We should all be familiar with The Bill of Rights which are the first ten amendments of The Constitution. And as humans we all have certain basic rights but unfortunately we have often forgotten them or as kids were never taught to believe in them. Becoming assertive requires recognizing that we have, just as much as anyone else, certain rights and exercising them. So here is a list of some of them. With a little thought you can add many more of your own to the list.
YOUR PERSONAL BILL OF RIGHTS
1. I have the right to ask for what I want.
2. I have the right to say no to requests or demands I cannot meet.
3. I have the right to express my feelings, positive or negative.
4. I have the right to change my mind.
5. I have the right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.
6. I have the right to follow my own values and standards.
7. I have the right to say no to anything when I feel I am not ready, it is unsafe or it violates my values.
8. I have the right to determine my own priorities.
9. I have the right to not be responsible for others' behavior, actions,feelings, or problems.
10. I have the right to be angry at someone I love.
11. I have the right to be uniquely myself.
12. I have the right to feel scared and say "I'm afraid."
13. I have the right to say "I don't know."
14. I have the right to be playful and frivolous.
15. I have the right to be healthier than those around me.
16. I have the right to be in a nonabusive environment.
17. I have the right to change and grow.
18. I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.
19. I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE HAPPY!
Of the many handouts I give my clients this one is by far the most popular. Many photocopy it and stick it on their refrigerator, laminate it and carry it with them or post it in conspicuous places as a reminder to follow these guidelines. By taking time to read and reflect on it every day you will learn to accept and practice them yourself.
Next Time: BEING OK WITH AMBIGUITY
YOUR PERSONAL BILL OF RIGHTS is excerpted from The Anxiety and Phobia Workbook by Edmund J. Bourne, PhD in the chapter on Asserting Yourself.