A personal bill of rights

Our current featured member Grace Gedeon is an experienced and empathetic life coach, complementing her work as a business and executive coach.

Grace writes:

Executive Coach Exchange Grace Gedeon
Grace Gedeon, executive & life coach

In my coaching work, the acknowledgement of your personal and emotional rights is a foundational step in the process of reclaiming the self and building confidence, self esteem and self empowerment.

1. You have the right to ask for what you want. THE RIGHT To ASK for what you WANT. Break that down, you have the right to ask, you have the right to want. I used to feel selfish asking for what I wanted and at times I didn’t even know what I wanted, because I might ask and then some authority figure or more dominating person would say : really- you don’t really want THAT do you? You don’t really want to wear that or be with him. So after a while I stopped asking and I stopped trusting my own judgment about what I thought I wanted. I was baffled and disconnected from my desires. Sound familiar? Why bother asking eh? Well, it might be true that you may not always get what you want just because you asked for it – but that’s not the point, (after all people have a right to say no to you). The point is, that it’s important to know that you have the right to ask for what you want, independent of what the other person’s response is. Do you ask for what you want? Some people ask, even demand, without believing at a core level they have the RIGHT to ask. The degree to which you believe you have the right to ask will affect the answer you get. If you don’t believe you have a right, you may ask in a way that sabotages you. Work on knowing and embracing that right before you ask and your outcome is more likely to be favourable.

2. You have the right to say NO to requests or demands you can’t, or prefer not to, meet.
So you have the right to ask for what you want and you also have the right to say NO to what you don’t want. So how would it be if you couldn’t ask for what you wanted and you couldn’t say No to others? That’d be awful right? You’d be a doormat. Listen to each request that is made of you; listen to demands that are placed upon you- weigh them up, check your motives- when you respond- ask yourself am I responding from a place of “I don’t want to but I should or I will be disapproved of” or are you responding from” I do want to because it’s pleasurable or even if it’s not pleasurable, it’s difficult but serves the greater good AND I want the greater good”.

3. You have the right to be treated with respect. Respect is something we all crave but so many of us have gotten used to being talked down to, criticised, dismissed , argued with, shamed or ignored. We want respect but don’t realise that we have the right to be treated with respect. Employers, parents, teachers, coaches, partners, dominating people have conditioned us to think they have a right to treat us poorly until we earn their respect. On the contrary, being treated with respect is a human right. Perhaps we may need to earn respect for a particular endeavour or skill but we need to do nothing to earn respect for our essence. It’s our right and the right of others to be treated with respect as humans just for being sentient beings and part of the circle of life. There is never justification for abusive behaviour.

4. You have the right to express your thoughts and feelings.
How often were we shamed or cut down for expressing our thoughts or feelings? “Don’t be stupid, that’s silly; what an absurd idea! Don’t cry; don’t you get angry with me; what are you sad for?” It appears to be part of day to day communication to shut down people’s thoughts and feelings as a way of winning an argument. Yet that’s a real block to healthy communication, self esteem and building connections. Everyone has a right to their thoughts and a right to their feelings . Everyone has the right to self expression. Self expression is the birth place of creativity . This is what makes you unique – your thoughts and feelings are rich and valuable, they have a right to be expressed.The only caveat is that you note the impact your words have on others and as a self aware human being, be thoughtful. You don’t need to be shut down or censored you just need to be respectful and authentically communicate your thoughts and feelings.

5. You have the right to be seen and heard. There used to be an expression – children should be seen and not heard. Lots of children in my generation were raised that way. That was all about polite children but what it did to some children was make them feel invisible and insignificant in adult company. Many of those children grew up to continue to believe that they need to remain invisible and cause minimum disturbance and so they negated their own contribution in social settings. Your right to be seen and heard is so important, especially for people who have a deep longing for recognition and don’t know why they’re always overlooked. This right is vital to allow yourself to shine for your unique self and to claim your presence and offer your contribution. This right says YOU MATTER.

6. You have the right to trust yourself. Self trust is so vital to self esteem, yet so many of us second guess ourselves, we have committees of people we seek approval from before we make our decisions. We’re riddled with self doubt. Past mistakes have led us to believe that we can never be trusted. We get told that we have terrible judgment or terrible taste. The truth is that it’s usually our self doubt that ended up making the poor decisions in those situations,but if we had sat still and developed our connection with our intuition and truly listened to ourselves we would have mostly been right, and if we’d made a mistake, we would have learnt from it anyway. We don’t always have to be right. We also have a right to make mistakes. We just need to trust that we can guide ourselves to seek support or wise counsel when necessary or to take action based on our own view, even if everyone else goes against us. We have a right to champion our own cause and learn from our mistakes.

7. You have the right to change your mind. You’re not trapped. You’re not perfect, you’re human. If you go down a path and find out it’s not the right path- you have the right to change your mind. It’s your mind, no one else’s. Your consciousness drives it. As your consciousness evolves, so do your preferences. Weigh up the pros and cons; assess the situation carefully and diligently, then if you change your mind about the situation, find a way to change the situation – if that means selling that house; leaving that relationship; resigning from that job: it doesn’t automatically make you a loser or a quitter. Don’t let fear, shame or disapproval stop you. You have a right to create your best life and this may involve repeated changes of your mind. Please note your impact on others and remember the spiritual truth that the universe does not build your happiness on someone else’s misery. If your truth is that your situation needs changing and you make that change consciously and in good conscience then that change will be for the greater good of all.

Contributor:  Grace Gedeon is an international life coach, business coach and executive coach.  You can find more posts from Grace at www.gracegedeon.com and her radio show at News for the Soul.

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