“Like so many others in this century I found myself a displaced person shortly after birth and have been looking half my life for a place to take my stand. Now that I have found it, I must defend it”Edward Abbey
As I heal, as I grow, and as I come home to myself, I find the need to continually establish stricter boundaries for the people in my life and those I encounter. I was subconsciously and unconsciously raised to be a people-pleaser. I was raised with the subconscious belief that others are more important than myself. I was raised with the understanding that I am obligated, and duty bound to share my bounty of beauty, love, intellect, peace, and abundance with others. In fact, not only should I give, but I should give to others before I give to myself. I have lived with that belief and mindset for a good 35 years.
And the result? I have allowed people to take advantage of me. I have allowed others to continually come to my well of sacred water to drink, satisfy their thirst and leave better than they came. I have poured and poured and poured into others. Even when there was nothing left to give, I gave. I have been empty for years, believing that I was doing the right thing and that I would be rewarded for it at a later date. I truly lived my life with the notion that it was better to give than to receive. Only, I was always on the giving end and never the receiving end from most people in my life.
But then something happened. I woke up. I realized that as Malcom X said:
Oh, I say and I say it again, ya been had!
Ya been took!
Ya been hoodwinked!
I had been hoodwinked. I was not obligated to anyone. I don’t owe anyone shit! Just because I have it, doesn’t mean I must give it. Just because you don’t have it, doesn’t mean you are entitled to mine. We teach children that it is nice to share, and it is. But no one tells them they should only share if it doesn’t leave them empty, diminished and longing.
The spirit of entitlement is dangerous. There is a difference in wanting something from someone and feeling entitled to what they have. Entitlement has an aura of arrogance that allows the entitled person to overstep boundaries and disregard the needs of the person they feel owes them. They can become manipulative and conniving. Or even a bully. Entitled people lack personal responsibility. They are emotionally immature and underdeveloped. They are often lazy and sometimes so damaged they can become narcissistic.
As someone who is surrounded by entitled individuals, I have begun to establish boundaries. I have begun to say NO when asked for money, or other resources that I simply don’t want to give. And you know what happens? Others look at me as if I have done something wrong… And I have. What I have done is change the dynamic of the relationship. I have stopped giving, they have stopped receiving, and they don’t like that. Then I become the bad guy. Selfish, mean, acting funny. “you acting different” is what they say, Yes I am. I am acting in my own best interest. I am protecting what I have worked and sacrificed to get. I am protecting the treasure I have unearthed from having the courage to heal and set myself free. I am no longer sharing the spoils of the inner war I have fought with my demons and won. Yes, I’ve changed. I am taking back my personal power and doing what is best for me and not you.
Then the guilt trip begins. You are made to feel bad that you are who you are and have what you have. You are made to feel guilty for the blessings you have, the favor and grace that has been afforded to you. But I am here to tell you, healing is not a group project. It is every man for himself. And you are allowed to reap what you have sown alone. I don’t owe anyone anything. I don’t owe you a piece of my peace. I don’t owe you a share of my happiness. I don’t owe you a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear. I am not here to give you what you never had. I am not obligated to stand in the gap and be the mother, father, lover, or friend you have never had. I am not here to hold space for you. I am not here to be your crutch while you continually avoid the healing you must engage in. I am not here to be your punching back, the projector by which you replay every trauma, ache, and pain. I am not obligated to watch you self-destruct or participate in the drama that is your life.
My message to the entitled, “I don’t owe you shit”.
My message to those surrounded by entitled people; you don’t owe them shit. Please, find the strength to love yourself a little more. Take a stand and defend it for all its worth. Don’t be afraid to lose people who were never really a loss. Know that you are worthy and finally…
“Love yourself the way you loved them, and you will be healed”N.S
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