You Have the Right to Have Boundaries...really!

Successfully implementing boundaries requires believing you have the right to have them. Maybe you grew up in a family where you learned to ignore your feelings or minimize your needs and the idea that you deserve boundaries seems so foreign, even indulgent. Maybe you think boundaries are awesome for other people, but not for you. Build up your foundation by using the Bill of Rights list. This is a list of 25 personal rights adapted from The Anxiety & Phobia Workbook by Dr. Edmund Bourne.

As you go through the list, choose a few that resonate with you or would like to believe more fully. These can become positive affirmations or mantras to use when you struggle with implementing boundaries. Write down the ones that stand out and put them up in places you’ll see them often. Perhaps you want to jot down a few more to add to your list.

  1. I have the right to ask for what I want.

  2. I have the right to say no to requests or demands I can't meet.

  3. I have the right to express all of my feelings, positive or negative.

  4. I have the right to change my mind.

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

  6. I have the right to follow my own standards and standards.

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

  8. I have the right to determine my own priorities.

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

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

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

  12. I have the right to be uniquely myself.

  13. I have the right to feel scared and say "I'm scared."

  14. I have the right to say "I don't know."

  15. I have the right not to give excuses or reasons for my behavior.

  16. I have the right to make decisions based on my feelings.

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

  18. I have the right to be playful and frivolous.

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

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

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

  22. I have the right to change and grow.

  23. I have the right to have my needs and wants respected by others.

  24. I have the right to be treated with dignity and respect.

  25. I have the right to be happy.

If you struggle to believe you deserve to have boundaries, you may need to enlist the help of safe friends or a therapist. Sometimes we need to borrow hope and confidence from others until we can hold it ourselves.