Empathic People and Anti-Entitlement

By Rachel Puryear

There’s no doubt you’ve heard a lot about entitlement lately – entitled people, entitled children, entitled relatives, entitled whomever, a more entitled society; the list goes on and on. Articles and self-help books and advice abound about how to deal with entitled people, as well as how to avoid raising entitled children (although people actively concerned about doing the latter, though, are probably unlikely to actually do so).

This is, of course, because people with attitudes of strong entitlement are an enormous pain in the ass to deal with, and can also cause a lot of destruction. It’s not clear whether people are becoming more entitled on the whole, or if they always were and more people are starting to notice it now. In any event, though, it’s a widespread problem.

Empathic people, however, are different from most others when it comes to entitlement. Empathic people probably worry more than most about whether or not they are too entitled, and the impact it could have on others if they are. They tend to be careful not to be entitled. However, in reality, they actually tend to have the opposite problem instead – anti-entitlement.

Woman hands place together like praying in front of nature green bokeh and blue sky background.

Wait – what is anti-entitlement? You’ve probably never heard of that. That’s because anti-entitlement usually gets lost and drowned out among the loud and dramatic bellowing over entitlement, accusations flying over, “You’re entitled!” “No, YOU’RE entitled!” and so forth. No one disagrees that entitlement exists, but many balk at the idea of owning up to entitlement issues.

We know what entitlement is – a feeling that oneself is more deserving and important than others, without a good reason for meriting such. A feeling that everything should revolve around oneself, and that others should always give oneself what oneself wants; regardless of the needs or perspectives of others, and without a sense of obligation for or giving enough back to others.

Anti-entitlement is the opposite of entitlement: Anti-entitlement is a feeling that others are more important and deserving than oneself, even when oneself would have good reason to merit receiving more than others around them. A feeling that oneself should come last, and always put others before oneself; regardless of oneself’s needs or considerations, and whether or not others will ever give back to oneself, or even try to.

So, the world has lots of people who fall into either one of two categories:

  • Those who actually are too entitled, but don’t think they have an entitlement problem; insisting that it’s others who have an entitlement problem.
  • People who worry about being too entitled, yet they actually have more of a problem with anti-entitlement.
  • There are also, of course, people who don’t fall neatly into the other two categories, so don’t worry if you don’t.

So, if many people incorrectly perceive their own actual level of entitlement; then how does one know whether they are more entitled, or more anti-entitled? It seems that if they are genuinely concerned about whether they are too entitled or not; they are probably not overly entitled, and may instead be anti-entitled. If they’ve never had a second thought about whether they themselves are too entitled, but are quick to point out others’ entitlement (either actual or perceived); then chances are, they are too entitled themselves, at least to some extent.

Having a strong amount of humility, combined with a willingness to self-examine; is the type of personality in which a big sense of entitlement just would not last. People who are highly entitled and remain so tend to, therefore, have low levels of humility and do not tend to self-examine. Unsurprisingly; highly empathic people tend to have the former qualities, while people with low levels of empathy tend to have the latter ones.

So, if you are a highly empathic person, and you worry about whether you are too entitled; you may not be as entitled as you think – and, it’s possible that you are instead more anti-entitled. This is where self-examination is a great and helpful habit.


Thank you, dear readers, for reading, following, and sharing. Here’s to empathic people recognizing their anti-entitlement, and accordingly not being so hard on themselves. If you enjoyed this content and want to see more of it, please hit “like” and subscribe, if you have not done so already. xoxo

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