” Though beauty gives you a weird sense of entitlement, it’s rather frightening and threatening to have others ascribe such importance to something you know you’re just renting for awhile.”
– Candice Bergen (1946 – )
I was recently in an airport and noticed this girl sitting across from me. She was dressed to the nines in designer clothing, an expensive handbag, and pricey purchases she was going to carry on to the plane. She was quite young, probably in her early 20’s, and had an air of snootiness about her. I know it’s not really fair to ascribe to her a haughty personality without having met her, but it did get me thinking about other people I have actually known in recent years that looked like her.
I’ve noticed a certain sense of entitlement amongst people in America. They have to be first. They have to have the best. They have to have the latest in technology. They have to dress only in name brands. They have to drive expensive cars. They roll their eyes at people they feel are beneath them. The list can go on.
I have a theory….We are bombarded by media messages that “you are beautiful the way you are”, “you deserve the best”, “you can have it now and probably pay for it much later”, “self-esteem, self-esteem, self-esteem!” Parents buy into these philosophies, and teach their kids that not only can they have it all, but they absolutely will. They buy them the latest toys, video games, and movies the second they come out. The material cravings are met right away without having to either wait for it or work for it. The kids grow up into adults expecting everything to just come their way, and often don’t care who they push aside on their quest to get what they want. I wonder if the current crisis of housing foreclosures aren’t, in part, a result of these “must have it now” ideals ignoring the inevitable consequences of such arrogant thinking.
Quite frankly, self-esteem flies in the face of care for our fellow man. Even in a passage of the Bible written roughly 2000 years ago, Philippians 2:3 says “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” And what is commonly known as “The Golden Rule” flies in the face of self-esteem teaching. It often is quoted as “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” This “others first” philosophy has roots in the Bible as well. Amongst several passages that relay it, Luke 6:31 says, “And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise.” The opposite of self-esteem is humility.
I don’t typically get so heady in my blog posts, but this is something that bothers me quite often. Interesting that a random airport sketch could serve as a reminder to “think of your fellow man, lend them a helping hand…”