The Danger of Self-Entitlement

Image by Steve Snodgrass (Creative Commons)

It’s 9 am.

I’m grumpy, agitated, drained.

A knot jumbles in my stomach. Self-doubt pumps itself through my veins. I’m anxious. I’ve taken a year off to write a book and I wonder—was it worth it?

Do I even have something unique to say? Was I meant to be a writer, or something else? My father is a handyman, my brother a skilled carpenter.

Is language my gift?

I don’t know.

I sip my second cup of bean coffee. I wonder how much more energy I have to schlep out another day at the desk.

My parents think I’m crazy. My father especially likes to fancy me a delinquent. I read books all day, ‘saying’ I’m going to make a stab at this writing gig. He doesn’t get it.

But I’m sure there are others out there who do, who battle the same bitch daily. Have you ever wondered how much longer it’ll take before you break through? How much more you’ll have to give before you get? You might even begin to expect, no, demand people’s attention. Living the creative life can be frustrating.

But when you start looking for sympathy, you’re like an attention-seeking drama queen—or a spoiled seventeen-year-old boy who got a mustang on his seventeenth birthday.

Self-entitlement—you want to be loved, to finish first place, to get instant rewards. You hate struggle.

Self-entitlement is dangerous.

When your knees tremble and frustration towers, do not get pulled into the snobbish abyss. The world owes you nothing. Nobody asks for your art, your screenplays, your music. The sun will rise long after your brush has dried up or your thoughts have grown stale.

The worst thing you can do is think you’re entitled to fame, to glory, to money. Nobody calls you forward to create. You call yourself forward.

I’ll remember that the next time I wake up grumpy, lazy, dreading the work that awaits me. I’m the one who chose this path. Nobody asked me to do it.

I’m just grateful for the chance to work with things I love—words, language, powerfully constructed sentences. The moment I cave in to my feeling of self-entitlement is the moment I lose my direction and wilt under a heavy heart. Instead of demanding things from the world, from now on I’ll be thankful for what the world has already given me—the chance to create everyday.

That’s enough for me.

Is it enough for you?

Best,
Aaron.

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