By Chad Scott Nellis
As a professional musician and yoga instructor I travel quite a bit seeking to expand myself and pass along as much inspiration and enlightenment as possible. On one occasion I had the great pleasure of hanging out in Ohai California for a few days with Hemalayaa Beihl, the Bollywood Dance series creator. She was a fascinating, fun and beautiful woman, who said something that has resonated with me since we met almost two years ago.
We had been discussing relationships, what makes them work or fall apart and her own personal growth over the years. During the conversation she asked me: “Do you know what the difference is between a Princess and a Queen?” (If you’re a guy just insert Prince and King as this applies to everyone)
Barring the obvious answer, I knew there was some deeper underlying distinction which my brain hadn’t quite registered so I humbly said “no” to which she replied, “The difference between a Princess and a Queen is that a Princess feels entitled to everything and a Queen feels she must earn it first.”
I thought to myself wow, that pretty much sums up most relationships including a few of my own, which ended with classic princess responses like: “you don’t deserve me” and “I was waiting for your to save me.” Not only did it apply to my relationships but to a good portion of self induced pain in my own life. Hemalayaa went on to explain, “A Princess is one who demands life and when it is not given to her, she expresses her tantrums. The Princess thinks she is above all else, and expects everything. A (true) Queen is gracious, generous and patient. A Queen is approachable, humble, and on heart level with all”
From that moment on I began to think about the daily episodes of entitlement I would experience, like the prince on the freeway who never bothered to use his blinker while dangerously cutting me off, as if to say “hey this is my road.” Or the pretty princess at the yoga studio who cast an iron wall between herself and all who approach her, as if they were unworthy of being in her presence. Or what about the prince who cut in line at the movie theater as if the world revolved around him. “You owe me, the world owes me, I’m entitled,” I can just hear the voices in tantrum. I could go on forever and now that you’ve read these examples of entitlement rampant everywhere in society, you too may start noticing a lot more how people express this frustrating and growth killing emotion.
The more people I talked to the more insight I found into this emotionally explosive subject. In my quest to find my own queen I met another wonderful woman Debbie Lichter, the creator of Blossom Pilates, who is well known in her community for empowering women to rise above their challenges. I posed the same question that had been posed to me: “what is the difference between a princess and a queen?” To my amazement she replied without hesitation, “A princess wants to be saved and a queen has come into her power.” I thought to myself, if she can walk that talk, I’ve got a real Queen on my hands.
From this experience I began to realize the historical and mythical component of what it meant to be a princess, which some cultures worship or even aspire to become. The problem with entitlement is that it may work for your relationship with your mom or dad, who hopefully love you unconditionally, but in the real world it doesn’t buy you much in the way of genuine lasting relationships or success.
So how does one battle the demons of “entitlement” to create amazing relationships, successful careers, tap into their true power and reach enlightenment?
First, if we take a scientific approach, it’s a well known fact that we act according to our neurological associations created in our brain, which become wired or connected based on what we are condition to believe. The more we come in contact with a stimulus the stronger the connections become and the harder they are to break. For instance, if your answer to a denial of a relationship or a failure in life is “they don’t deserve me or I’m too good” and you say this every time you get rejected, you will build what is called a “neuro-net” of connections, which will encourage you more and more to act with entitlement each time you are presented with the same or similar stimulus.
Step 1 – The Spiritual Power of Self Reflection & Self Honesty
Instead of repeating this cycle of automatic call and response stimulus based on past conditioning, a queen or king must tap into their “spiritual power”, which trumps all other forms of power. Gandhi used it to convince 200 million people to follow him, Jesus, Buddha and Muhammed have molded the world with its power and it can also be used to become a queen or a king. To tap into this power we can employ self reflection and self honesty, which function to polish the dirt of false and limiting beliefs we have that sabotage our dreams. Self reflection can help us become aware of our princess or prince actions and help to begin the process of reconditioning them to queen and king actions.
Personally, I had to take a good hard look at my own actions in my own life and be totally honest. As a professional musician I found myself countless times in my career criticizing other artists saying “your music sucks, how is it possible for you to have gained so much success?” Through consistent self-reflection, I realized that no matter how good my music was and no matter how many people told me that, there was something I still didn’t get that they had. Once I recognized this, I let go of the “entitlement” attitude and began the journey of uncovering and building upon my own deficiencies.
A king or a queen who consistently practices self-reflection will first ask themselves, “Do I deserve this promotion, this relationship, did I earn it, am I humble, patient and on a heart level with all or do I need to do some work here?” This self reflection can be done many ways but I’ll give two concrete suggestions:
How to Tap into Spiritual Power
Journal every day and be brutally honest about where you are at, where you want to be, and exact steps on how to get there.
Employ daily meditation using silent breathing or a mantra. While meditating open your heart to where you are at, where you want to be, and ask for guidance on how to get there.
However you do it, make sure you are brutally honest about your shortcomings and then reflect on how to change them. Without honesty and awareness of your shortcomings nothing will ever change and we will repeat the same self-sabotaging actions.
Step 2 – Be a Bodhisattva
Entitlement also bears the mark of selfishness, the opposite of being “gracious, generous and patient”. The quickest way to become selfless in my opinion is taken from the Buddhist cannon and suggests that we move out of the lower worlds of hell, hunger, animality and anger into the higher world of Bodhisattva. A Bodhisattva is one who lives for others. At first this may be incredibly difficult for someone who has no practice in giving to others, but if one forces oneself to move out of their comfort zone, roll up their sleeves and help someone who is suffering, even if the intention behind it is questionable, one will undoubtedly access their Buddha nature within and begin to feel an undeniable sense of deep joy and fulfillment. This act reconnects us to our interconnection with the rest of the world and once helps us to “feel” other people’s pain. Once this cycle is started a person will be much more reluctant to act out of selfish entitlement and much more likely to act with compassion, grace and humility.
What if things still don’t Work Out?
After you have self-reflected, done some work on you deficiencies, and broke out your Bodhisattva hammer, as a queen or king you can simply leave the rest up to the universe. If on occasion things don’t work out, it was it not meant to be, you can trust that there is more to learn. Recommit 100% to self reflect and polish yourself and a more fulfilling path will unfold before you.