When Entitlement Overshadows Responsibility

Written by on May 27, 2020 in Accountability, Self-Awareness


Standing up for yourself feels good. It gives you the strength and confidence you need to reach for what you want and deserve in this big beautiful life.

The stronger you feel, the stronger you will become.

Find a tribe of others on the same path, and you begin to feel invincible!

Sounds pretty good, right?

The question is, at what point does asserting one’s independence evolve into a sense of entitlement and superiority?

The answer is when we choose not to take responsibility for the consequences of our choices and how they affect others.

Meet the Entitlement Mentality

The entitlement mentality is characterized by the belief that having one’s wants and needs met is inevitable, even owed — we are entitled.

Who is entitled to what has long been a central question in politics and business, but in our personal lives this issue has become downright insidious.  

The belief by some that “I should get what I want when I want it” may be annoying when it’s jumping the line at Starbucks, but it becomes dangerous as we struggle to cope with the spread of the virus.

Recognizing the behaviors associated with this mindset is the first step toward learning to manage our responses.

People with Entitlement Tendencies

  1. Believe the same rules that apply to others don’t apply to them.
  2. Freely ask for favors but act put upon when they are asked for help.
  3. Have little interest in the lives, feelings, or hardships of other people, seeing their own needs as far more important and pressing.
  4. They are manipulative and controlling and when they don’t get what they want see themselves as victims and become threatening and hostile.
  5. Believe it is acceptable to upset or demean other people, seeing those who following rules and act respectfully as being weak and targets for bullying.
  6. Demand all the freedom and rewards of entitlement while flagrantly shunning responsibility for the consequences of their actions.

My daughter wore her mask to buy groceries. Guy yells at her: “Liberal p…y!” Back story: she nearly died of H1N1. She was in the ICU for a week, on a ventilator for 3 days. She CANNOT get COVID! The ignorance and hatred are so painful. She is just trying to survive.

~Rosanne Cash

They Are Us and We Are Them

It’s important to acknowledge that a sense of entitlement is not inherently bad, and in some ways can actually be healthy.

The belief that you are entitled to set healthy personal boundaries and to take care of yourself and your family.

Maintaining that you have a right to be respected by others, and not to be hurt by them is important to psychological well-being.

The key to maintaining a positive sense of entitlement is to combine it with a hefty dose of empathy and responsibility.

The belief that one is entitled to be given special treatment at the expense of others, or have the right to be rude, demanding or contemptuous, is neither healthy nor a particularly productive way to live.

Empathy, gratitude, and responsibility will fuel your relationships; entitlement and expectation will poison them.

The chronically optimistic person that I am, I’d love to end this article by offering a few painless ways to find common ground, work together to become a little less selfish, less entitled, and a little more willing to keep an eye out for each other.

Unfortunately, our culture doesn’t exactly support this rosy outlook.

Many health officials have already concluded that for the truly entitled personality the idea of any type of sacrifice for others is an all but impossible sell.

The most we can hope for on the spread of the virus at this point is mitigation.

But as they say, knowledge is power, and understanding the entitlement mentality may even help us to recognize a few of our own selfish tendencies.

I truly believe that most of us will come through this storm stronger, more self-aware, and compassionate toward each other.

Will you be the passenger or the driver in your life journey?
About Marquita A. Herald

Marquita Herald

Marquita is an author, resilience coach, and the chief evangelist at Emotionally Resilient Living. She’s also an unapologetic workaholic who loves red wine, rock n’ roll, road trips (and car dancing!), peanut butter cookies, and (especially) a dog named Lucy.

She’s saddened and frustrated by excuses and cruelty and believes authentic compassion is the most powerful force in the world.

To learn more about Marquita and the mission of Emotionally Resilient Living Start Here.

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