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AWAKE from Anxiety




When I Say No, I Feel Guilty

"When I Say No, I Feel Guilty" was a best selling book written by Manuel J Smith in 1974. It provides a structured approach to becoming assertive. The book is built around ten 'Assertive Rights' which Smith sees as providing a healthy foundation for participation in relationships.

Manuel J Smith's Ten Assertive Rights

Smith highlights the primary right from which he says all other assertive rights are derived as being the right to judge your own behaviour, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their inititiation and consequences upon yourself. Including this right, the ten assertive rights set out by Smith are: :

1. The right to judge your own behaviour, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.

2. The right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behaviour.

3. The right to judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to other people's problems.

4. The right to change your mind.

5. The right to make mistakes - and be responsible for them.

6. The right to say, "I don't know".

7. The right to be independent of the goodwill of others before coping with them.

8. The right to be illogical in making decisions.

9. The right to say, "I don't understand."

10. The right to say, "I don't care."

Evolution and Assertiveness

Assertiveness was already seen as being about overcoming anxiety before Smith wrote his famous book (for example in the work of Joseph Wolpe). Smith's views may be seen as a development of this approach in that he saw 'fight' or 'flight' as primitive responses triggered by anxiety in the face of danger but also thought that in modern society people can develop verbal problem solving skills and techniques which provide a more sophisticated approach to dealing with anxiety. When I Say No, I Feel Guilty explains a number of such verbal techniques that you can use in conversation to help express and maintain the ten rights described above.

Some of the specific techniques described by Smith include:

Of these techniques, the Broken Record technique is probably the simplest to understand. For an explanation of the Broken Record technique go to the link below:

Broken Record Technique



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