Our Right

Written By Susan Stubbings 2008
WHAT IS IT FOR?

As a child we didn’t understand that we had any personal rights; the norm for a child was always do what the adults around us told us to do; and we needed to conform in order to survive.   Now as an adult some of those instructions linger in our sub-conscious mind and play out when we least expect them and sometimes we may not know we are playing!

For example did you know what respect and dignity was when you were a child?  Did you know what the words meant?  Were you shown how to use their meaning towards yourself and others or were you told something like “respect your elders”?  Without question do as I say!

Do you remember saying NO and being ignored?  I remember being made to eat sprouts at school by a teacher I didn’t like; she made me sit at the dining table until I ate them all; even when I said NO several times. Did it really matter I didn’t like sprouts or want to eat them?  Or was something else being played out by the teacher?

NO is a complete sentence after all; children have likes and dislikes just as adult have preferences and the right to choose.  Everybody including children have a right to say no and it be acted upon and be respected for the decision made so long as it’s not harmful to their health of course. 
One theorist  Eric Burne author of "The Games People Play" liked to call our connections with one another social intercourse or transactional analysis these sub-conscious instructions are known as ‘injunctions’ they form part of our ‘inner family’; when the adults in our childhood feel exited about what we are doing the subliminal messages they give us are ‘permissions’.  But when they are irritated or threatened by our childhood behaviour what they issue are ‘injunctions’ (an instruction or order) i.e. don’t be, don’t be close, don’t be separate from me, don’t want, don’t need, don’t think for yourself, just Don’t.  These messages aren’t given as explicitly as I’ve written them here; they are given non-verbally at a psychological level usually between our birth and 7 years of age.   They are given from the adaptive Child ego state in the significant adults in our lives; not usually given with malice from the adults either because our parents and the important people in our developing years were once children too. 

These vital people in our young lives also try to ‘counter’ these messages when they see us being uncomfortable with who we are or feeling a little confused or hurt the counter-injunctions come from the Parent ego state in our parent and other adults. Counter-injunctions also known as attributions convey the ‘shoulds’  ‘oughts’ ‘musts’ and ‘do’s’; carried in such instructions as ‘Be perfect’, ‘hurry up’, ‘be strong’ ‘please me’, ‘try hard’ ‘be careful’ just be something or other.  For example in my childhood I remember hearing people say things like “big boys don’t cry” when a little boy fell over and hurt himself followed by ‘be a brave little soldier’.    Or “little girls don’t do that if they want to be a young lady”.   Injunctions and a counter-injunctions in almost the same breath.

As a Child we either decide to accept these Parental messages and ‘be a good boy or girl’ or we fight against them, according to Goulding (1987).  One brave little soldier could be irritated and rebellious and another could be accepting and a good boy both merely acting how he’d been told to be i.e. a brave soldier who took nothing laying down; or a good boy; depending on how each received and accepted the subliminal message.

As children all these injunctions and counter-injunctions offer us confusion, which can affect how we build our sense of worth, our self-esteem and confidence in our own abilities to be competent in the world and handle what life throws at us.  They can also offer us a low sense of personal trust or integrity.   This can lead to a sense of low Self-worth or difficulty in validating and asserting our own needs, making our own decisions or having and expressing our own opinions or holding strong personal boundaries.

Declaration of rights

AIM & PURPOSE

By thinking about and creating our personal declaration of rights we raise our awareness and create a ‘blueprint’ for what we want and need from our own living here and now and into the future.  Our personal statement of rights can offer us positive driver or several drivers of what our wants and needs are and can offer us goals to work towards and achieve. Once we are aware of what we want and need we clarify, validate and begin to assert our needs, wants, opinions and our boundaries firstly to and with our inner Self and when we have gained sufficient confidence to assert our Self from a place of authenticity with others effectively.

Creating our personal declaration of rights is one way we can nurture our Child within offering respect, dignity and boundaries and strengthen your inner Child’ value and worth as such supports self-esteem, confidence raising our Self-worth.

We also begin to uncover our childhood legacies our injunctions and counter-injunctions.  We can begin freeing our true Self and we can begin working towards our own Self-actualisation achieve all we are capable of becoming. 

Once you have begun to create your declaration of rights don’t be concerned if you only have a few written down in the beginning, you can add to as you grow and develop. Read it daily to get to know who you are in your depths and so your Inner Child hears you nurturing him/her.  My declaration of rights is below it took me quite a few years to compile and another few years before I believed "I have right"

So let’s begin creating our declaration of rights.   I offer you your first right ...

“I have a right to create my personal declaration of rights"
My rainbow of rights...

I have a right to have a voiceTo speak.  Be listened too. Be heard. Be believed.  Say & tell.
I have a right to emotions, to cry, be vulnerable, strong, angry, confused, calm, express self.
I have a right to be grateful, satisfied, self fulfilled.
I have a right to seek new challenges.  Accept Self/others & be treated equally, be of worth.  
I have a right to be a Child, a girl. Be messy, dirty, laff out loud, make noise. Be sad & happy.
I have a right to be safe. Keep myself safe, privacy, my own space.  Be silent, silence.
I have a right to Respect & Dignity, be cared for, Hand back responsibility, blame & shame.
I have a right to build my own boundaries. To experience. To structure Self. Be competent.
I have a right to be courageous.  Creative, create my own tapestry of life
I have a right to  be Childlike, find my inner child and nurture her until she is no longer scared.
I have a right to exist.  To live my life. To Die.  Ask for, challenge & question. Be brave.
I have a right to love, be loved, be empathic, compassionate, kind & caring. Be serious.
I have a right to choose, make choices. Own decisions, solve problems. Be autonomous.   
I have a right to to be ME in my totality as a human being without explanation, justification, apology, or defence
I have a right to be responsible for being ME at all times”!
I have a right to my will, passions, dreams, imagination. Spontaneity. To be accountable.
I have a right to speak my own truths, understand & recognise, be curious, inquisitive.
I have a right to say NO.  Say yes.  Be visible. Be seen. Enjoy living. Breath. Be carefree.
I have a right to accept and be accepted. Change my mind.  See.  Belong too. Be open.
I have a right to feel my feelings, think my thoughts.  Knowing.  Not know. Have gifts.
I have a right to seek my worth, value, needs & wants. Share.  Have.  Be. Do. Not do.
I have a right to intimacy, accept & heal my past. Be healthy; have meaning & purpose.
I have a right to make mistakes, learn, grow, develop my way, at my pace.  Be natural.
I have a right to hear what I hear, see what I see, sense what I sense, want what I want.
I have a right to my beliefs, believe in Self. Be important. Be in control. Let go. Aliveness.
I have a right to give self permission, touch, be held, hold, unfold/raise my inner Child.
I have a right to connected to my core,
I have a right to be intimate, have, and own my body, my femininity, my sexual urges.
I have a right to feel, choose, express my sexuality, enjoy sex, make love, orgasms. Flirt.   
I have a right to listen & hear my inner voices, let my intuition guide me. My essence.
I have a right to cherish, be powerful & empower self. Be different & unique. A Future.
I have a right to be accepting, seek inner, outta peace, contentment, freedom, process.
I have a right to trust my mind & feelings, trust/not trust others. Surrender, authentic.
I have a right to see beauty, be multi-faceted, Spiritual. Gain Mastery. Transcend. Time. 
I have a right to be me exactly as I am here and now. Be a whole Human Being, wisdom.
I have a right to exercise, change or amend my declartion of rights when I choose.
Somewhere over the rainbow, way up high
there’s a land that I've heard of once in a lullaby.
Somewhere over the rainbow, skies are blue
And the dreams that you dare to dream,
really do come true.

Susan Stubbings Doncaster