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Know Your Rights

Exercise Your Right
Do Less

Need a break?

Even Superman took time off from being perfect so he could be regular old Clark Kent now and then!  It’s okay to be in tune with your limitations and exercise your Right to take it easy.


List the tasks you did not accomplish this week.

Maybe you didn’t feel well enough to finish a project, or you decided not to take part in an extra-credit study group.   Whatever it was, if you feel like you failed to meet someone’s expectations (or even failed to meet your own expectations), list it here:

Now… list all of your accomplishments this week – large and small.

From finishing homework to doing daily chores to taking part in extra-curricular activities, consider every single task on your daily To-Do list and record all of the things you did get done:

Compare your two lists. Did you get less done than you hoped?  Click Here

Did you accomplish more than you realized?  Click Here



If less:

Cut yourself some slack, accept that you don't have to be superhuman every single second of every single day, and practice saying this phrase to people:

"That sounds like a good goal.  I'm not ready to tackle it right now but I'll try it another time."
Then curl up with a good book, listen to your favorite music, watch a TV show that makes you laugh, or just take a long nap!  A little rest and relaxation is good for the body and for the soul.

If more:

Sometimes pain makes it seem like you didn't get much done - but when you keep track of your accomplishments, you may find they far outnumber your "failures."

You have the right to...

If you don't believe you have this right, no one else will believe it either. You do deserve equal and fair treatment and once you embrace that fact, the rest of these Rights will fall right into place.

You are living a life with pain.  That means sometimes you may find yourself traveling through uncharted territory.  Of course you’re going to make mistakes from time to time because mistakes are a natural part of daily life for all of us!

In our ultra-competitive world, it’s easy to buckle under to that pressure to be The Best.   But you have the Right to occasionally step back from those demands because your pain can increase when you push yourself too far. 

Listen to what your body is asking you to do:  Take a breather.  Take a break.  

Pain makes it difficult to make plans in advance.  But that doesn’t mean you have to shut yourself off from the people and activities you enjoy. 

Go ahead and make plans and if your pain flares up, know that you have the Right to change your mind and try again on a day when you feel well enough to fully enjoy the activity. 


No one knows what you need better than you do.  Start each morning by asking yourself, “What are my needs today?”   Then determine the right path, and the right people, to help you reach your objectives. You have the Right to approach them and ask for what you want.


How many times have you regretted saying yes to a request?  Maybe it happens because you’re eager to please people.  Maybe you feel pressured to provide a fast answer.  Either way, you have the Right to pause and consider the consequences.

“Let me think about it and get back to you.”   Those magic words ought to buy you some time to think through any request. 


You have the Right to know the reasons why your parents, teachers, and medical team are making decisions that affect your life.  As the old saying goes, Information is power

If you don’t understand something, do the research, and ask the questions, which will connect you to the facts, figures, definitions, and answers you need to be in-the-know. 

At some point in your life, you probably held a door open for someone carrying a heavy box.  Or lent your friend lecture notes from the day she was absent.  Or volunteered with a group doing community service.

You don't resent lending a hand when someone needs help so don't be shy about asking others for assistance when you are in need.  You may be surprised to discover just how many people are happy to come to your aid!


Try running a marathon with a thousand-pound weight attached to your back.  Yeah.  That's what it's like going through life feeling bad about who you are.

You need to think about how pain affects your own self-image before you can think about your relationships with others.  Shed the emotional dead weight because you have the Right to feel good about who you are. 

Some people think disagreeing is the same thing as arguing.  But we all hold different views and opinions about topics.

It doesn't matter if it's a parent, teacher, friend, or even a member of your medical team; it's okay to respectfully disagree with a point that just doesn't sit right with you. 

There's a big difference between choosing to share information and feeling obligated to talk about stuff you'd really keep to yourself - especially when it comes to revealing details about your pain.

No need to apologize, no need to over-share, no need to provide play-by-play commentary about what's going on inside your head.  You have the Right to privacy and to living the life you choose on your own terms.


Saying no to someone can be tough ... but saying yes to everyone is even tougher!  You do not have to agree to everything you're asked to do.  Life is a lot less stressful when you know you can exercise your Right to say no and then move on without guilt.

Fear is a pretty powerful controller – especially fear of the unknown.   Take away that fear by asking one simple question:  Why?

The answer might help clear up a misunderstanding . . .  or give you a new perspective ... or provide input for an important decision.  It might even reveal that the person you’re asking can’t adequately answer why a decision is being made!  Asking why will put you back into a position of power over your life so get used to asking it – a lot.

There is no right or wrong when it comes to expressing your feelings.  Hiding how you really feel will only lead to frustration, tension and stress -- and that’s never a good thing when it comes to managing your pain.  

Be up-front about your feelings and stand firm if someone tries to devalue them.  You have the right to be heard and respected because what you have to say is important to the conversation.

Quick Tip

Some days your body tells you to exercise your right to do less than you normally do.  Listen to your body when it’s talking!  

But when your body tells you it’s ready to handle more, get back into your regular routine – because prolonged periods of inactivity could make some types of pain worse.

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