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Your Bill of Rights

 

Techniques Assertiveness > Your Bill of Rights

Description | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Consider yourself a human, just like everyone else. Think about the rights that you should have. Think about the rights you want.

Make a list of your rights. Think of it as a legal 'Bill of Rights'. Write them down. Pin the list on the wall (or even frame it). Then live by them.

Example

My rights are to:

  • Express my own feelings and opinions
  • Be listened to and taken seriously
  • Say no without feeling guilty
  • Ask for what I want
  • Make mistakes
  • Be wrong
  • Have others apologize when they wrong me
  • Be treated with respect
  • Set my own priorities
  • Get what I pay for
  • Be told the truth
  • Speak the truth
  • Question others
  • Make my own decisions
  • Disagree with others
  • Say nothing when I do not want to speak
  • Determine my own future
  • Try out new ideas
  • Abstain, not voting if I do not have an opinion
  • Appeal against unfairness
  • Hold my own beliefs
  • Have relationships with others
  • Change my mind
  • Have my own space
  • Grab opportunities
  • Take risks
  • Dress as I wish

Discussion

The above example includes many rights that we actually have, yet which many people do not think they have.

The notion of 'Rights' is a human conception. Rights are ideas that we socially construct, creating beliefs and agreeing values about what is right and wrong, allowed and not allowed. We then ascribe these rights to people. Some rights are universal, with everyone having the rights. Others are rights for different groups such as young, old, poor, rich, kin, enemy and so on.

As a part of this, we assume rights for ourselves that may be different to rights of others. When people take a subservient, passive role, they assume they have fewer rights than those who act in a dominant way. This assumption of rights is at the root of the different behaviors of these two groups and can be seen in the different styles of body language.

To be assertive is, in many ways, simply to adopt equal rights. If you believe (or just act) in a way that assumes you have the rights that you ascribe to others, you make yourself equal to them. This can be a huge breakthrough for many people.

See also

Willpower

 

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