Sunday, October 18, 2015

Gratitude vs. entitlement

Dear Rhonda and Dr. Cheri,

My family was really rich before they got divorced. My mom had her own business, got depressed, lost it and went bankrupt. She has no money now. My dad’s money for me is like nothing.

Mom takes my money, and spends it on new clothes for herself. I used to have new clothes for school, Homecoming and Prom. Now, I don’t want to go because I’m not going to look good.

Last year, I bought a $300 dress, $247 shoes, hair extensions, and makeup for homecoming. That was before they divorced.

This year, my mom said she would sew me a dress!

I got mad and told her I deserved new GOOD stuff more than she does. She cried and told me that I am so ungrateful for all I have. She said I was a brat! I told her I wasn’t going to homecoming looking like Cinderella before the ball.

My dad spends tons on his new girlfriend (who pretends to like me … but not so much). She wanted to lend me a dress, but then said it probably wouldn’t fit me. It’s like she meant I’m fat.

Both my parents tell me I don’t deserve anything until I show gratitude. Why aren’t they grateful for me? I don’t drink, do drugs, or get into trouble. I have good grades! It’s wrong!

Not Ungrateful

Dear Not Ungrateful,
Intense emotions are understandable when a family’s life and lifestyle changes. Divorce is a death of sorts. It’s an ending. It’s the ending of dreams, of security, and the end of “normal life.” It’s hard on everyone in a family, to say the least.

It’s normal to feel abandoned and condemned for wanting life the way it was.

It seems your issue may be about the things you aren’t getting anymore as much as the lifestyle you once had. We also think it’s not about what you deserve or don’t deserve.

The “things” all God’s children deserve and are entitled to have are life’s necessities such as shelter, food, medical care, nurturing, education and, most of all, love. Every parent needs to love and be grateful for their children. Every parent needs to be an example of living a lifestyle of gratitude.

However, no one is entitled to have “stuff” they used to have, wanted to have, and expect to have. 

Your changes are opportunities for you to develop into a giving, gracious, and grateful person.

Try to accept your present circumstances and change your lifestyle from an entitled one to one full of gratitude. Stop your entitled lifestyle.

Your new lifestyle of gratitude will bring you peace, true happiness, and the love you need and want. A self-centered life brings loneliness and fake relationships.

A lifestyle of gratitude is a way of being and living every day. Practice it. Experience the remarkable difference it will make for you forever.

Rhonda and Dr. Cheri       

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