Self-Advocacy vs. Self-Entitlement

by | Apr 7, 2020 | Personal Growth

How can we tell the difference between healthy self-advocacy and having a sense of entitlement?

Consider these:

When I am entitled …

  • I believe that others “should” give something to me or do something for me because of “who I am” or because of my essential “goodness.”

  • I feel “put out” and indignant when I don’t get what I believe I deserve, or when things don’t go the way I think they “should go.”

  • I get tight and insistent around my ideas of right and wrong.

  • I operate from a sense of false empowerment, often judging and manipulating others into how I think they should show up in the world.

  • My safety relies on controlling my external environment.

When I have healthy self-esteem and self-advocacy skills …

  • I feel grateful when others choose to do something for me, appreciating their acts of goodwill, not taking it for granted.

  • When things don’t go the way I want them to, I feel curious and wonder how I can stay engaged in life-affirming, relational ways.

  • I can relax around unpredictability and ambiguity, trusting myself to navigate and attune to changing circumstances.

  • I operate from authentic empowerment, trusting myself to meet my needs, while staying relational with others.

  • My safety comes from taking responsibility for my internal environment.

On each of our journeys to wholeness, as we bring ourselves back into vitality, it can help to ground ourselves in the deep, ecological principles of interconnectedness and community.

Seek out the both/and perspective:

  • I matter, and you matter equally.

  • I can say yes or no, and you can say yes or no.

  • I can give and shift, and you can give and shift.

  • I can take and receive, and you can take and receive.

Healthy relationships thrive on a balanced interplay between these polarities. An attitude of entitlement, however, makes me subtly more important, more valuable, more right, more legitimate than you.

Some questions for reflection this week:

  1. What do you feel entitled to? What is the difference between an entitlement and a universal human right?

  2. When does your sense of entitlement disconnect you from others?

  3. What helps you move out of a sense of entitlement and into shared humanity with others?

I’d love to know, leave a comment below.

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  1. Inti

    I often feel entitled to the same (exact) care and effort I put into my relationships. I have, although, not questioned why I show up the way I do. I have been tracking my "romantic" and "highly attentive" behaviors back to growing up with a bipolar father. Realizing my atention to moods and details could be a codependent attachment manifesting itself in my relationships.
    Naming the things I feel entitled to helps me see how over the top they are.

  2. David

    Healthy Correction of Self Entitlement and Hubris
    I am so grateful for the help and guidance of others who often help me avoid making a fool of myself! I know I am not always right and valuing the opinion of others brings me back into balance and more able to negotiate fairly. Clinging to false modesty only fuels defensive, judgmental, self righteous and indignant child-like behavior obviously off putting to others. Goodwill from friends and humor helps call the bluff on the dishonest shame lurking behind entitled behavior.


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