Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Know Your Rights

The 10 Assertive Rights of an Individual

1. I have the right to judge my own behavior, thoughts, and emotions and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequence. The behavior of others may have an impact upon me, but I determine how I choose to react and/or deal with each situation. I alone have the power to judge and modify my thoughts, feelings, and behavior. Others may influence my decision, but the final choice is mine.

2. I have the right to offer neither reason nor excuse to justify my behavior. I need not rely upon others to judge whether my actions are proper or correct. Others may state disagreement or disapproval, but I have the option to disregard their preferences or to work out a compromise. I may choose to respect their preferences and consequently modify my behavior. What is important is that it is my choice. Others may try to manipulate my behavior and feelings by demanding to know my reasons and by trying to persuade me that I am wrong, but I know that I am the ultimate judge.

3. I have the right to judge whether I am responsible for finding solutions to others' problems.
I am ultimately responsible for my own psychological wellBbeing and happiness. I may feel concern and compassion and good will for others, but I am neither responsible for nor do I have the ability to create mental stability and happiness for others. My actions may have caused others' problems indirectly; however, it is still their responsibility to come to terms with the problems and to learn to cope on their own. If I fail to recognize this assertive right, others may choose to manipulate my thoughts and feelings by placing the blame for their problems on me.

4. I have the right to change my mind. As a human being, nothing in my life is necessarily constant or rigid. My interests and needs may well change with the passage of time. The possibility of changing my mind is normal, healthy, and conducive to self growth. Others may try to manipulate my choice by asking that I admit error or by stating that I am irresponsible; it is nevertheless unnecessary for me to justify my decision.

5. I have the right to say, "I don't know." I have the right to make decisions without being 100% certain of all the answers regarding these choices. If I were to evaluate every possible outcome of all decisions I made, chances are I would accomplish very little in my lifetime. No one can be expected to know all the possibilities of any particular behavior; therefore, I must make personal judgments as I see fit.

6. I have the right to make mistakes and be responsible for them. To make a mistake is part of the human condition. Others may try to manipulate me, having me believe that my errors are unforgivable, that I must make amends for my wrongdoing by engaging in proper behavior. If I allow this, my future behavior will be influenced by my past mistakes, and my decisions will be controlled by the opinions of others.

7. I have the right to be independent of the good will of others before coping with them. It would be unrealistic for me to expect others to approve of all my actions, regardless of their merit. If I were to assume that I required others' goodwill before being able to cope with them effectively, I would leave myself open to manipulation. It is unlikely that I require the goodwill and/or cooperation of others in order to survive. A relationship does not require 100% agreement. It is inevitable that others will be hurt or offended by my behavior at times. I am responsible only to myself, and I can deal with periodic disapproval from others.

8. I have the right to be illogical in making decisions. I sometimes employ logic as a reasoning process to assist me in making judgments. However, logic cannot predict what will happen in every situation. Logic is not much help in dealing with wants, motivations, and feelings. Logic generally deals with "black or white,'' "all or none,'' and "yes or no'' issues. Logic and reasoning don't always work well when dealing with the gray areas of the human condition.

9. I have the right to say, "I don't understand.'' One aspect of being human is being unable to fully understand all that occurs around me. I learn through experience, but experience also teaches that I cannot always understand what others mean or want. I cannot read minds, although others may try to manipulate me by providing hints or making subtle implications. I cannot anticipate and be sensitive to the unstated feelings, needs, and wants of others.

10. I have the right to say, "I don't care.'' Being human, I am imperfect. It is a fallacy to assume that I must strive to improve myself. Others may use this to manipulate me, saying that I am obliged to alter my behavior in a more positive direction; otherwise, I would be lazy, worthless, a degenerate, and unworthy of respect. If I erect goals of perfection, I undoubtedly will be frustrated and disappointed. Therefore, I have the right to say that I don't care to be perfect. The only sure way to prevent manipulation is to ask myself whether I am satisfied with myself or my performance, then, I can make an objective judgment as to whether I wish to change my behavior.

By James J Messina


Wanda said...

Miss you. Hope that life is being kind to you.

Trouble said...

Wanda! I miss you too, hope to see you when I visit the island! :)

Wanda said...


Trouble said...

I haven't set dates yet but I'm hoping for spring or summer!