I CAN CLAIM MY RIGHTS
no matter what they told me!
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REVIEW post: “Not Enough Love?”
2. HAVING RIGHTS (cont.)
A “right” is a moral principle which defines & sanctions a person’s freedom of action in a social context, & can be exercised without anyone’s permission. A right is a natural or God-given permit received at birth, to act in one’s own self-interest, with total control over one’s own life and property as long as others are not injured. Some of these rights are stated in our constitution – “that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”
What does Inalienable mean?
➼ The state of a thing, or a right which is not capable of being alienated – sold, surrendered or transferred – without the consent of the one possessing such rights, such as the natural right to be alive & to be free
• This concept generally refers to the way our government is supposed to treat ‘the people’, although much of the world is run by regimes that do not function that way. It is primarily a Western idea, but we know from anthropology, archeology & sociology, even mythology, that some ancient cultures throughout history have also valued personal freedoms, especially those that were matriarchal
• We may then make a comparison between the family unit (specifically parents) & government – one group in the role of the authority over another group needing sustenance, guidance & support. Clearly, there are few governments & few families that respect these ideals.
• The focus here, for ACoAs, is not about political rights, which are important, but rather to be clear about our personal rights – starting in childhood – as that sets the tone for the rest of our life. If we believe that human beings are born with certain fundamental rights then this ALSO applies to how the family should treat their children. Again – one does not have to earn rights. They are part of who we are from conception.
SHAME: this emotion (E) is associated with any need we were NOT allowed to have, that was made fun of, restricted or punished. We learned that we did not have the right to have many needs that are absolutely fundamental AND normal to all human beings & so became ashamed of having them as adults. Read an extensive list of rights at Break the Cycle! similar to the post “My Rights – Qs”
THINGS we did NOT EARN:
• being born with certain abilities & genetic predispositions, such as musical talent, a great immune system, a head for business, being an extrovert, physical stamina, a quick & clever mind ….
• lucky accidents – being in the right place at the right time – but – we would need to take advantage of the opportunity to receive the benefit
• outright gifts from anyone who values us (or needs a tax break, lol)
a. ‘Positive’, recognized by law
“Most countries—though not the USA—have ratified the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, which accords to children a wide range of rights including, most centrally, the right to have their ‘best interests’ be ‘a primary consideration’ in all actions concerning them (Article 3), the ‘inherent right to life’ (Article 6), and the right of a child “who is capable of forming his or her own views … to express these views freely in all matters affecting the child” (Article 12) United Nations 1989.
b. Moral (children’s rights in a family & beyond):
— care, nurturing & unconditional acceptance (love)
— to feel as safe as human parents can possibly make us
— have age-appropriate guidance, including acceptance of our human limitations (mistakes, inabilities, developmental stages of skill….)
— not be exploited for the parents’ or other adults’ benefit
— to be heard, for our opinions and our emotions – all of them
— to know & develop ones own personality to its fullest potential
— be treated with respect, no matter what age
— paid healthy attention to, with boundaries
— encouragement, validation, praise
— experience positive social contact – play, education, creativity, relaxation….
— encouraged or allowed to develop a spiritual basis for our life
Right to the Pursuit of Happiness (from philosophy)
This is a freedom of action. To live, we must be able to choose our values & act on them. To achieve values, we must be free to think and do whatever it takes to develop ourselves, which may sometimes include self-defeating actions, as long as it doesn’t conflict with the rights of others. It means that human beings cannot – should not – be forced to devote their life to the happiness of others. Ultimately, we must be free to pursue our own goals & satisfaction.
FOR ACoAs – we need to identify the qualities & activities that are legitimate for us to have & pursue, in spite of the fact that they were denied us as children. S & I (separation & individuation) means we choose the best way to honor our True Self, no matter how much it conflicts with our toxic family traditions & rules, while still keeping the best parts of our inheritance!
NEXT: Self-esteem – What it is NOT