9 common phrases that reveal your lack of confidence (and how to change them)

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As humans, we all have moments where we may doubt ourselves or our abilities. 

However, you may express your insecurities through common phrases that reveal your lack of confidence. These damage self-esteem and impact how others perceive and interact with us. 

Here, we will explore 9 common phrases that reveal your lack of confidence and provide guidance on how to change them.

A word of caution, though.

These phrases don’t always show you lack confidence. Context of the situation matters, but mindful self-expression and message delivery are essential considerations.

1) “What do you think about that?”

Asking for others’ opinions is important. 

Sometimes, it may indicate a lack of confidence in one’s own solutions or ideas when deferring to others. 

When presenting a project to your boss, for instance, don’t ask for their opinion before sharing your complete plan.

Instead, take ownership and be specific with what you need from them. 

Consider saying “I need your review on how I can improve this project” or “I’d love to get your input on my presentation.”

This will show them that you’ve put in the effort and allow them to give feedback specifically on the areas that need improvement.

2) “We can just do whatever you want.”

While relinquishing control and letting others lead may appear reasonable in certain circumstances, it’s essential to retain your voice and valuable contributions.

Your unique perspective and insights positively influence decisions made in a given situation, so don’t underestimate their worth. 

That said, never fear stating your opinion—it shows that you care about the outcome of the conversation. 

Get the conversation flowing by saying, “I think we should do X, but I’m eager to hear your ideas.” This encourages others to share their opinions, sparking a productive discussion.

Stand up for your beliefs everywhere at home, school, or work.

Demonstrating assertiveness and being proactive sends a strong message of confidence to those around you.

3) Self-doubt makes you say, “I’m not really that good”

This is one of the common phrases that reveal your lack of confidence.

You see, constantly putting oneself down promotes low self-confidence.

So instead of focusing on the negative, build up positive traits

Remember, success is a journey, celebrate small wins and practice to improve.

Plus, when people pay you compliments for a job well done, take a moment to savor it. Appreciate yourself, your competence, and your efforts by simply saying “Thank you.”

Bank on positive reinforcement instead of undermining your abilities with negative thoughts.

4) “It’s not a big deal”

When an issue arises, our initial reflex is often to minimize its significance and pretend it doesn’t affect us. However, suppressing our emotions only worsens the situation and can lead to unnecessary suffering.

Saying “It’s not a big deal” could sound too sure of yourself. 

Next time, switch to a neutral tone to convey the same message. Expressing feelings with respect shows strength and fearlessness.

Just be honest about how situations make you feel. 

Say “That made me uncomfortable” or “This isn’t fair.”

Doing so will show them that their words have an impact on others and can even lead to possible solutions. 

5) “I’m not sure if I can do that”

Doubting oneself can limit achievement. And this phrase is a classic example of expressing them. 

Of course, collectively, there are certain things you simply can’t do.

However, your attitude toward challenges can affect the outcome. Rather than expressing doubt with “I’m not sure if I can do that,” choose a more affirmative approach such as “I will give it my best shot.” This minor shift in language can boost confidence and inspire greater determination toward achieving the goal.

Addressing challenges with a “can-do” attitude cultivates an environment of success.

6) “I wonder what they think/feel about me”

It’s easy to neglect one’s own needs to please others.

I get it. Opinions of other people matter.

But you see, self-worth and validation come from within. 

Trust yourself to take action in a way that honors your values, rather than seeking external approval for every decision.

Focus on yourself. Whatever you hear could just be all noise.

Believe in yourself by saying “I’m doing my best,” and forget the opinions of others.

7) “I’m sorry”

Apologizing unnecessarily can be damaging to your confidence.

Don’t get me wrong.

Feeling sorry after doing wrong for the first time is natural. But apologizing just because someone is unhappy with you shouldn’t be the norm.

That is, if you really are constantly committing mistakes, then you should reflect on the cause instead of being sorry all the time.

It’s essential to assert yourself and explain the issue without saying sorry too often.

If someone critiques your work, respond confidently by being assertive.

Consider saying something like “I understand why you feel that way and I see your perspective.”

This will show them that you’re open to constructive opinions and not afraid of expressing your thoughts and defending your work.

8) “This might be a stupid question, but…”

When I hear people starting their questions with this phrase, sometimes I feel that they’re downplaying their own knowledge and even the importance of their questions.

Remember, asking questions is better than not knowing. Know that no question is too silly and don’t hesitate to ask for clarification if needed.

Therefore, when you have to ask something in person and either on social media or email, simply do it without a preface. 

Rather than saying “This might be a stupid question”, try prefacing it with something like “I’m curious about…” or “Can we discuss this further?”

These phrases demonstrate assertiveness and will show that you’re confident in your abilities. 

Plus, they’ll encourage a conversation which can help you gain more insight into the topic.

9) “It’s not my fault”

Admit it, we all get defensive sometimes.

When facing rejection or disagreement, we tend to blame others instead of owning up to our own actions.

Saying “It’s not my fault” implies immaturity and lack of confidence, making you seem powerless in controlling your life.

It also gives an impression of us being unable to handle difficult situations.

It’s important to note that, sometimes, accepting responsibility and owning the situation is favorable. Such an approach demonstrates accountability and a willingness to find solutions, leading to a quicker resolution.

To handle such situations, try saying “I could have done better” or “How can I make things right?”

This demonstrates maturity, confidence in handling difficult situations, and accountability for any mistakes made.

Practical tips on building self-confidence

Now that we’ve discussed common phrases that reveal our lack of confidence, let’s look at some practical tips for building self-confidence.

Practice positive self-talk away from self-doubt

Affirmations are simple statements that reinforce self-worth and positive beliefs about yourself.

For example, say: “I have the knowledge and strength to succeed” or “My voice is heard and respected”.

This is the best way to show kindness toward yourself.

Embrace challenges when you can 

Navigation against the tide can help boost self-confidence.

Tackling a challenging task assigned by a coworker can work wonders for you. It hones your skills, boosts confidence, and leaves you feeling fulfilled and invigorated.

Use body language to show your best self

Body language affects how you perceive yourself and how others see you.

Stand tall, and hold yourself with grace and poise. Maintain eye contact, and let your posture reflect confidence and openness.

Confidently carrying yourself signals to others that you’re capable of taking on any challenge.

Challenge negative self-talk

Don’t allow negativity to reside within your life.

Whenever you find yourself indulging in negative self-talk, challenge those unhelpful thoughts.

Stay positive by focusing on what’s good: remember the good things that happened to you and let them uplift you!

This goes a long way in developing your confidence and leaving you feeling empowered and motivated. 

Be an advocate of empathy and compassion

When you champion others, it boosts your own confidence.

Showing empathy and support for those around you eases pressure and creates a sense of community. Advocacy allows standing up for oneself and others, instilling confidence.

Surround yourself with positive, supportive people

Surrounding yourself with individuals who inspire you to be your best self is crucial! 

Your circle of friends, family, and colleagues shapes your confidence and self-esteem, impacting your journey toward achieving greatness.

Practice self-care 

Self-care is key to building confidence.

Make time for activities you enjoy, exercise regularly, and prioritize getting enough sleep. 

Taking time to re-energize, reset and refocus can work wonders for enhancing productivity and mental peace.

Final thoughts

These common phrases that reveal your lack of confidence can damage your self-esteem, success, and growth. 

Mindfulness is key: replace and rephrase negative language with more positive alternatives. 

Also incorporating practical tips can bring you closer to reaching your goals.

Ultimately, the most critical factor is having confidence in oneself, and trusting in one’s ability to tackle whatever life may hurl.

Frankie Pascua-dela Pasion

Frankie was born and raised in Manila, Philippines. She is a graduate of Humanities from the University of Asia and the Pacific.

Frankie is a seasoned Customer Success and Human Resources professional. She is also a certified Life Coach and Career Strategist. She helps people young and young at heart to simplify their lives by creating emotional awareness. She also loves working with people who have a genuine interest in breaking their inner limits through their journey of self-discovery and authenticity in their personal and professional lives.

Frankie’s recent venture into writing is fueled by her passion for human connection and meaningful relationships at home, at work, and basically everywhere. She enjoys the research, discovery, and reflection that go into each article as much as she writes about them, in the hopes that her words resonate with, and give perspective to her audience.

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