Nancy Roman

You Are Entitled

Yesterday, a friend posted this meme on Facebook.


And in a way, I agree.

It aggravates me (like it probably aggravates everyone) to hear people complain that Life is not fair.

No. Life is not fair.

Sometimes you don’t get the job, even though you deserve it. Sometimes your marriage ends even though you gave it your best. Sometimes bad things happen to good people. And sometimes, good things happen to bad people.

Sometimes you have a right to complain your ass off. Cheating and discrimination and abuse should be exposed. By screaming.

But sometimes people bitch about trivial shit that – although certainly unfair – is just too bad. Just suck it up.

Someone cut in line and got waited on first. Someone got praised at the office for work that you did. Someone happened to be born richer than you.

Suck it up.

So, yeah, in some ways,  I agree with my friend’s meme – that the World doesn’t owe you much.

But I think that you ARE entitled to some things.

The World DOES owe you.

So let me revise that meme:


1. Children are entitled to be loved.  You didn’t ask to be born, but you were and someone – hopefully more than one person, but at least one – should have held your little body with love.

(And by the way, I hate the way the word “entitled” has been demonized. Entitled means you have EARNED it. It is yours. Social security is not a handout which you selfishly think the government should just give you. It is YOUR money that you earned and your employer matched because your employer owed that money to you as part of your wages. You are entitled to it, because it is YOURS.  Rant finished.)


2.  Not to starve. All living creatures – human and nonhuman – deserve enough nourishment to stay alive. Clean water. Decent food. We owe that to each other. We should not resent making sure that everyone eats, for God’s sake. And I will add this to the idea of starvation: the body can starve because of disease. We have amazing medical science. We should all be allowed access to it.




3. A formal education that transforms you into a literate, rational adult is the optimum goal. But at a minimum, the world owes you the benefit of the knowledge of those who have come before. Whether in school or in the community, adults need to share their knowledge. Someone should show you the ropes.



4. You are entitled to a place to live. And to feel safe in that place, both physically and emotionally. Your home should not be dangerous. It should not be full of poison or life-threatening hazards. It should be sturdy and clean. And no one should abuse you in your home. You should experience no violence, no threats. Everyone needs a place to be safe.




5. Respect. You have a right to be here. Your home may be your safe place, but you need to venture into the scary, unsafe world. You will contribute to that world with your body and your mind. You will give the world your effort, your ideas, and your children. Whatever you give deserves – if not appreciation – at least acceptance.  Acceptance of you – the way you are, not the way someone thinks you should be.

I have always loved the phrase “the pursuit of happiness.” I think Thomas Jefferson was exactly correct. No one owes you happiness. But they do owe you the right to pursue it. As long as your pursuit of happiness does not endanger anyone else. Because that is Disrespect.

And we all deserve Respect.

We’re ENTITLED to it.



  1. Oh-so-wonderfully said!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Sandy

    Love this. Thank you. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Reblogged this on mgshepard.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Reblogged this on ugiridharaprasad.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. That’s such an amazing post! I agree with it…completely! And particularly, everyone deserves RESPECT above everything else!


    • Thanks. We are all in this together.


  6. An excellent post…so true!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank you!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I loved this. Very well outlined. And I do agree to all, but I’m a bit on the fence with the last one… “Respect”. I don’t think this is an entitlement, as much as an earned outcome. And I so loved your reference to the Pursuit of Happiness. I actually just wrote an article about this in particular.


    • I get you on the “respect” point… maybe “acceptance” is a better word.


  9. lydiaschoch

    I couldn’t agree with you more. Great post!


  10. Can you hear me clapping and saying yes, yes, yes

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wonderful! Well done.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. I agree with every one.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Amen!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Karron

    That’s a good list. Especially since you defined entitled in its correct form. Too many people use the modern definition that basically says I want it so I deserve it. Nope. Earn it first. Then, the next step is to pass it forward. For example, give the server a better than average tip for good service and tell her thanks, she will pass that on by being a better server and by being in a better mood when dealing with less friendly customers. There is always a pay off, especially when paying things forward.


    • I’ve always loved the idea of paying it forward.


  16. Pam

    I agree that love and respect are the magic words. To be born into a world without love and respect is too hard to imagine.

    Every time I see that meme that you are entitled to nothing and the world owes you nothing, I kind of cringe because the first thing I think of is what would make someone say such a thing? It sounds so harsh. I think I know. That meme is loaded with greed – greed that someone may be getting more than you without working as hard as you. Or maybe fear that someone will get something for free that you aren’t. Not fair! I think it is meant to send a message to people who are getting entitlements ( not SS) from the government, but come on, those getting entitlements aren’t really living a full life. They are only getting the minimum amount to pay for the basic necessities of life. They really don’t have it better than you because they are getting a “freebie”. Their options in life are limited. As someone who is blessed with good health and good fortune and living in the most affluent country in the world, I don’t mind investing my tax dollars on feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, educating our youth, or giving medical care to the sick and poor, who for whatever reason, are not as fortunate as I am. Yes, there are a few who are “lazy” and defrauding the govt, but there are also those who are truly needy and not able to work. The world may not owe you these things, but I am glad there are generous souls who are willing to help fellow humans in need.


    • Yes! When I hear someone complain about those on government assistance or food stamps, for example, my first question is: “Would you change places with them?”


  17. Dad That Blogs

    This was a clever idea to turn a meme like this into a writing prompt. This particular meme was just asking for it.

    I agree with the first commenter though. I like all the points outlined except respect. Well, I like the sentiment of the point but it was the wrong word. Respect is earned. Respect is a feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements.

    I don’t think acceptance is the quite the right word either. I think acceptance implies agreement or resignation.

    Maybe tolerance? If everyone were able to let people be who they are (as long as, like you said, they don’t endanger others) the world would be an amazing place. We could then give everyone opportunity to better their lives and earn respect (and a decent living).

    But then again, your point was made and “we all deserve tolerance,” doesn’t sound quite as nice as “And we all deserve Respect.”


    • Interesting and salient points. Word choice matters, but it can be difficult because it is so nuanced. I’m going to write further on this subject.


  18. I came by your post by chance ! Thank you . I have had this feeling the world thrives on guilt . guilt of expectation , guilt of hope and guilt to want to be rewarded. Life comes with entitlement to live . You have worded it so well about the entitlement of each life having the right to live . The purpose of life and Life are two different things and thanks for helping me understand that to an extent .

    Liked by 1 person

  19. A very sharp blog, Nancy. You started out with nothing and I’m going yeah! Go for it! Then you went on with sensible, real things that all humans deserve. And I felt dumb going Go For It! at the beginning instead of where it belongs — at the end.


    • Thank you for seeing the transition, Claudia.


  20. You have a very solid foundation!

    Liked by 1 person

  21. wepz

    Chance upon your post and this was exactly what I needed. Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Hmmm, I’m torn. Part of me agrees with the first version and part of me agrees your edited version. I really want to believe in your version but the other one niggles at my brain.


    • it certainly is complicated. I struggle with it myself.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. I personally feel we are entitled to things we strongly feel should happen….
    may be deserving….


    • Just because you want something doesn’t mean you are entitled to it, but wanting something badly enough really does go a long way to making it happen.


  24. Didn’t Tammy write a song about it, or was that divorce?


    • That was D-I-V-O-R-C-E of course. But I am talking about the great Aretha: R-E-S-P-E-C-T….how I love that one!


  25. I totally agree that it’s kind of nuts that the word “entitled” has been completely demonized. You’re so right about that. Same with the word “privileged”. I think it is important to understand these words and self reflect upon them but I’m not sure the way we most commonly use them today is really productive or even healthy. There are plenty of things I am entitled too. My work benefits, vacation, pay, etc. My home of which I pay for. These are entitlements. It would be silly for someone to tell me otherwise. If I were robbed of those things I would stand up and fight. No, entitlement certainly isn’t a bad thing. But does the world owe me anything? Hmm… Interesting. I guess I agree with you for the most part. Ideally everyone should be entitled to these things. I suppose people all should get the benefit of the doubt when it comes to respect. This is the one I worry most about. There are certainly people that I would be incapable of respecting that I don’t think are entitled to it.

    Great post! I’m new to blogging and am trying to branch out. If you have some time to check out my blog that would be greatly appreciated. 🙂


  26. Tell us about yourself, your business.



  1. You Are Entitled — notquiteold – idea
  2. R-E-S-P-E-C-T | notquiteold
  3. Everything you are Entitled to. – Protiguous
  4. You Are Entitled – Protiguous

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