Life Skills

Your Basic Human Rights

To improve your self-esteem requires learning effective ways of identifying your needs and asserting your personal sense of self. Many people are unable to identify what they want for their lives. Consequently they have difficulty expressing needs to their friends, family, partner, or c-workers.

If a client appears confused and directionless, I ask them to identify what they consider to be their basic human rights. I give them this list and ask them how they express these needs to others. For the next two weeks we will examine your basic rights .Although this list is not exclusive or exhaustive, it is a clear reminder that no matter what situation you are in or who you are with, you have the right to basic human rights.

1. You own your feelings. Feelings are neither right or wrong. They are natural byproducts of how you experience life. There are five basic feelings that all people have the right to experience. They are: anger, sadness, loneliness, fear and happiness. As you reflect on your experience it is important to recognize these feelings and handle situations constructively after identifying your true feelings. NOTE: Most people are flooded with so many feelings that they end up feeling immobilized by them. It’s imperative to pick the primary feeling that you are experiencing..
2. You have the right to decide how you will manage your situation. Only you can decide what is best for you. Although it’s important to take other people’s feelings and situations into consideration, it is your responsibility to make the best decision based on your assessment. Whenever children are involved you have the responsibility to care for their safety and well-being first and foremost. If you put their basic needs first, it will naturally result in your making better decisions for the family unit. NOTE: This does not mean that you habitually sacrifice yourself and your own needs for your children. Instead, it means that you attend to their basic needs and find the balance between you as an individual, as a parent, and for your family.
3. You have the right to make mistakes. You were not put on this earth to be perfect. Mistakes are opportunities for growth. If you have made mistakes in your past, it can be healthy to own up to them with assuredness, to learn from them, and to grow from them. Stop beating yourself up for the past!
4. You have the right to your own values, even if they differ from your family and your upbringing. Many times people feel guilty because they have deviated from the norm. If you have carefully examined what is important to you and you have weighed how your actions and values will affect others, you ultimately have the right to decide how you will behave as a result. Sometimes you may find that you need to alter your values if they lead to personal difficulties that are in conflict with reality. If this occurs, you have the right to change your mind or alter your values for the betterment of your life. However, if you alter your values for someone else, it will steal your sense of identity.

NOTE: Through the course of your life, your values will change. It is normal and necessary to act on the existing value to determine what your ultimate values will be. Teenagers do this all the time to discover who they are.

Be thinking about how your life could be different if you claimed these rights as your own!

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