Kate Kei

How to Spot a Lack of Self Confidence

In the previous post I have talked about the importance of being confident, about how confident people tend to be more appreciated by their peers and to get a better job. Confidence is a winning strategy in both career and relationships.



Now I would like to talk about the lack of confidence.


Lack of confidence means fear. It can be the fear of rejection, the fear of not being taken seriously, the fear of not being good enough…

Fear is debilitating both emotionally and physically. Fear is blocking and sometimes paralyzing.

Just as confidence can bring us appreciation and positive emotions, the lack of it can generate failures and negative feelings.


Why is it important to know how the lack of confidence manifests?

Because when you know these signs and behaviors, you can learn to deal with them if that’s your problem; you can learn to consciously control them. Moreover, you’ll be able to distinguish the lack of confidence in others in order to better understand them and to help them feel better.


No one can always remain confident. From time to time, everyone starts doubting, feeling unsure and experiencing some kind of fear. However, for some people it comes and goes, while for others it’s the way of life.


It is important to know to which of these groups you belong, because then you will know whether you only need to learn to fake confidence in some situations, or whether you need a deeper approach.


So, let’s dive in.


  • First of all, there is a pile of nervous habits that betray the lack of confidence: slouching, giggling, fidgeting the fingers, tapping the foot, chewing on pens or pencils, biting the fingernails, avoiding eye-contact, touching the hair, rushed speech, biting the lower lip.
    These are the habits that are quite known and easy to spot and that need to be broken. I’ll talk about it in detail in the next post.

Lack of Self-Confidence

  • A deeper and less obvious manifestation is the fear of trying or of making a choice, when somebody is not taking action out of fear of failure. Very often, these people would say that they can do it, but just don’t want to. And that’s a big fat lie to themselves and to the others. And as a result, they cannot correctly evaluate their abilities and strengths.


  • Another sign of the lack of self-trust is the desire to be just like everyone else. These people only feel comfortable when they are part of the crowd. They don’t take risks and don’t become successful in order to gain the approval of the others.


Self-blame, self-criticizing

  • The next behavior that results from the lack of self-assurance is the vicious cycle of envy, susceptibility and self-deprecation. These people blame and criticize the others. They constantly compare themselves to the others, and when someone has achieved more than them, they feel envious. Then, self-criticism and self-accusation kicks in and they start feeling guilty. Guilt gradually turns into resentment and they start complaining and blaming the others again. And the story repeats itself endlessly.
    In addition to all the negative feelings it brings, this vicious circle makes people forget about the most important – their plans and their dreams, which can only lead to more failures.


  • Fussiness also shows self-doubt. These people feel uncomfortable and anxious when they do nothing. Only they are fussy not because they have a lot of goals, but because they are afraid of being late, of falling behind.


  • Under-confident people often depend on somebody else’s opinion. Someone else’s evaluation and point of view seems to them more important than their own. They look at everything through someone else’s eyes and crave approval from everyone, close relatives as much as total strangers.


  • Sometimes insecure people are shy and quiet. But the opposite is also true: excessive aggressiveness and arrogance, especially when directed toward a weak person, betray the self-distrust too. In some cases, this aggressiveness can arise from the need to defend themselves. And by the way, defensive body language (crossed arms and/or legs) too means that the person is feeling insecure.


  • Yet another manifestation of under-confidence is jealousy. Jealous people are afraid that their competitor would be better than them and thus preferred over them.


  • Surprisingly, psychologists affirm that perfectionism characterizes people with low self-esteem as well. Ashamed of their mistakes, they are trying to be perfect and seek perfection in everything they do, because they believe that this is the only way for them to get approval and respect from others.


  • Diffident people cannot stand the slightest criticism. They instantly start retorting, explaining and finding excuses. And often they have an obsessive desire to be always right and to know it all.


  • In addition, the need to explain themselves goes even farther: you will find them tirelessly justifying every minor incident, like an accidentally overthrown pencil holder, but also every achievement of theirs.


  • Finally, bragging and mendacity result from a low self-esteem. These people tell pretty lies and embellish things in their constant struggle to show the others that they are better, cooler than they see themselves. At the end, it hurts their business and relationships, and prevents them from seeing their real strengths and weaknesses.


  • Naturally, negative attitude, criticism and pessimism are a package deal with the lack of confidence, together with inability to enjoy success that they attribute to luck, rather than to their own abilities and talents.


In the next post we’ll talk about how to deal with nervous habits that betray the lack of confidence. Meanwhile, you can use all of the above to better understand yourself and the others.



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