Self-confidence is a powerful thing. Most people desire it because those that have it often have an unfair advantage in negotiations, public speaking, job interviews, decision-making, you name it.
But what if someone lacks self-confidence? How do we recognize it to take advantage of it or to improve our own?
Well, they, or us, might just use some of the following phrases…
1) “I’m not sure, but…”
This phrase is a bit on the nose, isn’t it? I mean, the person saying it is acknowledging they aren’t sure about something, aren’t they?
Yet, I can’t recall how often I’ve heard it in my lifetime. It’s definitely overused and makes the person saying it sound indecisive, insecure, uncertain, and lacking self-confidence.
I often hear it when a person hesitates to assert their knowledge or opinion. It could stem from a fear of being wrong or of not having enough information.
But one thing’s sure, this hesitancy to stand behind their thoughts might lead others to question their confidence and credibility in the matter.
2) “I guess that’s okay”
Expressing uncertainty in your preferences or opinions reflects a lack of confidence in your own judgment.
When you say something like that, you suggest that you don’t feel comfortable asserting your viewpoint or desires, possibly due to a fear of disagreement or rejection.
For example, when someone suggests a change in a proposal or demands that you pay them more for a work that’s already done.
If you lack self-confidence, you’d say “I guess that’s okay” in order to prevent a tough conversation or negotiation that would be inevitable if you stood your ground.
3) “I don’t know what I’m doing”
This fairly common statement reveals self-doubt and insecurity about your abilities and decisions. It could originate from a lack of experience, fear of failure, or a constant need for validation from others.
How many times did you hear someone exclaim this? Probably many. Heck, you might have used it yourself in some occasions. I know I have.
4) “I’m not very good at this”
We can’t be good at everything we touch. That’s reserved for fictional characters like Tony Stark or Mary Poppins.
People even thought Elon Musk was this perfect self-confident individual. And while he is incredibly self-confident, it’s more and more apparent that it’s actually detrimental to his reputation (if not his money-making abilities).
He is a type of person that’d never say “I’m not very good at this.”
But people that do, openly state a lack of skill or proficiency and look for reassurance or they’re downplaying their abilities.
5) “I could be wrong, but…”
Prefacing statements with doubt suggests a lack of confidence in your own perspective. People use this phrase out of fear of criticism or confrontation, as the person anticipates the possibility of being challenged.
It’s like you’re walking on eggshells around someone when you say this to them. You’re wearing white gloves not to disturb them too much.
Here’s a similar phrase:
6) “I’m sorry, but…”
Unnecessarily apologizing while expressing yourself shows a lack of confidence in speaking up.
It implies that you feel or know that your words might inconvenience or upset others, thereby downplaying their own importance.
7) “I’m not the best person to ask”
I’ve used this phrase when I didn’t want to deal with someone. Others might use it when they have a lack of confidence in their knowledge or expertise.
They feel inadequate compared to others, leading them to avoid giving an advice or sharing their insights.
8) “I’m just lucky, I suppose”
This is a terribly self-deprecating thing to say. It downplays personal achievements and attributes success solely to luck.
It also establishes a lack of confidence in one’s skills and minimizes the value of their efforts.
Although you sometimes need luck to achieve or get something, it’s usually more important to be in the right place at the right time.
9) “I don’t think anyone cares, but…”
Another incredibly self-diminishing thing you can say because it lessens the significance of your thoughts or opinions.
It, of course, indicates a lack of confidence in the relevance of your ideas, possibly stemming from a fear of rejection or disinterest from others.
10) “I’m just trying to get by”
Expressing a desire to merely survive or cope suggests a lack of confidence in one’s ability to thrive.
The person saying this has a negative self-perception or a belief that success is unattainable.
I’ve had this attitude for many years, especially during the financial crisis of 2008. As did many others, of course.
But once there was more perspective and opportunity, the mindset mostly disappeared.
11) “I’m probably overthinking it”
If you’re saying this phrase, then you’re definitely overthinking things. It goes to show how much self-doubt is in your thought processes and decisions.
Some people overthink, while others simply do things and don’t think things over at all. Neither way is good, obviously.
12) “I don’t want to bother you, but…”
Using this phrase suggests a lack of confidence when seeking help or support. The person might even feel unworthy of assistance or fear being a burden to others. This hampers their ability to connect with and rely on those around them.
Most people aren’t the King of England that you should never disturb with your mere existence.
So if you need help, just outright say it.
13) “I’m always messing things up”
This self-deprecating phrase points to a pattern of viewing mistakes as the norm. It suggests a lack of confidence in your competence and a tendency to focus on failures rather than successes.
While it’s true that some people just mess up everything they touch, for most people that’s not true.
Therefore, there’s no need for such language as it won’t get you sympathy anyway.
14) “I’m just a beginner, so…”
Being a beginner at anything sucks. You don’t have the skills, everything feels new and weird, and getting the real skills typically takes ages and a lot of dedication.
So when someone says they’re just a beginner, they imply that their newbie status disqualifies them from fully participating or contributing.
It also suggests a lack of confidence in their potential to learn and grow.
15) “You’re better at this”
When someone openly admits other person is better than them at something, they’re looking for an out or a way to validate their work.
Openly admitting a lack of self-confidence like this, demonstrates an awareness of their insecurities.
This phrase might be an attempt to manage expectations and avoid situations that challenge their inadequacy.
Ultimately, transforming the mindset from “You’re better at this” to “I can improve and succeed at this” results in greater self-confidence and a more positive outlook on challenges and opportunities.
If you’ve recognized someone in these phrases, congratulations. You’re now one step closer to helping them, or crushing them.
It’s up to you to decide what you’ll do with this information.
But if you want to improve your self-confidence levels, start by reading 15 simple and effective ways to boost your confidence today.