Election years tend to push to the surface a common belief that binds together most, if not all, Americans: We are all entitled to things. So many things.
The list of demands presented by and to politicians goes on and on. I certainly am not innocent of wanting my share, and have often cataloged many things I am owed or would like to be owed as a proud American citizen, graduate of multiple college degree programs, scion of the Upper Middle Class, et cetera.
This is not a happy thought process. Inevitably I feel like I am not getting something I deserve. The antidote I, and many others before me, discovered? Gratitude.
Several moral philosophers position pride as the mother of all deadly sins that, by definition, cause suffering. Pride spawns a sense of entitlement. It hungers for external recognition and reward. A sense of entitlement sows misery because, as Morrissey once sang, “the gulf between all the things I need, and the things I receive, is an ancient ocean wide, wild, lost, uncrossed.” The core question a sense of entitlement poses is how much one is owed. There is an easy answer. I am owed nothing. I am given much.
The world and the people in it gave me and continue to give me a miraculous life. I have received far more than my share. When I think these thoughts, and center on all the wonderful people and experiences that have come my way through grace, I am serene.