Tuesday, October 16, 2012

ENTITLED AMERICANS

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I heard the tone of his voice when he laughed and braced myself. I knew Ray was about to launch into a story cocked and loaded with a lesson directed straight for me. 

There was this comedian he watched on t.v. earlier that day. A comedian who poked fun of spoiled Americans who carelessly take water for granted. I knew it. This story WAS directed at me and I knew what was coming next. It was going to be about my aversion to tap water. 

Ray couldn't recount the story without laughing every few minutes. This comedian whose name he couldn't remember leveled Americans for not valuing water for the precious resource it is. Where other areas of our vast globe lacked this valuable resource we were building water parks and turning our noses up at tap water. 

I admit it. I AM a water snob. Ray has no problem drinking directly from the tap which I find revolting. Once when I was in excruciating pain from fever blisters he gave me tap water to drink with my pain medication. I refused it. So yes, I'm one of those spoiled entitled Americans this comedian made fun of. 

Ray's story brought to mind the work of Thirst Relief International. Their mission: to overcome death and disease resulting from the consumption of contaminated water by providing safe, clean drinking water to those in need around the world. Where various parts of the world are consuming contaminated water I'm here in the land of plenty refusing to drink it from the tap because of its icky metallic taste. 

I reflected on other areas of my life where I've felt entitled. When events or situations didn't go my way I railed at the heavens for the unfairness of life. When I didn't receive what I've been desperately longing for I sulked in my self-absorption and self-centeredness. When we were at a grease pit and the breakfast we ordered took a half hour to be prepared we fumed in anger and impatience. When I've labored at a job I'm miserable in I felt it's the company's duty to create nirvana in my 8 hour workday.  

And here's the doozy of entitlement: As a young mother I put in my ample share of sacrifices and hard work so now I'm entitled to a happy, easy, carefree, life of travel and the pursuit of making my dreams come true. Right. 

I'm not sure at what point in my life I deemed myself royalty with loyal subjects ready to do my bidding and every wish in my heart granted. When I wake up every morning there are no ladies-in-waiting to dress me, serve me breakfast, or brush my unkempt hair. No liveried servant is at my beck and call waiting to assist me into my carriage driven by my appointed coachman. I have no personal travel agent sending me to faraway places or agents who have booked extraordinary photography gigs at my disposal. There is no inheritance containing an exorbitant amount of money from which I can freely live off of. 

When did I become entitled? The answer to that question is still a mystery and I won't waste time trying to solve it. I'd rather spend my valuable time rupturing my delusions of grandeur by...

  • being grateful for what and who I have in my life. Simple as that. 
  • embracing the things that go wrong in my life so I can appreciate when the right things happen even if it didn't happen the way I wanted or planned. 
  • surrounding myself with people who have a global perspective instead of a myopic me-me-all-about-me one. 
  • continuing to read blogs about those who volunteer for non-profit organizations such as A Life Surrendered with Operation Baby Rescue
  • finding ways to serve others every day whether it be through action or words like Stefanie Brown in Uplifting Words.
  • keeping my eyes on things above to remind myself that I'm not entitled to EVERYTHING I want, desire, and long for.
  • drinking tap water...errr, when filtered isn't available. 
As I rid myself of the accoutrements of self-entitlement I hope to be a blessing to others AND stop the spoiled-brat-everything-is-about-me-I-get-everything-I-want act. It's seriously unbecoming for someone in my ripe age of cough cough. For your reading pleasure I stumbled across this when I typed "self-entitlement" into Google: What does "sense of self-entitlement" mean? Do filipinos have this trait?