If a woman frequently uses these 8 phrases, she lacks self-confidence

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Self-confidence is a tricky thing. Sometimes, we might not even realize we’re lacking it.

In women especially, it can be subtly displayed through the phrases they use.

As a woman myself, I’ve caught myself using certain phrases when trying to get validation or come off a certain way in interactions – but they were simply a reflection of my wavering confidence.

If you want to know how a woman feels about herself so you can be there for her, or you want to make sure you avoid coming across as unconfident yourself, then look out for these 8 phrases. 

1) “I’m sorry, but…”

Confidence isn’t about never being wrong. It’s about not being afraid to stand by your thoughts and opinions, even if they might differ from those around you.

And yet, many women tend to start their sentences with an apology. “I’m sorry, but…” becomes a constant prefix that subtly undermines the value of what comes next.

Yes, apologies have their time and place. But when it comes to expressing an opinion or making a statement, the unnecessary “I’m sorry” can make it seem like you’re asking for permission to speak your mind.

It’s a phrase that’s often used to soften an opposing viewpoint or to downplay an accomplishment. And when used excessively, it can be indicative of a lack of self-confidence.

So ladies, next time you find yourself starting with “I’m sorry,” take a step back. Your opinions are valid without needing to be cushioned by an apology.

2) “Does that make sense?”

This is a phrase I once found myself using frequently, especially in professional settings. After explaining a concept or sharing an idea, I would often ask, “Does that make sense?”

On the surface, it might seem like I was just checking for understanding. But over time, I realized it was more than that. It was as if I was seeking validation for my thoughts or doubting my ability to communicate effectively.

What I didn’t realize was that this phrase subtly conveyed a lack of confidence in my own knowledge and communication skills. It was as if I didn’t trust myself enough to believe that what I was saying was logical and understandable.

It took some time, but I learned to trust in my abilities and communicate confidently without needing constant reassurances. Now, I ask for feedback in a more assertive way by saying, “Do you have any questions?” or “Is there anything you’d like me to clarify?”

This gives others the opportunity to express their thoughts without making me question my own competence.

3) “I’m no expert, but…”

This phrase is often used as a disclaimer before sharing an opinion or piece of information. By using it, a woman is essentially downplaying her knowledge or expertise on a subject.

Interestingly, research has shown that women are more likely than men to underestimate their abilities and performance, even though their skills are the same.

This “confidence gap” can lead to women using phrases like “I’m no expert” as a way to shield themselves from potential criticism or doubt.

However, this phrase does more harm than good. It signals a lack of self-confidence and can make the listener doubt the credibility of what follows.

It’s always better to state your thoughts or share your knowledge without the unnecessary disclaimer. You don’t need to be an expert to contribute valuable insights.

4) “It’s probably stupid, but…”

This is another phrase women often use to preface their ideas or opinions. It’s a preemptive move to save face in case their idea is rejected or ridiculed.

But here’s the catch – by using this phrase, you’re already undermining your own idea before anyone else has the chance to. It’s like you’re setting yourself up for failure.

This phrase screams lack of self-confidence. It shows that you’re more concerned about how others perceive your idea than the merit of the idea itself.

Remember, no idea is stupid. Each one holds potential and value. Next time you have an idea, share it confidently without the self-deprecating preface.

5) “I just got lucky.”

Success is a mix of hard work, perseverance, and yes, sometimes a little bit of luck. But when women attribute their success solely to luck, they’re discrediting their own efforts and abilities.

I’ve seen this happen time and time again with friends, colleagues, even family members. They brush off their achievements as mere luck, refusing to acknowledge their own role in their success.

This phrase reflects a lack of self-confidence. It’s a way for women to downplay their accomplishments out of fear of appearing boastful or arrogant.

But ladies, it’s okay to own your success. You’ve worked hard for it. So rather than attributing it to luck, celebrate your achievements and recognize your own worth. You deserve it.

6) “I don’t want to be a bother, but…”

For the longest time, I found myself saying this phrase whenever I needed help or a favor. I was always cautious not to impose on others, so much so that I devalued my own needs and wants.

This phrase exhibits a lack of self-confidence by suggesting that your needs are a burden to others. It reflects a fear of rejection or disapproval, and an unwillingness to assert your own needs.

However, it’s important to understand that it’s okay to ask for help or express your needs. Everyone needs assistance at some point, and it doesn’t make you a bother.

When you catch this phrase about to come out of your mouth, replace it with a simple and direct request. You might be surprised at how willing people are to lend a hand.

7) “It was nothing.”

Have you ever been complimented for a job well done, only to brush it off with a casual “It was nothing”? If so, you’re not alone.

This phrase is another way women often downplay their accomplishments. Instead of accepting praise graciously, they minimize their efforts, making it seem as though their achievement was no big deal.

But here’s the thing: It is a big deal. You’ve worked hard and you deserve recognition for your efforts.

Using this phrase can suggest a lack of self-confidence, as if you don’t see your own value or worth. It’s time to flip that narrative around.

Try instead responding with a simple “Thank you.” It’s a small change, but it can make a big difference in how you perceive yourself and how others perceive you.

8) “I can’t”

This is perhaps the most damaging phrase of them all. “I can’t” is a self-limiting belief that shuts down possibilities before they even have a chance to flourish.

Saying “I can’t” is akin to surrendering before even trying. It’s a sign of lack of self-confidence and self-belief.

But here’s the key: It’s not about whether you can or can’t. It’s about whether you try. It’s about taking that leap of faith, stepping out of your comfort zone, and giving it your best shot.

Just try it: replace “I can’t” with “I’ll try.” You might not always succeed, but you will learn, grow, and become stronger in the process. And that’s what truly matters.

Final thoughts: It’s all about self-love

Understanding the subtleties of language and how it reveals our self-confidence is a journey of self-awareness. It’s not about instantly changing the way you talk, but rather recognizing these patterns and understanding what they reflect.

The phrases we’ve discussed are not just words, they’re mirrors reflecting how we view ourselves. And often, they’re simply expressions of the internal dialogue we have with ourselves.

According to a study by psychologist Ethan Kross, the way we talk to ourselves impacts our emotions and self-perception. So, it’s essential that we use positive language when addressing ourselves.

Remember, it’s okay to have moments of self-doubt or insecurity. We all do. But it’s equally important to not let these moments define our self-worth or confidence.

Eliza Hartley

Eliza Hartley, a London-based writer, is passionate about helping others discover the power of self-improvement. Her approach combines everyday wisdom with practical strategies, shaped by her own journey overcoming personal challenges. Eliza's articles resonate with those seeking to navigate life's complexities with grace and strength.

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