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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