Have You Assigned Yourself Any Personal Rights?

It's easy to get confused and overwhelmed in the kind of fast paced and constantly changing world we live in. Everyone wants something from us and we tend to expect the same from others. Few people involved in this process of give and take have bothered to set the kind of safety limits that allow them to deal with others in a manner that protects everyone involved. These limits are your personal rights and if you haven't assigned them to yourself, you should.

If you have ever felt bullied into making decisions that you have regretted, you will appreciate the personal rights that I am about to encourage you to assign to yourself. You can also use these collectively by assigning them to others. That means that you will understand and respect these rights in the lives of your family, friends and coworkers, even if they do not appear to recognize or use them in their own circumstances. That will make you a better person and one that most people will learn to appreciate.

1. You have the right to ASK for what you want.

One of the hardest things for people to do is to ask for something. It's like then old joke about the husband who drove hundreds of miles out of his way just because he refused to listen to his wife and ask someone for directions. Those that learn to ASK others for what they want find a brave new world awaiting them. A World in which that get help or assistance that they probably never knew was available. It's just this simple: If you do not ASK, you do not RECEIVE.

2. You have the right to say NO without guilt.

No one likes to be a NO person and, certainly, there are folks out there that love to live in the negative by saying NO to just about everything. Most of them feel that saying NO shields them from being taken advantage of or used. They do not recognize the value of moderation in everything they do. There are times when you must decline offers, suggestions and other things that will affect you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable. However, do not say NO just for the sake of doing so.

If you decide to say NO, mean it. Do not allow anyone to talk you out of your decision. Guilt is the number one weapon that people who have been refused and want something from you use to try and get it by causing you to change your mind. If you have carefully considered something that someone wanted from you and still decided that it was not something that you wanted to get involved with, you have every right to say NO without guilt. Sometimes the decisions you make have to be cold and hard, without emotional attachment, for your own good. When that's the case, guilt has no place in the process.

3. You have the right to make MISTAKES.

I recall once being in the business office of someone that I was considering as a partner in a small business venture. He asked me to wait because he was trying to iron out some sort of problem. While sitting in his office, he confronted his secretary. She had mistakenly deposited a check given to his small business by a client that post-dated it and did not want the check deposited until the following day. He was an important client and one that required constant attention and stroking.

I knew his secretary well enough to know that she was bright, efficient and a vital part of his small business. From what I observed in visits to his office, she probably did the work of two or three people for the modest wages of one. Despite her honest mistake, my potential business partner unceremoniously fired her on the spot. I could not believe it. Knowing all she had done for her boss and the hours she worked, it was a bad decision for him and an eye-opener for me.

After watching his behavior, I knew that this guy was not someone I wanted as a partner in anything. I felt that he could have easily handled the situation by calling his client and his own bank to be sure the check did not go through until funds were actually available. Or, at least he could have tried. Instead, he took the easy way out and threw a valuable employee under the bus. I was certain that he would have done the same thing to me if I gave him the chance.

We are all going to make mistakes. The key is to try and avoid those that we make on purpose; bad judgment calls and such. Those that are not made on purpose just prove that we're human and not perfect. We have the right to make those, forgive ourselves for them and be forgiven by others. We should also extend the same courtesy to those who make mistakes that find us on the receiving end of the possible fallout from such errors.

4. You have the right to EXPRESS your FEELINGS, THOUGHTS and OPINIONS.

The politically correct thing to do these days is to 'keep your thoughts and opinions to yourself.' However, that is not always possible. There are ample occasions where people will ask for your opinion, advice, suggestions or thoughts about any one of a number of subjects. It's easy to avoid answering by side-stepping the question or refusing to answer it based on your view that there is no right answer. However, that kind of response would tend to make you look indecisive.

No one can make you answer what may be a question that is controversial or even one that someone might use to bate you hoping that your response will make you look ridiculous. That choice is up to you and it is a choice that you have to weigh carefully. If you do decide to answer a loaded or controversial question, be prepared to make an argument for your side and live with the consequences. If you make a cohesive and intelligent argument, no one can fault you for freeing expressing yourself.

5. You have the right to CHANGE your mind.

"But you promised..." It is a typical response from someone who suddenly feels themselves abandoned by you because you changed your mind about something. However, a change of mind is the logical response of an intelligent person who may have made a decision that was forced on them by a deadline or based on incomplete information. Just by way of a silly example: If you had promised to join a gang that was going to rob a bank and changed your mind just before heading off to make an unlawful withdrawal, who could fault you for making what was the right and sensible decision.

6. You have the right to THINK before you act.

People are always putting pressure on us to make an immediate decision. That's what phone soliciting is all about. Someone calls you and wants you to buy something or sign up for some service that they claim is essential to making your life better. There are lots of people out there that find themselves giving out a credit card number over the phone before they even realize that they are doing it. Some do not even remember buying whatever item or service was being hawked at them by the time their card bill arrives.

Taking the time to think about a decision you have to make means giving yourself a better chance at making the right decision. It gives you time to consider all the possibilities, research the subject involved and decide if it is something you really want to do. Never allow anyone to pressure you into an immediate decision that you may live to regret for a long time.

7. You have the right to be treated with RESPECT.

You have probably heard or read it a thousand times, but just in case you haven't: In 1937 Eleanor Roosevelt, the wife of President Franklin Roosevelt, said in This is My Story, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." It's a quote worth remembering. Everyone deserves some level of respect. How much often depends on them. Our actions, words and deeds define us and tend to reflect on the level of respect we receive from others.

If you respect yourself and are a positive force in the lives of others, you have a much better chance of having others respect you. However, even if you have low self esteem issues, you still deserve the respect of others and any lack of that may be the very reason for how you feel about yourself. Assert your right to respect by never allowing others to defame or talk down to you. If you find yourself faced with the kind of person that loves to yell, instantly assign blame or has anger issues, let them know that they need to find another victim. You will NOT be treated in such a manner. No if-s, an-s or but-s.

8. You have the right to make PERSONAL CHOICES.

No one has the right to question or criticize your personal choices. It's normal and sometimes possibly desirable to seek out the opinions or counsel of others even if they are not directly involved in the decision making process you face. People love to give advice and, judging from the high ratings of those daytime TV talk and doctor shows, they also love to receive it. However, in the end, the choices you make should be yours and yours alone because you are the one that has to live with the consequences of your choices.

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