The New York Optimist
September 2008
John Ryder, Ph.D.

“The Mental Fitness Guru”

What’s crazy about entitlement?

There is a growing trend in our society to feel deserving of more and more.  When this attitude begins to interfere with normal life,
psychologists refer to this as part of a narcissistic personality disorder, especially when it becomes grandiose and exaggerated.  What
exactly are the borders, where do you leave normal self preoccupation and when does it become an unreasonable sense of entitlement?  

From the day you were born you have  constantly measured what you get against what you have put in.  Your mind is designed to be
sensitive to this energy economy, whether the exchange you are making is fair or not.  This question applies to anything like  money,
attention, love, or work.  I am sure that you have encountered plenty of people with a ridiculous sense of entitlement, “I deserve, give
me!” With no appreciation.

Well, I say ‘no thank-you’ and make it my intention to remind people about what is fair and reasonable or what is not.  Blame who you
want, but entitlement is on the rise.  What should we do about it?  The polar opposite of entitlement is humility, being humble and

The question to pose a modesty challenged person is “what have you done to deserve ___?”  These people usually need to feel
important, to encourage them to embrace the positive side you can ask “do you realize how powerful it appears to others to be
generous and modest?”  When you encourage a person to strive for a more noble attitude the right way, they may actually be grateful
to you.

The key is to remind people what is the opposite of entitlement, what is the value and advantage of a positive attitude.  The more self
absorbed a person is, the less they will want to go in that direction, however every bit helps.  

Keep going in Positive Directions!