For the past decade, I have relished the opportunity each January to create a few New Year’s resolutions that will help me bring my life into closer alignment with my own principles and ideals.
I have tried to make just one or two resolutions each year, so I can focus my efforts on a concrete area of my life—“spend more time volunteering for causes that are close to your heart,” “write handwritten letters whenever possible,” “replace more meals with vegan ones,” etc.
I have incorporated these small resolutions into the vision statement of my life, and they have served me well.
This past year, however, I realized that the greatest factor holding me back at this time is neither a fault in my intention nor my action.
Instead, it is a subconscious allowing—giving permission to others to violate my boundaries.
I was not doing this on purpose, but that was exactly the point—I began to realize that I needed to work consciously to not allow such violations to occur in order to live my most realized life.
As a result, I spent several days at the end of last year working out what I’ve been calling my “Personal Bill of Rights.”
However, the more I read it and work with it and share it with friends, the more I realize that this list should be neither aspirational nor personal—it is universal, coming from a place of self-love that I would be thrilled to see all people able to manifest.
Therefore, I have chosen to share it publicly as a template for anyone to whom life has brought appreciation for the need to defend oneself against those who would take advantage of a kind, loving, but overly permissive internal spirit.
Here it is: A Bill of Personal Rights for 2015:
1. I have the right to Privacy. I have the right to choose that certain parts, or all, of my life remain private from any other person I choose. No one else has the right to wheedle, cajole, or force me to share any and all parts of my life that I choose to keep private. I have the right not to be contacted for any reason if I so choose.
2. I have the right to Decide. I have the right to make my own decisions regardless of the advice of others. I have the right to choose my own path and learn from my mistakes. No one else has the right to direct my life or know what went into my decisions. I alone am responsible for my choices and consequences.
3. I have the right to Authenticity. I have the right to live an authentic life, free of lies and deceptions. I have the right to ask those who wish to be part of my life to be authentic with me. I have the right to dissociate from those who refuse to be authentic with me. I will not accept a life of subterfuge.
4. I have the right to Boundaries. I have the right to decide how close anyone can get to me. I have the right to establish whatever boundaries make me feel safe and healthy. I have the right to adjust those boundaries whenever it is necessary for me to stay safe and healthy. I have the right to dissociate from those who do not respect my boundaries, whether they be physical, psychological or emotional.
5. I have the right to Self-Esteem. I have the right to feel good about myself. I have the right to enjoy my life, my choices, and my path. No one else has the right to take my healthy self-esteem away from me. I have the right to love myself just as I am.
6. I have the right to Dignity. I have the right to follow my own moral compass. Judgment for my actions rests between me and my higher power. Other humans have no right to rob me of my dignity. I have the right to remove from my life those who attempt to rob me of my dignity, whether through words or actions.
7. I have the right to Respect. I have the right to live a respectful life, treating others with respect and expecting to be treated with respect in return. I have the right to speak up against ridicule, manipulation, belittling, rudeness or other hurtful behavior. I have the right to remove from my life those who do not treat me with respect.
8. I have the right to Safety. I have the right to feel safe in my skin, my home and with those I call my friends. I have the right not to feel threatened physically, emotionally or psychologically by those who are in my life. I have the right to dissociate with those who make me feel unsafe, or those who do not care about my safety.
9. I have the right to Protect myself against Violations of these rights. If any of these rights are violated, I have the right to withdraw from the person or persons who violate those rights. It will always be my right to determine to what level I will interact with any person. It will always be my right to determine what constitutes violations of my rights, and what consequences such violations will bear.
I hope this list serves you well, and I wish you all a very joyous 2015.
Love elephant and want to go steady?
Author: Sharmila Basu Mann
Assistant Editor: Leah Krol/Editor: Emily Bartran