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Know Your Rights

Exercise Your Right
Feel Good About Yourself

You can't go through each day dragged down by regrets and what-ifs.  Consider these wise words from celebrities and historical figures who know a thing or two about self-esteem.


I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.”

--Maya Angelou, American writer


Believe in yourself and know who you are.  That’s the foundation of everything great.

--Jay-Z, singer


You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”

--Hindu Prince Gautama Siddharta, the founder of Buddhism, 563-483 B.C


I can accept failure.  Everyone fails at something.  But I cannot accept not trying.

-- Michael Jordan, basketball player.


You really have to look inside yourself and find your own inner strength and say, ‘I’m proud of what I am and who I am, and I’m just going to be myself.’”

--Mariah Carey, singer


I used to look in the mirror and feel shame.  Now I look in the mirror and I absolutely love myself.” 

--Drew Barrymore, actress


Self-esteem isn’t everything.  It’s just that there’s nothing without it.

--Gloria Steinem, American writer and activist


Every strike out brings me closer to the next home run.

--Babe Ruth, legendary baseball player


It’s not a question of ‘who’s going to let me.’  It’s a question of ‘who’s going to stop me.’”

--Ayn Rand, Russian-American writer


The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.

--Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., American clergyman, activist, and leader in the Civil Rights Movement


You can overcome anything. It takes having an obstacle to learn and grow.

--Orlando Bloom, British actor


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.

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