Your Personal Bill of Rights in Relationships

Happy Independence Day New Thought, Right Action readers! Below is a post of a New Thought, Right Action leaders (two in particular) who worked and continue to work in the field of mental health. Their efforts in writing and teaching in the area of recovery from addiction and growing up in dysfunctional families helped define what healthy boundaries in relationships looks like. I hope you are enjoying your independence from what ever patterns that have been binding you from living your life to its full, healthy capacity.

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Native Houstonian John Bradshaw was a prolific writer and he, along with Atlanta-based Dr. Charles Whitfield, made popular the concept of “healing your inner child. ”  In the early 90s,  Mr. Bradshaw shared in a public way his vulnerabilities and own recovery journey from alcoholism. He built a platform of lectures, PBS presentations,

and books to help millions of people around the world. If it weren’t ‘t for his and Dr. Whitfield’s service in writing, many people would never have been introduced to the concept of toxic shame. Mr. Bradshaw’s theory, in particular, is that toxic shame is what drives so many people’s decisions to self medicate through alcohol, drugs, food, sex, shopping, and overworking to mask the intolerable feeling of unworthiness.

IMG_0960(1)Mr. Bradshaw died two years ago. Friday, would have been his 85th birthday. His family held an estate sale at their property last weekend and I chose to attend so I could see where he wrote his many, many influential books. While we were there, admiring the many artifacts Mr. Bradshaw had collected on his international trips, we had the serendipity to meet Mrs. Bradshaw. The reason she and her husband had so many collectibles is not because of materialism but because of Mr. Bradshaw’s spirit of service. Everywhere they went, she said, “John wanted to buy something from the shopkeepers to help them out.”

Helping people out is what healers do. Dr. Whitfield is referenced for his compilation of a Personal Bill of Rights as it relates to interacting in healthy relationships. Here’s his list of “rights” that we are all entitled to enjoy if that’s what we choose. What rights are you exercising today?

independence day

The Power of Your No

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Your mom tells you “no” for a reason when you’re a kid. She’s looking out for your welfare and she knows what you’re like to live with when you’re over-tired. But now that you’re a grownup, it’s your job to figure out what to say yes to and what to decline.

As you’re building a professional reputation, telling your requestors a plain “no” or “because I said so,” in “Momese” could be viewed as impolite. It takes courage to say no if you have a “people pleasing” tendency, yet setting a limit on others dependent demands may be the kindest thing you do for someone all year-long.

A way to confirm whether you’re taking on something that’s not yours to take on is ask yourself a simple question: “Am I doing something for someone else that they’re perfectly capable of doing themselves.”

If the answer is “yes,” then your answer to them might need to be “no.”

In the personal arena, people have difficulties saying no to themselves, much less to other people. Look around, credit card debt is negatively affecting a generation’s ability to retire without taking on a job and obesity is a public health issue. If you feel conflicted about saying no to others, perhaps it’s best to start with yourself.

Limiting your own over-indulgences may be the best “no” you give yourself and could potentially improve, if not save, your life by preventing a host of health issues, especially stress.

As James Altucher writes in his book “The Power of No” learning the well placed “no” can free you to say a “truly powerful “Yes” in your life—one that opens the door to opportunities, abundance, and love.”

Here’s a list of 20 ways to say “no.”

just say no