Humility Amnesia

Entitled: believing oneself to be inherently deserving of privileges or special treatment.

or maybe better said

Entitled: The universe doesn’t meet our needs and desires and all hell breaks loose within our mind and soul…we forget how to live on life’s terms.

Today marks one year to the day since our life imploded with Evan at the helm.  Details aren’t important because it’s his story to tell.  The only story I am qualified to tell is my own.

When Evan was about 6 months old, I was a young mother spread too thin with high expectations, a full-time job, a marriage, a toddler, and a baby.  My job was demanding and I was admittedly a bit of a high strung perfectionist.  I truly believed if I could just get everything done and in it’s place I’d be happy and secure. So while my 3 year old and 6 month old were in the bathtub, I ran real quick to put something away and grab something else – you know – master of multitasking.  When I returned to the bathroom, there was my precious Evan… under water.  He had slipped under and Trevor, being all of three years old, was oblivious to the present danger. Full mother instinct kicked in and every thought fell away as I plunged my arms into the water and grabbed Evan to my chest. Soaking wet, heart beating through my chest and barely able to breathe, I laughed/cried when he expressed his feelings about the whole ordeal with a primal scream that absolutely tore my heart in two.

“Life is difficult.”

“This is a great truth, one of the greatest truths. It is a great truth because once we truly see this truth, we transcend it. Once we truly know that life is difficult-once we truly understand and accept it-then life is no longer difficult. Because once it is accepted, the fact that life is difficult no longer matters.”
― M. Scott Peck, The Road Less Traveled: A New Psychology of Love, Traditional Values, and Spiritual Growth

“Life is suffering.”

– Buddha

“In this world you will have trouble.”

– Jesus (John 16:33)

The other day I was with some moms and one was lamenting her child’s sense of entitlement and as you might suspect, the older, wiser, Gen-Xers in the room were all nodding their heads in agreement – yours truly included.

But then as the conversation continued, another thing or two was said, and it hit me smack dab between the eyes.  I too have a sense of entitlement.  I am and have been acting like entitled mom. Yikes.

Maybe I’m being a little harsh on myself?  No…I don’t think so. Let me give you a sneak peek into some thought bubbles from yesterday…

“Why the HELL?”
“This isn’t supposed to be happening…”
“Why ME?” and “Why US?”

And this is after a WHOLE year of my own therapy, support groups, reflection, and growth.

But one might say that my reaction is normal.  That this is hard stuff.

Yes and no.

Yes – I’m in a difficult chapter.

No – I have forgotten my humility. Absolutely no where in the book of life does it say that life is easy, that life is fair, that if somehow, someway, I try hard enough and manage to get everything in order and in it’s place that (1) I’ll be at peace and (2) it’ll stay that way. Change and difficulty are inevitable.

“[Humility] is the clear recognition of what and who we really are, followed by a sincere attempt to be what we can be.” – Bill Wilson

In my humility amnesia I have, once again, fallen into a habit of entitlement.

IMHO, entitlement starts with one ugly word. DESERVE

I’ve raised my children well
My children know about God – they grew up in the church for goodness sake
My children ARE loved – they’ve been raised in a stable warm home
I was that mom – the room mom, team mom, youth group mom

The universe owes me – I did my part – I worked hard – I was faithful – I gave it my all –
I DESERVE well adjusted, amazing children
I DESERVE healthy children
I DESERVE a whole and happy life – with all my peeps around

DESERVE...why in the world do I think I DESERVE anything at all???

Sigh – humility amnesia – a clear recognition of what and who we really are…

Back to the bathtub. At six months of age Evan was wholly dependent on me. My job was to bathe, to feed, to love, to nurture. Which I did with a wide open heart. I absolutely loved my time in young motherhood. Don’t get me wrong – more sleep would have been nice and there were times where I wanted to pull my hair out at the whining, fighting, the constant picking up and feeding etc. But I LOVED my place in their heart. I was mom. I was their world.

clear recognition of what and who we really are…

Fast forward 18 years and our relationship is different. No more, no less, just different.

My role is no longer the mom that rushes in a swoops him out of the water.
My place is no longer to be the mom that holds and comforts until the pain and fear subsides.
I am in his world but I am no longer his world.
Nope – that’s not how this difficult, beautiful, complicated thing called PARENTHOOD works.

The suffering in my heart is real – it’s a tangible fact

No mother wants a difficult life for their child.

But my heartache extends from there…
I am FIGHTING against the universe. I have forgotten my PLACE. I want to be what I cannot be and I want things to be different than they are.

followed by a sincere attempt to be what we can be.

I’ve learned this year that I cannot force change. Certainly not in you, Evan, anyone… and even in myself, force has proven impossible. I cannot wake up in the morning and say “Today I’m going to be 100% mentally/emotionally/spiritually healthy…I’m gonna rock this thing called life through my sheer will” Change is not forceable.

“Force only causes resistance.” – Tao Te Ching

But change can come through effort. Change comes from showing up and being willing. Change occurs when we surrender to God, to the universe, to the realization that the difficult times in our lives are inevitable and when we do the most growing. When we grasp that a seed cannot grow until it dies to itself. That God enters through our broken hearts.

Change cannot happen until we remember our humility…followed by a sincere attempt to be what we can be.

xoxo – DM

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Donna Matthews is a blog writer at the DJRanch where she strives to remain authentic while not taking herself too seriously. She is also the creator of Slay The Chaos (, where she writes about productivity and organization. She is a member of The Writers Guild and Write Space in Houston and is currently writing her first book.