Deadly Sins: The New Testament

Pride, Lust, Envy, Greed, Gluttony, Wrath, Sloth…traditional deadly sins of which we are all familiar and from which we all suffer. From these core drivers come the ugliest of human behavior – betrayal, deceit, violence…

But there is a new sin emerging.

Or rather one which has emerged and has fully gripped our society: Entitlement.

Entitlement looks a lot like Greed, but it’s become so much more all-consuming and rampantly present than simple Greed. Greed is defined as an “intense and selfish desire for something, especially wealth, power, or food.” So Greed, in short, is desire. Entitlement is, somewhat benignly I think, described as “the fact of having a right to something.”

Well, we’re Americans, so rights a good thing, yes? In fact we built a country on the premise of having certain inalienable rights, did we not?

So what’s the problem?

It’s this: We have, through intent or ignorance, fostered an entire nation filled with individuals who genuinely believe they are entitled to their greed. The world owes us something, we are entitled to all that is available in the free world, and we are entitled to have it without working for it, paying for it, earning it.

Coincidentally, while searching for the exact definition of Entitlement, Google was kind enough to provide this Entitlement Definition & Graph that shows an exponential increase in the use of the world Entitlement starting in 1950. Perhaps we’ve twisted it’s meaning for our own selfish purposes, as humans often do with so many things, and now here we sit with Entitlement compounding Greed and leaving us with only a weak, lazy, spoiled people to represent us, to carry us forward.

How proud our forefathers must be.

I did not grow up rich, and I’m not rich today. My parents were not married. My dad was an alcoholic. I did not grow up in one place. There were days I wore dirty clothes to school. I was not one of the popular kids, and no one paid for my education. I made bad choices, did stupid things, and have had to reconcile myself with a lifetime of regret. I’m up to my ears in debt for a multitude of reasons.

And while there are things I desire, I want for nothing. I’m proud of what I have because I worked – and continue work – my ass off to get it. And so I know the value – not the worth but the value – of my life. I can’t imagine being happy any other way.

If you want a better life: work for it. Earn your way, build your world, make the right choices, lay your own foundation brick by brick, and then keep doing that and appreciate all you have created. Revel gloriously in your own ability to survive under any circumstance.

If you fight one sin fight this one. Fight Entitlement.

Because here’s the thing…

Parents, children, all those of you who live today, those who believe their lot in life is not of their making, those who will have a hand in raising future generations or touching lives, hear this now and believe it: The world owes you…nothing.

Know What I Mean-Girls?

Hello again, my friends and (semi) loyal readers,

As promised at the beginning of this journey, I am consistently inconsistent and thus it has been far too long since I last regaled you with my incredible wit and whimsey. And on that same theme, since I wrote about my amazing mom at our last encounter, I am pulling a 180 and diving into to the ever-present-and-popular topic of bitches. Or ‘Mean Girls’ as is the current lingo.

Who are they? What do they do that makes them mean girls? WHY are they so damn mean? And what impact do they have on us? Do they EVER grow up and see the error of their ways?

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Having very few answers to these questions, I turned to the warehouse of all valuable knowledge: social media. 😉

I got a variety of answers back, including that some of my own friends counted themselves among the Mean Girls. What!?!? A brave admission. And it had me thinking about some of my own Mean Girl moments (more on that in a minute).

The common themes around the reasons for bitchy behavior were jealousy, a need for power, a need for attention, and insecurity. As a proponent of core cause problem solving, it seems these all relate to the latter – insecurity. How can I be cool? How can I stand out? How can I be the Queen Bee? In shot, how do I feed my baser instincts by establishing dominance? Evidently, the answer is “by being a bitch.” Tearing other people down, making people laugh – especially at the expense of someone else – is a way of being named the Alpha Female. (And let’s by honest, guys do it too. It’s just that women are more insidious and cut throat – we are a gender of survivors.)

I have even fallen into the trap of fighting for Alpha status once or twice on my own, in addition to being the target of other mean girls.

What the mean girls fail to realize is that the best Alphas, true Alphas, don’t establish their status purely through brute force and fear. Sure, physical prowess is a part of what makes them special, but more importantly they fill a critical role in the social stability of a pack. They are the center of organization – they maintain discipline, family, relationships, order, and love. This isn’t accomplished through malice and subterfuge the way the typical Mean Girl works.

About a week after I started this piece, I reunited with some of the same friends I queried via Face Book. It was, of course, a blast. However, though I had already been mulling over the one memorable Mean Girl moment of my life (convincing my group of friends to call a poor, unfortunate girl by the unflattering moniker ‘Baboon’ – I was 15 an not especially clever or creative), I found that something about being surrounded by my ‘pack’ I nearly Mean Girled a tipsy bride-to-be (who, in my meager defense, was about as obnoxious as one small drunk girl can be). She interrupted a crucial game of midget-bar-hosted Giant Jenga (you’d think in a midget bar that Giant Jenga would be regular Jenga, but you’d be wrong – it’s truly giant jenga made out of two-by-fours) that I was winning, and of which I ultimately became the champion, by simply waltzing in while my back was turned and proceeding to very nearly damage the outcome.

I believe my exact words upon turning around and finding Bride-to-Be Barbie nearly destroying my chances at victory were, eloquently, “What the fucking fuck?”

Fortunately, she must have smelled my wannabe Alpha pheromones and wisely (and figuratively) turned her throat to me in a display of vulnerability which allowed me the opportunity to adjust my attitude (AKA pull my head out of my ass) and graciously allow the budding bridezilla her turn at the game. Lucky for her…I mean…fortunately for me and my fellow Jenga competitors, she did not ruin the incredible streak we had going.

It just goes to show that even in my advancing years, and supposedly advancing maturity and wisdom, we all have a little Mean Girl and a little Alpha Wolf in us when the occasion calls for it. The important things is the remember the distinction.