Once upon a time…
The Prince followed her into the library, just as she’d planned. Pretending not to notice, she focused her attention on the bookcase before her. She’d always loved the smell of books. Running her fingers over the leather-bound spines, she withdrew a volume titled The Rights of Man. Judging by the immaculate condition, no one had ever so much as cracked it open.
The Prince watched her for a moment from the shadows before slamming the door shut with melodramatic flair. “Quickly!” he gasped, straining against the door as if to keep out a hoard, “You must save me!”
“Me?” she questioned, turning to face him. “How can someone as lowly as I save your grace?”
He discontinued his mock barricade of the door and his lips curled into a smirk. Cocking his head to one side he swaggered towards her, “Why, you must save me from all the tedious debutantes seeking to allure me.”
She returned the book to the shelf. “Perhaps they wouldn’t be so tedious if women were allowed to receive a proper education in this kingdom.”
The Prince stepped forward, trampling a bear-skin rug underfoot. “What need have women of an education when their husbands see to all their needs?” He looked wistful. “If only I’d been born a woman, I wouldn’t have so many duties and responsibilities to attend to.” He sighed. “Oh, how I envy your carefree lives.”
“The life of a woman is hardly carefree, your grace.” She walked closer to the fire. Her glass slippers clattered over the polished wooden floor. “What of the widows who cannot feed their starving children? What of the wives with abusive husbands? What of the ladies too disfigured to attract a husband in the first place?”
The Prince looked her over and licked his lips. “You need not worry about that fate, my lady. You’re absolutely ravishing. You can have any man you wish.”
She gazed into the fire and watched the dancing embers. “But what if I marry the wrong man? Someone who has an opinion unpopular with the crown, who worships the wrong god, or who was unlucky enough to have been born into poverty?”
In three long strides, the Prince was suddenly close enough that she could smell the Bordeaux on his breath. “You don’t strike me as someone silly enough to marry the wrong man. You’re a smart woman. I find that intoxicating.”
She took a step back and fanned the air in front of her nose. “Based on your breath, I’m not the only thing you find intoxicating.”
“It’s true,” he shrugged in surrender. “Wine and women are my principal vices. I’ve satiated myself upon the former.” His eyes darted down to her décolletage. “Now I’m ready for the latter. We have a few minutes before anyone will disturb us.” He raised his eyebrow suggestively.
“How charming,” she said. “But if you don’t mind, I’d rather not be sullied before returning to the ball.” She brushed past him.
He grabbed her arm and spun her around, squeezing it hard. “You don’t have to continue playing coy, my lady. Right now you have what every lady in this kingdom wants: my attention.” He moved in for a kiss.
“No.” She turned her head. The kiss landed on her ear. “Let me go or, mark my words: you will regret it.” She warned.
The Prince’s eyes widened and his grip tightened further. “Who are you to refuse me?”
“Who am I?” She placed a hand on her chest, the picture of innocence. Then her eyes narrowed. “I’m the one who’s going to burn this whole place to a cinder.”
The Prince roared with laughter. “How ridiculous!” he mocked. “No one defies me! You are mine because I say you are mine!” He mauled at her dress and tore the shoulder.
In one deft movement, she kicked the glass slipper off her right foot, caught it in her hand, and smashed it on the table. Before the Prince had time to react, she slit his throat with the jagged edge. Hot blood sprayed onto her gown.
He clasped his neck in surprise, in an attempt to hold the blood in.
“You can only oppress your subjects for so long before they begin to fight back!” She pushed him back to clear the way and his face contorted with pain. As more blood escaped his throat, he became sleepy and slumped to the floor. Blood flowed out of him like wine from a broken bottle.
“Good night, presumptuous prince,” she said, stepping over his body.
She hobbled across the room with one bare foot. Flinging the doors open, she addressed the guards standing outside. “Please help! The Prince has cut himself on a wine glass. Please! Won’t someone attend to our Prince?”
The guards rushed into the library as she dashed away. “The Prince didn’t cut himself,” the Captain exclaimed. “He’s been murdered! Where’s that lady? Get her!”
“There!” shouted another guard, pointing. “She’s getting into that strange-looking carriage.”
“Well, don’t just stand there, man. Catch her!” The guard ran off while the Captain gathered the guests in the ballroom. “Does anyone know of that woman? Who was she?”
A general murmur reverberated around the room, but it was soon obvious no one had ever seen her before. Another guard approached the Captain. “Sir! She left this behind.”
It was a glass slipper.
He examined it closely. “Ha!” he said. “Our assassin wasn’t as clever as she thought. We have her toe print, pressed against the glass. We shall scour the kingdom until we find a match. We’ll soon see how she likes the King’s justice!”
It was then that the clock struck midnight and with a “poof” the glass slipper disintegrated into a twinkle of black powder and sparks that soon set everything aflame.
“Man is not, by nature, deserving of all that he wants. When we think that we are automatically entitled to something, that is when we start walking all over others to get it.”
Moral of the Story:
The source of entitlement is arrogance: “I feel I’m important and superior, therefore, I deserve perks without working for them.” The symptom of entitlement is resentment: “When I don’t get all I believe I deserve, I feel bitter, jealous, and resentful.” When someone around you has a toxic, exaggerated self-opinion, they can become increasingly hard to be around. Often highly judgmental and pretentious, those who feel entitled can quickly turn nasty and mean-spirited, as they are easily offended. Their world is defined solely by their own needs and desires. This sense of entitlement can be about anything, no matter what it is or who possesses it. Their attitude is, “That’s mine; you just have it currently.” Rather than expressing authentic gratitude, their compassion devolves into merely looking down on people. Forgiveness is difficult as they tend to hold grudges. Expectations of others are high, but they continuously make exceptions for themselves. Here’s the thing: when someone shows you who they are, believe them. When you see someone for who they truly are and not who you want them to be, you get to decide if they are an unhealthy force in your life. Not everyone is meant to stay.
True power does not force, insult, diminish, or belittle nor does it align itself with specialness, entitlement, or judgment. Authentic power is not pushy, needy, neglectful, or clout-chasing. Rather, it generates vibrational harmony, kindness, and presence. The enemy of entitlement is humility. “I acknowledge that I am part of a much bigger picture.” The antidote to entitlement is gratitude. “I recognise what others have done for me that I did not deserve and I choose to demonstrate my gratitude by thanking them.” Bring into your awareness the things you do not possess and those you do. Feel your heart expand with all of your blessings. If you find yourself resenting another for having something you do not, dig a little deeper to discover the hardships that person has endured. This will certainly level the playing field. Choose to engage in benefit-seeking activities, where you reflect and record all the wonderful things you have received but did not necessarily earn and be thankful for your gifts and abundance. Always choose progress over status.
“If you do not tell the truth about yourself
you cannot tell it about other people.”
Affirmation: I am capable of what I am willing to work for.
I choose to be honest and vulnerable, even when I’m afraid. It is safe for me to speak my truth. I trust myself, and my instincts, above anyone else. To make small steps towards big goals, is progress. When I courageously speak my truth, I give others the confidence to speak theirs as well. Honesty, integrity, and authenticity are my guiding principles. I stay true to myself always. When I share my words, I share my light. My voice, words, ideas, and presence all matter. The world needs the magic inside of me. I am too full of life to be half loved. It is safe to be me. I choose authenticity over perfection. I find creative ways to communicate my self-expression. I am empowered to speak my truth. I carry myself with honesty and integrity.
“Everything good in leadership begins with humility, while everything bad in leadership is rooted in arrogance.”
― Tim Elmore