personal boundaries

Sick of over-extending yourself? Learn how to say No; Part One

It is Saturday afternoon and you have just finished cleaning the house, preparing lunch for the family, have finished off your report due first thing Monday morning and are sewing on a button to your sons football shirt, after which you need to start studying for your business diploma. As you prick yourself on the needle your other half then pops their head through the door and asks you to go to the shops with a long list they have prepared. You don’t have nearly enough time but you smile and say ‘Sure.’ Does this sound familiar?


All too often we struggle to say no when we are completely stretched and cannot really afford to say yes. If we say no we may feel we are letting others down and might even feel we are less likable or less recognised in the workplace as a result. In contemporary culture we are taking on more roles, often having a full-time career as well as being the main care taker of the home and family. With so many roles to contend with we can easily fall into the superwoman, or superman trap, feeling that we should be able to manage everything at once. When being a parent, partner, full-time worker and student is normal, how do we learn to judge what is, and is not, reasonable to take on?


How to free yourself and assert your rights; Part Three


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Last week we examined each right and saw how significant they all were in maintaining our sense of worth and self-esteem. This week we will look at how to begin asserting these rights to others, encouraging them to treat us with the consideration and respect we all deserve.


Each and every right serves to emphasise our self-worth as dignified, competent and equal human beings. When any of our fundamental rights are violated it silently communicates that either we are incapable or of less worth than others – neither of which are true. Thankfully it is within our control to refuse others violating our rights. More

How to free yourself and assert your rights; Part Two


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Picture courtesy of


Last week we discovered Anne Dickson’s list of rights as outlined in her book ‘Assertiveness and You: A Woman In Your Own Right’. These are intrinsic rights which we were all born with and in asserting these rights we recognise our own worth as dignified human beings. In fact, the very act of asserting these rights serves to boost our self-esteem. Let’s explore them in more detail to better understand them and the importance they hold in our lives.


“I have the right to state my own needs and set my own priorities as a person, independent from any roles that I may assume in my life.” This right recognises our existence beyond the roles we inhabit (whether they be that of a husband, wife, mother or father) and accepts we have priorities beyond the realms of those roles. We are all, at our core, individuals and this right highlights we should be treated as such. In truth, to have priorities for ourselves outside of the roles we inhabit is healthy as it promotes a sense of autonomy and individuality. More

How to free yourself and assert your rights; Part One

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Picture courtesy of


In 2009 I was at an all time low. I was deeply unhappy in my marriage and very depressed. At my worst point I finally confided in my parents and they decided to pay for me to have treatment at arguably one of the best facilities in the world. During my time there I embarked on an unexpected journey of self discovery and began my life-long quest to gain greater psychological knowledge and understanding. It is a journey which has given me many insights into human nature and one I have found profoundly rewarding.


One of the very first things I was introduced to when I got treatment was the notion that all of us have basic rights we are born with. These rights are separate from our legal human rights however they are just as intrinsic to our very being. In one of my very first assertiveness classes I was given a list of these basic rights. I would later discover these were taken from Anne Dickson’s bookA Woman In Your Own Right: Assertiveness And You’. Although the book speaks to woman, the rights and assertiveness principles outlined are universal and are just as applicable to men. More

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