BY OLIVIA SIELAFF
Have you ever caught yourself thinking that you are entitled to feel loved?
Especially around Valentine’s Day when talk of secret admirers and romantic dinner dates wafts around the cafeteria table, it’s easy to think we ought to be someone’s valentine.
Certainly there are many things we might rightly feel entitled to – a good education or a well paying job, for example. But is love one of them?
As you’ll read in one of our feature stories, this feeling of entitlement can become heightened by one such instance as the “ring by spring” mentality prevalent on college campuses today, including Franciscan University. Thinking oneself entitled to a perfect housewife or to be asked on a date is a set up for disappointment at the least.
This sense of entitlement manifests itself in subtle ways as well. Some of us may think our significant other needs to contribute more in the relationship, that we’ve done our fair share. Or we may think our household brothers or sisters should reach out to us and be attentive to our needs for a change.
When we begin thinking this way, we lose the essential meaning of love – that it is a gift, freely given. Eventually vanity and pride inflate us, and jealousy and contempt fog our view of others. We forget that love is not something to be expected but something to be cherished.
A few weeks ago in class, my philosophy professor brought up this struggle we often find ourselves faced with. But he also provided a solution: one of gratitude. If we reflect gratefully on the love that has been given to us already, we’ll see how undeserving we truly are. Yet we’ll be all the more thankful for and attuned to the love that exists in our lives.
Further, we’ll no longer be blind to all the opportunities we have each day to love one another. Rather than waiting for chocolates and roses, practice giving without expecting anything in return.
Valentine’s Day will come and go. But will our attitude of entitlement persist? Will we be upset when our expectations aren’t fulfilled? I admit it is oftentimes difficult to think otherwise, because the desire to receive love is deeply rooted in us.
Let’s not get into this destructive habit of thought. 1 Corinthians 13:5 says, “Love does not insist on its own way.” Instead of living for those moments when we feel loved, let us live to love others.