Being Entitled is like Digging your Grave

Sense of entitlement: when someone believes that they deserve certain privileges and they’re arrogant about it. I don’t know if there’s a cure for having an entitlement mentality.

There’s a culture of entitlement in this country. It’s something that’s eaten very deep into our psyche, something you should work hard to crush, if you should ever notice it in yourself. Whether you’re in the market, at your workplace or at home, you’ll come face to face with this trait.

One of the commonest manifestations is in the practice by many tribes, of stripping widows of their properties and that of their late husbands. In many cases, the man has barely passed on when this happens. At my former job, I had this colleague whose husband was working in the same establishment. He got sick and had to have a surgery, which led to complications because he chose a cheaper facility, rather than one with well-trained professionals. When he became very ill, she had to ask for time off to tend him. While she ran up and down, none of his relatives showed up. Fearing that he would die, she sent a message to them, urging them to come to his bedside.

His family sent a few representatives. They came, shook their heads in a show of sadness. Having done that, they came to our office and asked to see the accountant. When he asked why they wanted to see him, they informed him that they wished to know who was listed as their brother’s next of kin, and how much the person would be getting when he died. Shocking, yes? Almost as shocking as what happened the following week. The man did die, and while he was still in the hospital, these representatives dragged the widow to the office in order to begin the process of collecting the death benefits, which was about half a million naira. They returned with her when the process was complete and as soon as the money was handed over to her, they made sure to collect it.

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Another form of entitlement is when a man has married and his family want to keep acting like he hasn’t begun a family of his own. In fact, his mother will move into his home, saying no one can cook her son’s favourite meals like she does. His siblings will keep demanding for his money and time, as if he doesn’t have a wife.

Many women are steeped in this culture of entitlement. They believe that once they’re in a relationship with a man, he should cater to their every need. This, even when they’ve got jobs and earn good pay. Many married women don’t believe in contributing equally for the upkeep of their homes, even when they earn more than their spouses.

Children feel entitled to their parents’ wealth and have bitter fights whenever a parent dies without leaving a will or when they don’t get anything in the case where there’s a will. Many adults feel entitled to respect they haven’t earned, even when they’re being asses. In a long line of traffic, there’s always that one fellow who jumps the queue, pulls up ahead of you and demands to be let back into the queue in front of you.

Shall I even mention the politicians and their entitlement over elected positions? The youth who constantly demand jobs from the government while they do nothing but faff about? The security guard at the popular fastfood place who always asks you to, “Do happy weekend for the boys,” ask if he’s not earning a salary.

I wish these entitled people would know that no one in this life—not even life itself—owes them anything. I’d like them to know that it is a good thing to pay for things. That oshofree dey purge belle is not a myth. That always wanting free stuff is like digging a grave for their abilities, and fighting over things they haven’t earned is the height of stupidity and doesn’t speak well of anyone.

I wish there was a vaccine or a cure—I’d willingly purchase it for many of myself and my fellow countrymen and women.

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