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8 ways to boost your self-confidence
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Learn to say no and assert yourself


Saying 'no' is a way of affirming your needs and wishes. If you say 'yes' to everything when you don't want to, it's through a fear of not being liked. This fear goes back to childhood, when you thought you had to obey in order to get affection from your parents. Taking the opposite stance on something will help you realize that other people will still like you even if they don't like what you're saying - and they'll respect you for standing up for yourself. 

What to do: Concentrate on saying 'no.' At first you may well find yourself blurting out 'yes' before you know it or going back on your first decision, but being willing to change your mind shows your intelligence: "The more you show that you've changed your mind about something or other, the more appreciated and respected you'll be", explains Isabelle Filliozat. Of course, you shouldn't just change your mind on a whim, but don't be afraid to go back on a 'yes.' 

> Start by practising in situations that don't have serious consequences. When you're buying your lunch and you ask for the tuna sarnie, then say actually you'll have cheese instead, then decide you did really want the tuna, then say so! Build up to more serious situations. Example: you think an idea someone brought up in a work meeting was a stroke of genuis, but now you've given it some more thought you can see there are lots of holes in it. Changing your mind and saying 'no' shows that you've thought it through properly...which is what you're paid to do, right? 

Tip: Try having a "no limits" day when you're allowed to do everything that's bad for you/frowned upon by society/the parents/your other half. From spending hours in a bubble bath to pigging out on chocolate eclairs, staying in your PJs all day, blowing an indecent sum of money on a pair of shoes... This will take you back to what our expert calls "the disobedient period of childhood" and symbolically free yourself from all those forbidden things that have been suppressed.

Also: our full 
guide to saying 'no'


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