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Recognising Your Basic Rights

Updated: Nov 13, 2021

Recognising Your Basic Rights

We all have certain basic rights. Developing assertiveness involves recognising that you, just as much as everybody else, have these rights. Notice your reactions to each right and notice if any stand out for you.

· Right to ask for what I want

· Right to say NO to requests or demands I can’t meet

· Right to express all of my feelings, positive or negative

· Right to change my mind

· Right to make mistakes and not be ‘perfect’

· Right to follow my own values and standards

· Right to say NO to anything when I feel not ready, it is unsafe or it violates my values

· Right to determine my own priorities

· Right not to be responsible for other people’s behaviour, actions, feelings or problems

· Right to expect honesty from others

· Right to be angry at someone I love

· Right to be uniquely myself

· Right to feel scared and say “I am afraid”

· Right to say “I don’t know”

· Right to my own needs for personal space and time

· Right to make friends and be comfortable around people

· Right to not be in an abusive environment

· Right to change and grow

· Right to be treated with dignity and respect

· Right to be happy


Practicing Assertive Responses

In learning to be more assertive, it can be useful to plan your responses and practice them. One way of doing this is to write down a problem situation and how you plan to handle it. This follows several steps: Describe the problem situation including:

· The person/people involved (who?)

· The time and setting (when?)

· What bothers you about it?

· How you would normally deal with the situation?

· What are your fears about the consequences of being assertive?

· What is your behavioural goal?


Develop an assertive response:


· Evaluate you rights within the situation

· Determine a time to address the issue

· Address the person involved, stating the problem in terms of its consequences on you

· Express your feelings about the situation

· Tell the person the consequences of obtaining or not gaining their cooperation


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