Personal Bill of Rights

These statements clarify and remind us of our rights as a natural human beings. It is healthy for me to honor and respect my own rights and needs as much as we do those of every other person. We can legitimately proclaim and pursue these rights without shame, guilt, or fear, in any way that doesn’t interfere with other person’s equal rights. We need no one’s permission to adopt and live from these beliefs.

No matter what my age, experience, or situation, Each of is is a rare, unique, worthwhile human being – like every other person. We bring a blend of talents, knowledge, and motives to the world like no other living or dead person. We honor and respect our own uniqueness – and that of each other person in our life. We claim the right to be me, without explanation, apology, or defense. We are responsible for being ourselves, at all times. We affirm others’ equal right to be their own unique selves.

Pick the one you like best, print it out and hang it where you’ll see it every day.

PRINT: Version 1 | Version 2 | Version 3

Personal Bill of Rights – Version 1

1. I have the right to experience all my own emotions. They are a natural part of being human. They include fear, sadness, anger, shame, uncertainty, confusion, joy, lust, hope, pride, happiness, etc. – even “numbness.” I am not bad, weak, or wrong for feeling, and there is no such thing as a “negative” emotion.

2. I have the right to describe and/or express my feelings to others if and when I choose to, without feeling obligated, guilty, or ashamed. I am responsible for this choice but not for others’ reactions.

3. I have the right to say “Yes,” “No,” “I can’t,” and “I don’t know,” without undue guilt, shame, or anxiety – and to be responsible for the consequences.

4. I have the right to choose if, when, and how to meet others’ expectations of me. If I choose not to meet them, I need not feel guilty unless I’ve clearly committed to do so. I am responsible for such choices and their consequences.

5. I have the right to choose my own friends and acquaintances, and how and when to spend time with them. I may, but don’t have to, justify these choices to others.

6. I have the right to make my own mistakes, and learn from and profit by them if I can.

7. Choose if, when, and how to respectfully tell others clearly how their actions are affecting me – and to take responsibility for doing so.

8. I have the right to earn and maintain my own self-respect and pride, rather than depending on other people’s opinions of me.

9. I have the right to seek and accept or decline help without undue shame, anxiety, or guilt.

10. I have the right to give others the responsibility for their own beliefs, decisions, feelings, and thoughts, without feeling guilty, anxious, or selfish. Feeling responsible for other adults often burdens me, and blocks their growing self-confidence and self-respect.

11. I have the right to seek situations, environments, and relationships that I feel are healthy and nurturing for me. I may – but don’t have to – explain or justify these decisions to other people.

12. I have the right to be spontaneous, play, and have fun!

13. I have the right to develop and grow at my own pace, and in the directions I feel are best for me. This does not mean I ignore other’s similar rights or their well-meant counsel.

14. I have the right to appreciate my own efforts and enjoy my achievements without guilt, anxiety, or shame. Normal (vs. excessive) pride is not a sin, and never was.

15. I have the right to act to fill my own wants and needs rather than demand or expect others to do so for me.

16. I have the right to periods of guilt-free rest, refreshment, reflection, and relaxation. These are as productive for me as times of work and action.

17. I have the right to choose whom I will trust, when, how much, and with what.

18. I have the right to take on only as much as I can handle at any given time, and to tell others if I feel overloaded, without shame, anxiety, or guilt.

19. I have the right to nurture, love, and value myself as much as I do others who are special to me. Being “Self-ish” (attending my own needs and nurturance) is healthy and good – as long as I don’t hinder, minimize, or disrespect other’s rights to care for themselves.

20. I have the right to choose the paths and goals I wish for my life, and to pursue them without guilt, shame, or the need to explain or justify them to others.

21. I have the right to take all the time I need to evaluate and make important life-decisions. If this stresses others, they are responsible for asserting their needs and I’m responsible for balancing them with mine.

22. I have the right to care for my body and Spirit lovingly and respectfully, in my own ways.

23. I have the right to choose my own priorities and limits, and act on them as I see fit.

24. I have the right to distinguish between who other people say I am (or was) and who I really am.

25. I have the right to be heard and clearly understood. My thoughts, feelings, wants, needs, dreams, and dignity are as valid, worthy, and important as anyone else’s.

26. I have the right to define excellence in any situation, and to choose if, when, and how to strive for this standard or not.

27. I have the right to choose how to balance and spend my time, and take the short and long-term consequences.

28. I have the right to tell others respectfully what I expect of them, realizing they legitimately may or may not choose to fulfill these expectations.

29. I have the right to choose how and when to peacefully fill my spiritual needs, even if my choices conflict with others’ values or wishes. I do not have the right to force my spiritual or religious views, values, or practices on other people, nor do I grant others the right to force theirs on me.

30. I have the right to heal past personal shaming and wounds, over time, and replace unhealthy inner beliefs I’ve lived by with more nurturing and productive ones.

31. I have the right to listen to and heed my “inner voices” with interest and respect, and to sort out my true voices from others I hear.

32. I have the right to have my physical, emotional, and spiritual privacy and boundaries respected by others. I accept my responsibility to respect theirs as well.

33. I have the right to ask (vs. demand) of others how they feel about me, what they think about me, and what they need from me. They may choose to comply or not.

34. I have the right to decide if, when, and how to forgive my mistakes and any hurts received from others. I affirm that forgiveness promotes healing, health, growth, and peace.

35. Work respectfully and peacefully to change laws, rules, or situations I feel are unjust or harmful to me and/or others.

36. I have the right to evolve and use my Bill of Personal Rights, and learn how this affects me and others. I affirm others’ equal right and opportunity to do the same or not.

Personal Bill of Rights – Version 2

1. I have the right to put myself first.

2. I have the right to make mistakes.

3. I have the right to be the final judge of my feelings.

4. I have the right to change my mind or decide on a different course of action.

5. I have the right to protest unfair treatment or criticism.

6. I have the right to negotiate for change.

7. I have the right to ask for emotional support.

8. I have the right to not take other people’s advice.

9. I have the right to say “no”.

10. I have the right not to be responsible for somebody else’s problems.

11. I have the right to construct my own Bill of Rights.

Personal Bill of Rights – Version 3

1. I have the right to ask for what I want.

2. I have numerous choices in my life beyond mere survival.

3. I have the right to discover and know the child in me.

4. I have the right to grieve over what I didn’t get that I needed or what I got that I didn’t need or want.

5. I have the right to follow my own values and standards.

6. I have the right to recognise and accept my own value system as appropriate.

7. I have the right to say no to anything when I feel I am not ready, it is unsafe or violates my values.

8. I have the right to dignity and respect.

9. I have the right to make decisions.

10. I have the right to determine and honour my own priorities.

11. I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others.

12. I have the right to terminate conversations with people who make me feel put down and humiliated.

13. I have the right not to be responsible for others behaviour, actions, feelings, or problems.

14. I have the right to make mistakes and not have to be perfect.

15. I have the right to expect honesty from others.

16. I have the right to all of my feelings.

17. I have the right to be angry at someone I love.

18. I have the right to be uniquely me, without feeling I am not good enough.

19. I have the right to feel scared and to say “I’m afraid”.

20. I have the right to experience and then let go of fear, guilt, and shame.

21. I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings, my judgment, or any other reason I chose.

22. I have the right to change my mind at any time.

23. I have the right to be happy.

24. I have the right to stability – “roots” and stable healthy relationships of my choice.

25. I have the right to my own personal space and time needs.

26. There is no need to smile when I cry.

27. It is OK to be relaxed, playful and frivolous.

28. I have the right to be flexible and be comfortable with doing so.

29. I have the right to change and grow.

30. I have the right to be open to improve communication skills so that I may be understood.

31. I have the right to make friends and be comfortable around people.

32. I have the right to be in a non-abusive environment.

33. I can be healthier than those around me.

34. I can take care of myself no matter what.

35. I have the right to grieve over actual or threatened losses.

36. I have the right to trust others who earn my trust.

37. I have the right to forgive others and to forgive myself.

38. I have the right to give and receive love without conditions.

Author: heartbeat

Serving Hong Kong with weekly updates and insights since 2001 ... naturally.