I know entitlement has a bad connotation to it. We think of fat cats complaining that their spoiled little brats can't run over the great unwashed in their $400,000 cars, or that they their darlings truly are gifted, they just get all F's because they're so brilliant and school is just not suited for their special brand of genius. Or this jerk in front of my house who has half parked with his butt hanging across half of my driveway, figures, he works for the city. They were also kind enough to leave my gate open which caused me to chase a certain poodle around the block. Eedjits!
But what about good entitlement, I think we like to cover it up in a word like expectations, but I kinda, sorta think its the same. Like I'm entitled to be treated politely, or I'm entitled to respect. We all have our expectations, high and low. Mine have been pretty low for a long time, I'm just coming to realize this. As I'm moving forward in this relationship, I'm learning new things that I haven't been privy to before. At first I was like "Wow, this is uber cool! I'm freaking spoiled!" but I was recounting a story of something that happened 10 years ago and as I'm telling it, I'm thinking, "Wow, that would never happen with BF" which caused me to pause and think for a bit. The nitty gritty of what happened isn't so important for this post, but what dawned on me, was that at the moment of that incident, I was entitled to better, not because I was so special, or that it was something that everyone was entitled to or wanted to be entitled to, but because it was something that was very important to my values and important in my relationships giving and receiving with people. So I started thinking of things overall and started to re-evaluate...and still am in the process of doing, of what sorts of things I felt like I deserved. Not to re-open old wounds or rehash the past, I'm way past that point, but it's been a valuable learning tool in going forward of my "expectations" in how I want to be treated. Why I like the word entitlement is that I do feel like I'm owed some things. Keys to the world would be great and really, if planet Earth wants a paradise, I strongly recommend that you do, but more realistically, if I treat someone with respect, I'd like that back. If I'm kind and generous to you, I'd like some back too. If I'm polite...you get the picture.
Anyhow, I've been reflecting a lot on my entitlement and have been putting it into practice. Largely by not being a doormat. A couple of weeks ago, I requested an urgent appointment with my doctor. I got an appointment in three weeks. I sucked that up (okay, I was a doormat there), about a week ago, the office calls me again this time requesting that I reschedule my son's necessary appointment I made several weeks back. I said no, I cannot because it fell right during pick up children from school time. I wasn't willing to push it back a couple of weeks and I very nicely, but firmly held my ground. The receptionist then asked me to stop being so inflexible. Remember my blog post about all the little Joy's running around in my head...well that comment caused Ghengis Khan Joy to emit a war cry and get the troops ready for battle. Somehow, diplomat Joy, who really is an awesome diplomat held back the full out war of the hissy fits and explained to the receptions just how flexible I have been (FOR THE PAST 13 YEARS!!!), but I must insist on this appointment for my son and to please get someone else to move their appointment kthxbye! Really, I'm not an unreasonable person and if I could have accomodated the request, I would have, but there were no viable options presented. I kept my appointment with my son, which I then had to miss, which is a long story, but on the record, I'm going to be the 10 year old and state that it wasn't MY fault.
Example two, which happened today at my local Costco. I got into a disagreement with the gas station attendant who's job is to direct traffic and avoid anarchy. However she came at me like a bull in a china shop with a nasty tone, and just being plain rude. Old me would have just sucked it up, new Joy said "Excuse me, you needn't use that tone with me, just explain it to me politely." She barely let me get a word in edgewise, but somehow I let her know that there is a way of getting her point across without being rude or trying to browbeat a customer. She then proceeded to talk smack about me with other customers...ummmm okay. I remained polite and firm, and the best I got out of her was "I'm sorry you feel that way." I told her, with no sarcasm in my voice (and that was HARD) that that was pretty much a non apology and she retorted with the classic "Whatever!". Ghengis Khan Joy has a really good case to mount a full scale war, but entitled Joy said "well, I'm going to have to talk to the manager about this." Then I got a "I don't care!" and I couldn't help it, but I laughed. It was just so ridiculous. Anyhow, I got my gas, marched myself into the Costco and in my nicest, warmest and most professional self, talked with the manager who apologised profusely. Again, I'm not an unreasonable person, if I'm doing something wrong, please, let me know, NICELY. I'll try and make my wrong right. If you're going to come at me like an angry wasp, the message is already lost. Ultimately though, if I'm at a store where I spend $300.00-400.00 a month in fuel alone, not to mention the gabillion litres of milk and staples I have to get, and throw in some impulse buys, yeah, I'm entitled to a little courtesy.
What is stunning about all this, is that I'm just discovering all this. It truly is new. I think it comes from my sense of self worth and as it is growing, I'm realizing that I'm just as entitled to good treatment in return for mine as anyone else. It's a very exciting revelation. And I know I am very capable of asserting myself firmly, but without unnecessary casualties. It's a small, but growing expectation or entitlement of mine, now the key is to keep it in check. Thank goodness for the oodles of salt of the Earth friends who are more than willing to kick me in my seat if I get too big for my britches.