Letting go of entitlement

It is often said we are living in the age of entitlement. That is, people have become increasingly self-centred and have an inflated sense of deserving the world without putting in the hard work.

Many believe this is because we’ve made life so busy for ourselves. Technology is always there and life has become 24/7 seven days a week. Hand in hand with that, people are increasingly stressed and the world becomes frustrating when things don’t go our way.

There is lots of talk about rights rather than responsibility.


Entitlement is the opposite of mindfulness. After all, it’s easy to sit back and point the finger at others or make demands. What’s harder is taking personal responsibility for yourself and focusing on more mindful communication.

People with a strong, overriding sense of entitlement can be a nightmare to be in a relationship with. They’re likely to have one set of rules for themselves but another for others. They may expect a lot of favours but do little in return – or make a song and dance about everything. Conversations often focus on them, their feelings, their frustrations, their goals.

Such entitlement in friends is hard work too. Imagine cancelled plans, frequent bailing and letdowns.

And on social media, these will be the people who look for fights and go into battle intending to win. They believe their opinion is the only opinion and they are always right. There is a lot of emotional pollution on social media caused by inflated entitlement!

Rather than fixating on everyone else’s entitlement, the place to start is in the mirror. Letting go of entitlement starts with ourselves. Mindful communication goes hand in hand with empathy: understanding what’s going on from another person’s perspective.

Letting go of entitlement begins with accepting it exists. We can all do better and curb our entitlement more.

If you’re running in a permanent state of entitlement it’s likely those around you will frustrate you. Everyone and everything becomes an annoyance because the more you expect, the more you’re let down when everything doesn’t go your way.

All things mindful begin with slowing down. When you can slow down your thoughts, you can slow down your emotional reaction and become more mindful and careful in your response.

In taking ownership for that domino effect you can take a breath, push away your feelings of frustration, draw in compassion for others and respond in a more measured, considerate way.

So, in letting go of our sense of entitlement we can become calmer and treat others more respectfully. In psychology so-called ‘capitalisation research’ shows that promoting other people’s successes has a positive effect on the sharer. In other words, putting our own entitlement aside feels good!

Where to begin?

  • Press pause – step off the rollercoaster and give yourself a little time to think.
  • Living in a constant state of chaos with cluttered thoughts and emotions crashing into each other is stressful and not good for our mental health.
  • Take a walk – make an effort to create the time to reflect even if it’s only 10/15 minutes.
  • Think about your inner circle – who is frustrating you? Why? How may you be able to handle that differently without your own sense of entitlement?