I’ve been looking for a definition that encompasses my meaning and feelings for the word entitled. Microsoft wasn’t helpful, nor were the additional sites it sent me to. Merriam Webster Dictionary was accurate but didn’t quite go far enough. I went to the Urban Dictionary and it was almost spot on but the language used on the site isn’t as refined as I would prefer it for my use here. So, I’m going to give you my definition:
The belief of when you are doing something that benefits the whole you should be compensated, taken care of and/or relieved from your efforts from time to time.
That said, I’ve been fighting with this concept all through the holidays. It really hit home when my nephew gave his 18 month old nephew an iPad mini. I’ve wanted one for like ever but I never have the money in hand at the best time to buy so I’ve just made due with my iPhone and my Kindle. Honestly, this almost brought me to tears. It shouldn’t but it did. I feel like I’m completely forgotten by the outskirts of the family. The Grandkids know what a handful their Grandmother is but as long as it doesn’t impact their schedule or cause them any hardship they deign to visit for an hour or so or call once every eclipse. [Don’t get offended, I’m not done yet.] After I wiped the tears away about the give before anyone could see them, I started to get angry. I’m doing all the heavy lifting both emotionally and a good portion of the time physically but the 18 month old is entitled to an iPad to help him learn his ABCs. (I’ve got an opinion on that but it’s not suitable for this forum….I’ll have it on Psyche-Stew soon. Then on top of all of this, my sisters have been pulling back and recognizing I need a break but only willing to dole it out in one to four hour increments. I need a Freaking Vacation….one that doesn’t include Mom, or a massage, or even just a weekend away so I don’t have the constant static of the baby monitor hissing in my ear while I’m trying to sleep. But mostly the recognize it but are too busy to do anything about it.
So, for kicks and giggles I sat down and figured out just what I feel I’m entitled to. We have someone during the day to take care of Mom, which is very helpful for me. However, that leaves me with 18 hours a day M-F and 24 hours per day for the weekend when Mom is all mine. I would want the three of us to rotate the weekends, for the sisters to come three to four times a week to spend time with Mom so she’s not completely glommed onto me all the time, help with cleaning the house and cooking [because, honestly, I suck at both]. send me to a spa on a regular basis and understanding when I reach out to them for help and/or support I don’t get a litany of the things they’re doing and a bright “Hang in there” before I hang up.
To sum it up, I want them to take over preferably all of the work and leave me with the praise and accolades I receive when people see me and I tell them what I do. Not much, really. 😉
NO ONE IS ENTITLED TO THAT.
The only thing I am entitled to is my life and my free agency. Beyond that, if Iwant to be entitled to something Ihave to find it within myself to provide those accolades and care I crave.
Merriam Webster got it right this time defining Surrender as:
: to agree to stop fighting, hiding, resisting, etc., because you know that you will not win or succeed
: to give the control or use of (something) to someone else
: to allow something (such as a habit or desire) to influence or control you
I’m not talking about backing away from my commitment to my mother or to my family. I’m not going to quit anything that I am already doing, that is not an option unless I plan to surrender who I am entirely. No, I mean I’m going to stop fighting with reality and waging a spiky-word warfare with unsuspecting siblings. My life, for now, is to be here for Mom, and I can’t do that fully if I’m allowing unhelpful thoughts discourage me and distract me into thinking that I’m being taken advantage of by the whole family. I surrender the illusion of entitlement. I realize everyone is doing the absolute most they feel they can do and I can’t ask, demand, or whine about them giving more. I’m the one who volunteered for this, to be the caregiver, and I will continue to give until my service is complete My choice. My free agency. And that is how it is for every persons life. I know that kind of has an over tone of I’ll-show-them, but I’ll assure you it’s not. I’m anxious to live my life, to get out and meet the oncoming trials head on and ready to wrestle them to the ground. For the first time I think in ever I am going to put my needs (writing, meditation, mental health, etc.) before anyone else’s. I will be my next caregiving opportunity, for that, I believe, I am entitled.