negative self-focus. Also, this behavior hurts the other person, which ultimately ends up hurting you.
Here’s the problem, people who have an entitlement complex are going to be the last people on earth to recognize this inside themselves. Instead, they will unbelievably see themselves as the people who give the most to others and who never have enough for themselves. They will believe other people to be the ones who are self centered. Their ego uses this as the cover for the subconscious truth of themselves. Why is this the case? For the ego to admit that the self leeches off of other people, it would immediately see itself as bad and also have to recognize that it isn’t inherently more special than anyone else. The ego cannot handle this reality on its own without the support of genuine conscious awareness.
Entitlement is an even bigger problem to face when you have fame or money. Just take a look at the Anti-Teal forums; they are full of people who believe they are entitled to my time and resources. If I don’t do an Ask Teal every Saturday or respond to an e-mail or don’t discount my workshop prices because they are struggling with money, I have failed to meet their expectations and so, they flip from fan to hater. You cease to be seen as a person and start to be seen as a resource to exploit for personal benefit. Expectations and assumptions are a big part of entitlement. For this reason, I suggest that you watch my video on YouTube titled: Priceless Love Advice, (Expectations and Assumptions).
If you fall into the category where you feel entitled relative to the universe itself, and therefore experience an inertia where you expect the universe to do it all for you, I want you to remember that you are the universe. When you take action, that is the universe taking action. And because the law of attraction mirrors things, energy put into something is matched by the universe at large. The commitment behind taking action is one of the most powerful vibrations on this earth and vibration is what dictates manifestation.
What can we do to not fall into the painful trap of entitlement?
1. We can take a seriously honest look at what we expect from the universe at large and most especially from other people. Ask yourself what you expect from this universe and also ask yourself what you expect from each individual person in your life. You can start with me if you’d like to. You can then develop self-awareness by questioning those expectations. Do you see any entitlement in those expectations? Are you consciously or subconsciously believing that you deserve or have the right to certain things that those people have that benefit you? Then, question whether that is beneficial or detrimental to both you and them. Also, take a look at the justifications you give for your entitlement tendencies. Moral licensing is what we call it. We make it ok to do things that are harmful to ourselves or other people because of some reason. So, we have the tendency to think it is ok to be entitled in certain situations because of x y or z.
2. Start to take a serious look at the maladaptive ways that you get your needs met by others when you know that asking for them outright will not be met with a yes. For example, you may be passive aggressive. You may use self-pity to get things like connection, support, emotional pampering, affirmation/self esteem, and affection or to escape from the guilt you feel for having made bad choices or having done the wrong thing. Or you may use punishment techniques, like withdrawal when people do not do what you want. All of these strategies will fail in the long run because people will begin to feel the manipulation behind them even before you do. This may just be the reason you have been ‘inexplicably’ losing friendships and other relationships left and right without an idea as to why.
3. Face your disappointment. If you haven’t done so already, watch my video on YouTube tiled: Disappointment (how to get over disappointment). Here’s a tip… If you struggle with entitlement, you will struggle with a chronic sense of disappointment. Everyone and everything will disappoint you because they are looking out for their own needs and wants when you expect them to spend their time doing what benefits you instead.
4. Take responsibility for your life. This is a profoundly powerful state of being. Responsibility is the opposite of a state of victimhood. To learn everything about responsibility, watch my video on YouTube titled: Responsibility, Why, When, and How to take it.
5. You have fallen into the trap of self-absorption. It is the unhappy consequence of past wounding. Celebrate other people and pay attention to other people getting what they need and want and use the pain and self pity you will inevitably feel as a result of doing this as your doorway into your own subconscious mind. I have created a process to resolve the past traumas that create patterns like entitlement. It is called The Completion Process. You can find a detailed explanation about how to do this process in my book that is quite literally titled The Completion Process. If you are struggling with a sense of entitlement, you will be doing a lot of work on traumas related to a feeling of powerlessness.
6. In your friendships and relationships, practice putting yourself in other people’s shoes. Practice figuring out their best interests and capitalizing on their best interests. Ask yourself, how would I feel if I were them instead of me? What impact does this thing I am asking or doing having on other people? I have offered a very powerful technique for doing this in my video called: The Octopus Technique.
7. Take action towards your needs and wants every day, no matter how little those steps may be. You didn’t learn this connection before, so it is a developmental delay. You need to see how your action creates results. There is no time like the present. For example, pick something that needs to be done and divide that thing into little steps. Take action to accomplish each of those steps. Each time you accomplish one, cross it off your list. Let yourself sit in the feeling of the accomplishment being the direct result of your own effort. Let the feeling of empowerment sink into the tissues of your body.
8. Assign responsibilities. In a family or community, this is critical. People who are part of a community to feed off of a community instead of to co-exist in a mutually beneficial way will not be able to assume responsibilities. You will be able to tell if you have unhealthy entitlement in a community the minute community responsibilities become assigned.
9. Stop bailing out the person in the community with a sense of entitlement. People with poor boundaries are enablers of false powerlessness. We tell ourselves things like: If we don’t do it, other people won’t and we can’t live with the consequences of it not getting done. We play into the feeling that we are completely responsible for them and that it is therefore our fault if someone else suffers as a result of their own lack of responsibility. We have to stop this behavior. And if you have someone in your community who is not taking responsibility in the community, the time for a serious talk about the dynamic going on and how to change it is now. The fact of the matter is that some people who are entitled and not interested to genuinely change that behavior are not ready for intentional community.
10. See that entitlement does the exact opposite of what you want. It pushes people away. It is inherently a self-absorbed and self-centered mindset and eventually, people will feel that all you care about is you, and so they will naturally gravitate away from you.
11. Start getting your needs and wants met either by yourself, or by people who actually do want to meet them. But you have to be attuned enough to actually be honest about whether people are doing things for you out of obligation or the result of your manipulation or because it genuinely makes them feel good to do those things. Keep in mind also that we may be happy to do things for a child or for a partner that we are not happy to do for a friend.
12. Contribute. Think about relationships in terms of what you can contribute. People will be much more likely to want to connect to you and also to meet your wants and needs from their hearts if they perceive you being a giving person instead of a taking person. Not only that, it is super empowering for someone struggling with a powerlessness complex, which is what entitlement is, to see the value that other people perceive in what they have to offer. In fact, it can be a total game changer.
If you have recognized your tendency towards entitlement, don’t sink into shame or more self-pity. That is just a loop to the very same behaviors within you that you don’t like in the first place. Instead, make the conscious choice to develop more equal and enjoyable connections with people in your life. Relationships that are mutually beneficial and empowering to everyone involved.