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Personal Bill of Rights

Most adults who grew up in dysfunctional families in which their parents drank or used drugs, were physically/sexually/emotionally abusive or neglectful, and/or were mentally ill, have difficulty knowing as adults what their rights are. Here’s a Personal Bill of Rights by Charles Whitfield (his books are great!) to live by:
1. I have numerous choices in my life beyond mere survival.


2. I have the right to discover and know “my Child” Within.


3. 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.


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


5. I have the right to recognize and accept my own value system as appropriate. 


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

7. I have the right to dignity and respect. 


8. I have the right to make decisions. 


9. I have the right to determine and honor my own priorities.


10. I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others. 
11. I have the right to terminate conversations with people who make me feel put down and humiliated.


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


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


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

15. I have the right to all my feelings. 


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


17. I have the right to be uniquely me, without feeling that I'm not good enough. 


18. I have the right to feel scared and to say, "I'm afraid."


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


20. I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings, my judgment or any reason that I choose. 


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


22. I have the right to be happy.


23. I have the right to stability, i.e., "roots" and stable healthy relationships of my choice. 


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


25. I have the right to be relaxed, playful and frivolous. 


26. I have the right to be flexible and be comfortable with doing so. 
27. I have the right to change and grow.


28. I have the right to be open to improve my communication skills so that I may be understood. 
29. I have the right to make friends and be comfortable around people. 
30. I have the right to be in a non-abusive environment. 
31. I have the right to be healthier than those around me. 
32. I have the right to take care of myself, no matter what. 
33. I have the right to grieve over actual or threatened losses. 
34. I have the right to trust others who earn my trust. 
35. I have the right to forgive others and to forgive myself. 
36. I have the right to give and to receive unconditional love.
If you want to be emotionally healthy, you need a healthy belief system like Whitfield’s. To make it yours, rewrite his list in your own words. Feel free to add new rights. Repeat them daily to yourself aloud in front of a mirror. Work on living by these rights and you’ll become healthier and improve your relationship with food and your body.

Most adults who grew up in dysfunctional families in which their parents drank or used drugs, were physically/sexually/emotionally abusive or neglectful, and/or were mentally ill, have difficulty knowing as adults what their rights are. Here’s a Personal Bill of Rights by Charles Whitfield (his books are great!) to live by:
1. I have numerous choices in my life beyond mere survival.


2. I have the right to discover and know “my Child” Within.


3. 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.


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


5. I have the right to recognize and accept my own value system as appropriate. 


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

7. I have the right to dignity and respect. 


8. I have the right to make decisions. 


9. I have the right to determine and honor my own priorities.


10. I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others. 
11. I have the right to terminate conversations with people who make me feel put down and humiliated.


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


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


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

15. I have the right to all my feelings. 


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


17. I have the right to be uniquely me, without feeling that I'm not good enough. 


18. I have the right to feel scared and to say, "I'm afraid."


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


20. I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings, my judgment or any reason that I choose. 


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


22. I have the right to be happy.


23. I have the right to stability, i.e., "roots" and stable healthy relationships of my choice. 


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


25. I have the right to be relaxed, playful and frivolous. 


26. I have the right to be flexible and be comfortable with doing so. 
27. I have the right to change and grow.


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


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


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


31. I have the right to be healthier than those around me. 


32. I have the right to take care of myself, no matter what.


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


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


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


36. I have the right to give and to receive unconditional love.

If you want to be emotionally healthy, you need a healthy belief system like Whitfield’s.To make it yours, rewrite his list in your own words. Feel free to add new rights. Repeat them daily to yourself aloud in front of a mirror. Work on living by these rights and you’ll become healthier and improve your relationship with food and your body.

Being Different
Fantasy versus Reality

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