At times in working with people we will of ten walk someone through their rights. This is done in order to offer an alternative view to what they are experiencing. When one gets used to a family life where one receives little respect, is verbally and emotionally abused, is not permitted to be different, and is the subject of daily hassle and emotional pressure one begins to adjust to this and begins to feel it is normal. One’s emotional and mental life gets used to the crazy life and begins to believe that walking-on-egg-shells is just the way things are.
The truth is, we are entitled to and deserve much more from life. In our centre we will therefore walk someone through the list of rights presented below to encourage people to reflect on their own and others attitudes and to begin to think that every person has basic rights that should be honoured.
YOUR ADULT BILL OF RIGHTS
- You have the right to be you.
- You have the right to be safe.
- You have the right to love and be loved
- You have the right to be treated with respect.
- You have the right to be human – to be imperfect.
- You have the right to protest if you are treated abusively by anyone.
- You have the right to basic privacy.
- You have the right to your own opinions.
- You have the right to express your point of view respectfully and to have it taken seriously.
- You have the right to ask questions about anything that affects your life.
- You have the right to make decisions that affect you.
- You have the right to grow and change.
- You have the right to say “No”.
- You have the right to make mistakes.
- You have the right not to be responsible for other adult’s problems.
- You have the right not to be liked by everyone.
- You have the right to put yourself first from time to time.
- You have the right to control your own life.
- You have the right to change your life if you are not happy with it.
There are some essential issues identified in this list that should make you think – even if you are living in a relatively stable family. All of us can get caught up in other people’s lives to such a degree that we lose touch with ourselves.
Equally, I could write out that Bill of Rights in terms of a Bill of Responsibilities within which you could look at yourself critically as someone who neglects others – this would be more applicable to the self-centered or self-absorbed type individual who only thinks of themselves and their entitlements. Therefore, the controlling or abusive personality needs to be challenged to honour a Bill of Responsibilities while the controlled or abused person needs to be reminded of their rights.
Think about your rights and responsibilities and how the climate of your everyday life has fuzzied your thinking about these things. Next week I will look at how these rights and responsibilities might apply to children and teenagers.