March 28, 2010
My therapist once gave me a list called “My Bill of Rights.” It was during a time when I was struggling with inappropriate guilt and lack of assertiveness in relationships. She said to keep a copy in my car, in my room, at work… Wherever I would see it often. I had actually forgotten all about it until the other day when I found it in a random pile of scrap paper. I still have a difficult time with some of these things, so it is good to be reminded.
MY BILL OF RIGHTS
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO BE TREATED WITH RESPECT.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO SAY NO AND NOT FEEL GUILTY.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO EXPERIENCE AND EXPRESS MY FEELINGS.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO TAKE CARE OF MYSELF.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO CHANGE MY MIND.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR WHAT I WANT.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ASK FOR INFORMATION.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO MAKE MISTAKES.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO DO LESS THAN I AM HUMANLY CAPABLE OF (seriously!)
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO FEEL GOOD ABOUT MYSELF.
I HAVE THE RIGHT TO ACT IN WAYS THAT PROMOTE MY DIGNITY AND SELF-RESPECT AS LONG AS OTHERS ARE NOT VIOLATED IN THE PROCESS.
Virginia Satir said the following, which I think goes right along with the concept of our rights as individuals:
I am Me. In all the world, there is no one else exactly like me. Everything that comes out of me is authentically mine, because I alone chose it — I own everything about me: my body, my feelings, my mouth, my voice, all my actions, whether they be to others or myself. I own my fantasies, my dreams, my hopes, my fears. I own my triumphs and successes, all my failures and mistakes. Because I own all of me, I can become intimately acquainted with me. By so doing, I can love me and be friendly with all my parts. I know there are aspects about myself that puzzle me, and other aspects that I do not know — but as long as I am friendly and loving to myself, I can courageously and hopefully look for solutions to the puzzles and ways to find out more about me. However I look and sound, whatever I say and do, and whatever I think and feel at a given moment in time is authentically me. If later some parts of how I looked, sounded, thought, and felt turn out to be unfitting, I can discard that which is unfitting, keep the rest, and invent something new for that which I discarded. I can see, hear, feel, think, say, and do. I have the tools to survive, to be close to others, to be productive, and to make sense and order out of the world of people and things outside of me. I own me, and therefore, I can engineer me. I am me, and I am Okay.