1- The right to act in ways that promote your dignity and self-respect, as long as others’ rights are not violated in the process. You have the right to decide your values and lifestyles so long as you don’t violate the rights of others.

2- The right to be treated with respect. You have the right to be treated courteously by salespeople, parents, employers, and doctors; more generally, you have the right to be treated as a capable human being and not to be patronized. This does not mean deference, the unquestioning approval of your actions, or automatic compliance with your wants.

3- The right to say no and not feel guilty. Constantly placing what you want below the wants of other people is self-defeating. Many people have trouble saying “no” because they feel they should be “unselfish,” which really means, “unless I think of others first and give until I hurt, I’m being selfish.” A healthy, reasonable person realizes that:

• It is not healthy to hurt yourself.

• Caring for others does not require caring less for yourself.

• You have a personal responsibility to value yourself as much as you value others.

• Your wants do not have less value than other people’s simply because of who you are (a parent, student, employee) or what you have (less power, less experience).

• You are not an open system with limitless energy and capacity to fulfill other people’s desires.

4- The right to experience and express your feelings. Our feelings are a natural part of being human. It is more logical to accept the human right to experience our true feelings than to feel guilty about them. Conversely, understanding and accepting other people doesn’t mean passively accepting their abusive behavior, especially when it has tangible negative effects on us.

5- The right to take time to slow down and think. Many people believe they will never get what they want unless they hurry up and make a decision. Hurrying a decision does not automatically lead to getting things accomplished any more effectively (you’re actually more likely to make a mistake).

6- The right to change your mind. Changing your mind on the basis of new information shows flexibility. Refusing to change your mind when it is realistic to do so shows rigidity and stubbornness rather than true strength. Sometimes, however, changing your mind is not appropriate (e.g., you agree to do a job for a specific sum and after completing it, decide it was worth more and changing your original quote).

7- The right to ask for what you want. When we don’t assertively ask for what we want, we may consciously or unconsciously resort to trying to get what we want in devious ways that are likely to cause bad feelings and damage relationships. Asking for what we want gives the other person permission to clearly and directly ask for what she/he wants too. Neither person has to second-guess what the other person wants.

8- The right to do less than you are humanly capable of doing. You have the right to give less than 100% all the time. You have a perfect right to waste your own time, to know what you want, and to ask for help even if you don’t need it but just for the fun of having other people help you with unpleasant tasks. You have the right to organize your work so that you can maximize your enjoyment, and you have the right to do less than your best. (Lots of things aren’t really worth doing our best at, and you are probably better off—and not less of a person—for having recognized this).

9- The right to ask for information. You have the right to get a second opinion, to have inadequate work redone at no extra charge, to ask for references, to get what you paid for, and to say “I don’t understand.” Getting answers to your

questions is a way of building trust in a person whose services you may use.

10- The right to make mistakes. No one has made it through life mistake-free. It is impossible to avoid making at least a few mistakes, since it is impossible to be perfect and know everything. It is your responsibility to accept the consequences of your mistakes and to rectify your errors.

11- The right to feel good about yourself. Many people have difficulty giving themselves this right because they have been taught to believe they must be modest or humble. Being modest or humble does not mean humiliating yourself.

Author: unknown (A friend gave me this paper copy with no author mentioned)

Sevin Philips, MFT

1 Comment

  1. Brandon on August 17, 2016 at 2:41 am

    I like I-Statements because when I’m feeling upset I don’t have to blame anyone else. I can be straightforward with people ask for what I need and still be respectful at the same time.