Learn to say no without feeling guilty

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A lack of assertiveness can make life difficult – and it can lead to low self-esteem, anxiety, resentment, guilt or anger for many people.

The assertiveness course at Reginald Murphy Community Centre in Kings Cross covers 5 techniques for speaking up for yourself and what you want.

It uses cognitive behavioural therapy and neurolinguistic programming and is based on the classic bestseller When I say no, I feel guilty by psychologist Mano J Smith.

One of the book’s main principles is that we all have the right to judge our own behaviour, thoughts and emotions, and take responsibility for them.

“We start the course with the broken record technique,” said Bishop Laryea, course presenter and City of Sydney community service worker.

Learning to stay calm and confident is very important. Sometimes people don’t know what you want, so you need to tell them a few times. We learn to repeat what we want while staying calm.

The course covers techniques to cope with issues such as criticism, bullying, manipulation and relationship troubles.

“We also do some role play and act out difficult scenarios so people get some practice.”

Role play scenarios range from asking for a refund for damaged goods to telling a neighbour to stop slamming their door.

“It’s true that people can get emotional. They may have been supressing their feelings for a long time. But the results are excellent,” Bishop said.

Sydneysider Sarah signed up for the assertiveness course because she was miserable at work.

I signed up for the assertiveness course and it was a revelation.

“We learned not to think in terms of what we should or need to do – this takes away your power.

“It’s better to concentrate on what you want or don’t want. That’s more achievable.”

Sarah said these insights gave her immediate benefits and helped her take control over her life.

After she completed the course, Sarah sat down with her boss.

“I talked about all the things I wasn’t able to raise before. I asked for help when I’m really busy. He gave me someone to help me for a few hours a week. I asked to do my real estate course in work hours, and they agreed. And I even asked for a holiday!” Sarah said.

The assertiveness course runs for 4 weeks and takes 8 people at a time. Find out more or book in at What’s On.

Posted . Last updated .

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