Be Kind, but Don’t Let People Walk All Over You

madewithover-4I have been collecting handouts for my own use and to give to clients for over thirty years. I’ve purged them many times, so only the best remain. This is one of them. It’s from a classic book, When I Say No I Feel Guilty.

Bill of Human Rights

  1. You have the right to refuse requests from others without feeling selfish or guilty.
  2. You have the right to feel and express anger and other emotions.
  3. You have the right to feel healthy competitiveness.
  4. You have the right to use your judgment in deciding your needs.
  5. You have the right to make mistakes (not the same old ones – but new ones).
  6. You have the right to have your opinions and ideas given the same respect and consideration others have.
  7. You have the right to ask for consideration, help, and/or affection from others.
  8. You have the right to tell others what your needs are.
  9. You have the right on some occasions to make demands on others.
  10. You have the right to ask others to change their behavior.
  11. You have the right to be treated as a capable adult and not be patronized.
  12. You have the right to not automatically be assumed wrong.
  13. You have the right to take time to sort out your reactions – to use your time space rather than others’ time space.
  14. You have the right not to have others impose their values on you.
  15. You have the right to judge your own behavior, thoughts and emotions and to take responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.
  16. You have the right to judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to other people’s problems.
  17. You have the right to change your mind.
  18. You have the right to say I don’t know.
  19. You have the right to say I don’t understand.
  20. You have the right to be illogical in making decisions.
  21. You have the right to say I don’t care.

Do you have any favorites? (I like #20) Any you don’t agree with? (I don’t know about #5–I make a lot of mistakes more than once before I finally learn.)

Hope you join me and others on The Self-Compassion Facebook page.

Smith, Manuel J., When I Say No I Feel Guilty. Dow press. 1975 (and reprinted many times).

*As a side note, I remember exactly when I got this handout. I was in an assertiveness training/therapy group for women while I was an undergraduate at Valparaiso University. The counseling center was in a charming old house on campus, full of old comfy chairs and overstuffed pillows on the floor. Judith K. Wells de Vargas (Judy) ran the group. She was a middle-aged woman at the time, changing careers and working on her graduate degree in counseling. I just googled her to see if I could find her. All I found was what I think was her dissertation. For any college students reading this, consider making use of your college counseling centers. Often staffed by graduate students (supervised by licensed psychologists), they have about 4 or 5 clients at a time, compared to when you’re out in the real world and you have A LOT of clients on your “case load”. Anyway, you’ll probably never get better care and attention. I know I couldn’t have survived college without Judy.

11 thoughts on “Be Kind, but Don’t Let People Walk All Over You

  1. I also attended an assertiveness weekend in the early 1990′s..best $25 I ever spent. We also worked through an assertiveness bill of rights…similar (but slightly different) than this one. Two that I to this day still regularly access are …A. I have the right to change my mind (#17 here) and B. I have the right not to explain my decisions if I chose not to. Early on, I decided to identify some situations where I would have made different decisions (pre-workshop) and realized it had saved me $1000′s of dollars in real money. As someone who still (on occasion) struggles with people pleasing tendencies, I am a big believer in these truths. good post. DM

  2. Barb, this is really great! I collect things for my clients, too, and often go thru them. I often talk to clients about how compassion (and forgiveness!) doesn’t mean we let others walk all over us. Part of having compassion for ourselves is having healthy boundaries and limits. This is a really lovely list, Barb. Thanks for sharing it here! Blessings,
    Lisa

  3. I am getting better allowing myself to be/do the things on this list, but the trap for me is beating myself up for not doing 100% of everything on this list. Bah. Learning to forgive myself for being human while still pushing myself to be better has been rough.

  4. I really like this list. However, I find that the trap for me is I tend to berate myself for not doing 100% of everything listed here. Perfectionism, I guess. Learning to balance accepting my imperfections with striving to be better has been rough. But, the journey has still been rewarding.

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