Reflection on The Book Don't Say Yes When You Want to Say No

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About this sample


Words: 1143 |

Pages: 3|

6 min read

Published: Apr 15, 2020

Words: 1143|Pages: 3|6 min read

Published: Apr 15, 2020

The book addresses the concept of assertiveness. It is a wake up call to anyone who feels like they are not living up to themselves and not being themselves. By not being assertive, one does not show the world who they really are, rather they project and image of what they should be. The book raises awareness about this and helps the reader express themselves more and helps them become more in tune with themselves. The book also makes the reader aware of the damaging effect negative thoughts can have on their behaviour. To stop these thoughts from ruling over us, the author discusses the technique of thought stopping wherein you say “STOP” as soon as you become aware of a negative or unwanted thought. How did the book contribute to my self-understanding?

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What Concept of Self-Awareness Does the Book Address?

In this book, the author bases his arguments in the importance of assertiveness for achieving one’s goals and for personal satisfaction as well. The title of the book itself spoke to me. I realized that I often do certain tasks for others at the expense of my time or even when I don’t want to undertake the activity. I also don’t express my opinion and instead go along with the opinion of others. In short, I almost always say yes, even when I want to say no. Later on, I regret not saying no. However, the cycle continues. I knew this was a problem, but could not pinpoint exactly what it was.

The book ‘Don’t say yes when you want to say no’ is based on assertiveness training, a specialization of the behaviour therapy, which aims to assist people stand up for themselves, while maintaining a balance between passiveness and aggressiveness. I realized that this was where the problem lay. I was not assertive enough. The book listed out several reasons one has assertiveness problems and I immediately realized that I was not being assertive because I was afraid it would come across as aggressiveness. I was afraid of hurting people and causing fights if I had expressed my opinions. I also realized that I was keeping a lot of my thoughts and emotions suppressed, and not expressing them openly because people would not accept them. On the other hand, I was verging towards the edge of passiveness, which I realized is a very unhealthy behaviour.

Through the book, I understood several ways through which I could get what I want while still maintaining harmonious relationships with others. How did I relate to the book?

Before explaining the various assertiveness techniques, the author asks the reader to recognize what kind of assertiveness problems they face currently- whether it is an inability to communicate well with others, or being a pushover so as to earn the ‘respect’ of others. Based on this, the reader is asked to think about what kind of changes he would like to make, thus helping him establish his assertiveness goals. I could relate to both the problem of communicating with others as well as a fear that I would become a pushover. Thus, I relaized that these are the two areas that I must focus on.

The purpose of the book is to bring about a change in the reader’s life and help them communicate their thoughts, feelings and needs in a positive manner, and bring about changes in their unwanted behaviour patterns as well. For changing behaviour, the author lays emphasis on the thoughts or situations that accompany the behaviour, then helps the reader control these thoughts, and bring about changes in the situation leading to the unwanted behaviour.

I also realized that a lot of my behaviour that could be categorized as unassertive was stemming from unwanted thoughts, for example, fear of being rejected by others if I was a little jovial, fear that they would get offended by me etc.

The author argues that change in behaviour patterns can bring about change in the thoughts as well as the perception an individual has of himself. The author also repeatedly mentions that these behaviours may seem artificial or forced in the beginning, but are very essential if a change is required. Even I thought that forcing or acting out a particular behaviour might come across as fake in the beginning, but I realized that I did the same thing by not expressing my opinion and going along with what others say. It started out as a conscious effort in the beginning, and then became a habit. So if I started ‘acting’ assertive, maybe it would become a habit too. How did the book help me?

The book was very helpful and of practical relevance. I could relate to many of the issues of assertiveness discussed in the book. I realized by not being assertive, I am limiting myself of many opportunities. The case studies with treatments discussed in detail are also very useful. The exercises suggested by the author were also very helpful. I especially found the role play and visualization techniques very consistent with who I am. I realized that I am very careful when it comes to dealing with people. Following the suggestion of the author, I used this personality trait of mine to practise certain assertiveness techniques in front of the mirror, imagining situations I may face.

The book is very well written with several illustrations in the form of flow charts explain the cycle of the occurrence of certain behaviours. This helped me gain a better understanding of my own behaviour and the areas I needed to work on. The book even helped me set and reach certain goals. Who else will benefit from reading the book?

The book is very helpful to people hoping to be assertive in different areas of their lives such as the workplace and personal relationships. The book is also very helpful to anyone who wants to improve their communication skills and also get rid of certain unwanted behaviours.

From the perspective of Psychology, it is useful to students interested in how assertiveness training works. Five Phrases or statements from the book that I would use in the future:

“You’re so caught up in the need for being liked that you sacrifice your own self-respect. ”You must recognize your rights and stand up for them. If you do not, other people define your role for you and you stop being yourself. ”

“Knowing what you want is not enough; you must express it and express it appropriately. ” “If you have doubts whether a specific act was assertive ask yourself whether it increased your self-respect even slightly. If it did, it was assertive. If not, it was unassertive. ”

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“Aggression is an act against others. Assertion is appropriate standing up for yourself. Recognize the other people have feelings too. All the reactions do not centre around you. They are independent of you and possess their own thoughts, feelings and problems. ”

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This essay was reviewed by
Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Reflection on the Book Don’t Say Yes When You Want to Say No. (2020, April 12). GradesFixer. Retrieved December 1, 2023, from
“Reflection on the Book Don’t Say Yes When You Want to Say No.” GradesFixer, 12 Apr. 2020,
Reflection on the Book Don’t Say Yes When You Want to Say No. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 1 Dec. 2023].
Reflection on the Book Don’t Say Yes When You Want to Say No [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Apr 12 [cited 2023 Dec 1]. Available from:
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