Debbie O'Keefe


How Expectations and Entitlement Are Tearing Us Apart

The Great Divide

June 09, 20224 min read

Everything’s going up! Gas prices, utility costs, grocery prices, house prices…The list goes on and on. Everyone seems to notice these things and thinks that so much of this is to blame for the state of the world and why people are so unhappy. While these things certainly don’t help and greatly contribute to the “crankies,” they’re not solely to blame.

There are two things I’ve noticed have become more and more abundant in our society and culture that have been significantly contributing to our anger and unhappiness and have (as my grandfather used to say) “nothing to do with the price of fish.” I’m talking about good old-fashioned expectations and entitlement.

The Oxford Dictionary defines expectations as, “a belief that someone will or should achieve something,” and defines entitlement as, “the belief that one is inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.” I can hear you laughing and see you shaking your head as you read these definitions. You’re thinking to yourself, “Oh yeah! This sounds like a lot of people I know, and they are some NASTY SOB’S!

“When we replace a sense of service and gratitude with a sense of entitlement and expectation, we quickly see the demise of our relationships, society and economy.” -Steve Maraboli

Here are some of the most common ways entitlement and expectations are demonstrated and inevitably result in dissatisfaction, unhappiness and destruction of many relationships:

  • You want people to leave you alone and respect your right to make your own choices and live your life the way that feels good and right for you, but frequently judge, criticize, condemn or advise others about the choices they make, the things they do and ways in which they live their lives.

  • You frequently say, “I shouldn’t have to…” when talking to others and believe that society, friends, family, colleagues and others have a responsibility and obligation to ensure your happiness and well being by doing certain things, behaving and treating you a certain way and providing you with certain things. (ie: “I should have to tell them what I need. I shouldn’t have to be the one to call. I should have to ask them to do it, they should just know they should/want to do it.”)

  • You feel victimized, uncared for and unloved because the way, quantity and quality of which people demonstrate their love and affection for you doesn’t meet your expectations (ie: they don’t initiate contact via phone calls, e-mails, texts or visits, sympathize, ask you how you are, etc. enough).

  • You believe people don’t support you because they don’t take your side or agree with you on certain issues or against other people in your life.

  • You don’t speak up or express and/or passive-aggressively hint and imply your wants and needs to others. When people fill or meet those wants and needs, you resent, blame, and go so far as to punish them (silent treatment, trash talking, withholding affection, etc.) for not anticipating and accommodating your wishes.

  • You make choices and decisions in your life that bring about undesirable and/or challenging results/consequences and expect other people to take responsibility for fixing them for you, joining you in your pain and suffering, and/or resent others for “having it so much better.”

James A. Garfield once said, “The truth will set you free, but first it will make you miserable.” I’ve got to tell you firsthand and from experience…. he couldn’t be more right! The truth isn’t easy, and it can hurt. It’s a bitter tasting medicine and tough to swallow. But until we’re willing to hold our noses and choke it down, quite frankly, things are never going to change.

It took a lot of courage to come to terms with myself and brought on a lot of tears once I was willing, ready and able to accept and own up to the fact that at one time or another in my life, I have been guilty of all of these things. It wasn’t until I was willing to accept these truths that I was able to heal the hurts that led me to create them, finally be able to release them and make the choices and take the actions that allowed me to love more genuinely and unconditionally and have more meaningful, connected and fulfilling relationships.

I encourage and invite you to take a look and what expectations you may have towards the people in your life, anything you feel you may be entitled to that people “aren’t giving you” and any blame, punishment or punishment you may be inflicting on others for not “measuring up” in your life. You’ll be amazed at how simply becoming aware can ease your suffering and improve the quality of your life and your relationships. It’s not always easy and it doesn’t always feel good, but…I PROMISE! IT’S SO WORTH IT!

We all need help and support to help us as we journey to rise to the highest version of all that we are meant to be and live our greatest lives. Join me and an incredible group of women in Rising Together where you experience the genuine connection and sense of belonging you’ve always wanted within our inspiring and supportive soul sister community.


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Debbie O'Keefe

Debbie is an intuitive empath, motivational speaker and writer as well as a certified solution focus coach and transformation coach. She is also a wife, mother, sister, friend and a recovering "people-pleaser" and "approval addict." Debbie shares her gifts with people all over the world providing them with the Divine guidance and support needed to make empowered choices and live their best lives. Her mission in life to use the gifts of her life experiences to help others find purpose in their pain, to heal their deepest heart hurts and inspire them to make empowered choices that help them live a life they genuinely love while loving themselves in the process. Debbie lives in upstate New York with her incredible husband, Peter and her two beautiful daughters, Rebecca and Sarah. She enjoys sharing her musical talents with others playing flute and singing and replenishing her spirit in nature.

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