Take What’s Yours, For Relationships’ Sake!
What if I told you that forgetting to take and receive from other people is detrimental to all of your relationships? So many people are under the impression that displaying generosity and constantly giving are manners of being a good friend, spouse, or parent. Being kind and generous are absolutely wonderful qualities however, you also have to remember that taking and receiving what you are offered, is very important for your interpersonal well-being.
When I discuss this with my clients, I start a conversation about the term, entitlement. I define three types of entitlement: over entitlement, under entitlement, and healthy entitlement. Put simply, over entitlement is excessively, taking. Everything is yours first and your needs are always the most important, requiring more time and more care. Overly entitled individuals tend to be notoriously late, excessively blaming, and may have a short attention span in conversation with others. Under entitlement is essentially the opposite and involves, not taking. Excessively giving, is often involved too but I’d like to focus on how under entitled individuals do not leave themselves the space to receive and take what others give them. Under entitled individuals have a tendency to overly apologize (sometimes apologizing to inanimate objects out of habit ;)), always allow others to go first in line no matter the context, and unnecessarily thank people or thank people incessantly. There is clearly an element of self-sacrificing with these individuals.
Under entitled individuals do not realize that they are training people to disregard them and their needs. In not taking up any space in their interactions by continuously giving and never taking, they are teaching people that they themselves are not important and can therefore be bypassed and discarded. Moreover, by not receiving what they are offered, under entitled people are seen as unpleasable. If someone tries to please their under entitled partner, this person will feel irrelevant and unneeded if their kind gestures cannot be received by the under entitled individual. Essentially, these individuals are symbolically castrating their partner who is simply trying to show their love and appreciation. Years of “castration” can make the partner of an under entitled person feel unloved and unwanted.
So, for the under and over entitled, the goal is attaining a healthy beautiful blend of both giving and taking. I like to call this, healthy entitlement: taking what you are offered and/or what you deserve, while remembering to give in a way that respects your boundaries and the boundaries of others. What refreshing, beautiful balance!