what does "what was owing to himself" mean in this sentence?

"His sense of what was owing to himself distressed him."

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    Without any other context, all the words mean exactly what they appear to mean. That which was due to him. – Andrew Leach Dec 6 '14 at 16:39

If another person owed something to him (in return for his hard work/loyalty/good advice etc) the sentence would read:

His sense of what was owing to him distressed him.

The fact that it says to himself (unless the writer is just using incorrect grammar) means that he feels he owes himself something. For example, he has spent years devoting himself to his family or his career and has never given himself time to do the things that he really wanted to do (painting, being a rock star, travelling the world etc). He has forgotten all those boyhood ideals he once had about changing the world, and instead works in a boring job with little excitement. He is distressed because he is now possibly too old to do many of these things.

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