Confidence isn’t just a buzzword; it’s a way of life, especially for women navigating a world that often tries to define us.
But sometimes, we’re our own worst enemies, holding ourselves back without even realizing it.
I learned this lesson the hard way — by being my own stumbling block until I decided enough was enough.
If you’ve ever doubted your worth or felt like an impostor in your own life, it’s time to say goodbye to the behaviors that are keeping you from embracing your inner powerhouse.
Here are the 7 behaviors you need to ditch to become a truly confident woman.
1) Seeking validation from others
We’ve all been there — posting that perfect selfie and obsessively checking for likes, or nervously waiting for approval after sharing an idea in a meeting.
Particularly when I was in my early twenties, I used to feel incomplete unless someone else stamped their approval on my opinions or decisions.
But as I’ve matured, I realized that the compliments and applause feel good in the moment, but they’re fleeting. Before you know it, you’re right back where you started, waiting for validation for the next thing — and the next.
If you truly want to be a confident woman, you need to learn to make your own validation enough. You don’t need approval from anyone else — and if someone else has a different opinion, you can’t let it change your mind.
Because nobody else is living your life. You’re the one who will live with the consequences of your decisions, actions, and thoughts. So you’re the only one who needs to agree with them.
Of course, it’s healthy and good to still hear out the opinions of others, particularly people you love and trust. However, the last word is always your own.
2) Apologizing unnecessarily
It’s crucial to say sorry when you’re messed up or hurt someone by accident. However, saying it too often, especially when you haven’t done anything wrong, can really chip away at your self-esteem.
It’s a subtle way of saying, “No matter what, I’ll give in to you. My needs, opinions, and presence aren’t as important as yours.” This is not the language of a confident woman.
Over-apologizing creates an internal narrative that you’re always in the wrong or that you’re not worthy of taking up space.
The transition to saying sorry only when it’s genuinely warranted isn’t easy. It took me a long time to shake off this ingrained habit. But the first step is awareness.
The next time you’re about to apologize, catch yourself. Take a breath and consider whether an apology is truly warranted. If not, resist the urge to say it.
Consider replacing it with gratitude when appropriate. Instead of saying, “Sorry I’m late,” you could say, “Thank you for waiting for me.” It turns the focus away from your perceived shortcomings and toward a more positive interaction.
Ditching this habit doesn’t make you rude or selfish — it makes you self-assured. So let’s say goodbye to unnecessary apologies and hello to unapologetic confidence.
3) Comparing yourself to others
Scrolling through social media, it’s so easy to fall into the comparison trap. Picture-perfect lives, stunning vacation photos, and glowing success stories are just a thumb scroll away.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve sunk into a sense of inadequacy as I weighed my own life against the curated snapshots of others. But let me tell you, this is a one-way ticket to Self-Doubt City.
When we compare ourselves to others, we’re only seeing the highlight reel of their lives, not the struggles, insecurities, or hardships they may be facing behind the scenes.
More importantly, comparison steals your joy and dilutes your individuality. Every minute you spend wishing you had someone else’s life is a minute you’re neglecting to appreciate and improve your own.
What helped me break free was realizing that comparison is a game you can’t win. There will always be someone smarter, more successful, or seemingly happier.
So instead, I started focusing on my own progress. How far have I come? What have I achieved? What can I celebrate about myself today?
Kick the comparison habit by setting your own goals, celebrating your own achievements, and appreciating your own journey. You’re the only you there is, and that’s your superpower.
4) Putting yourself down
How many times have you caught yourself saying, “I can’t do this,” or, “I’m not good enough”? That’s another behavior it’s crucial to cut out of your life.
When you constantly put yourself down, you’re internalizing failure before you even get the chance to try. You’re setting a ceiling on your own potential.
If you’re always feeding your mind with words of self-doubt, you’re making it incredibly hard for confidence to take root.
The shift for me came when I started treating myself like I would a dear friend. Would you ever tell your best friend she’s not smart enough, pretty enough, or just not enough in general? Of course not. So why say it to yourself?
Switch out the self-criticism for affirmations that empower you. Instead of saying, “I can’t,” try “I’ll give it my best.” Instead of thinking you’re not good enough, remind yourself that you are more than enough just as you are.
The words you use to describe yourself shape your perception and, ultimately, your reality.
5) Being afraid to say no
If there’s one piece of advice I wish I could give to myself 10 years ago, it’s to stop being afraid to say no.
Because I used to be such a people pleaser. Whenever a friend needed a favor, a colleague needed a hand, or even a stranger was in need, I always made myself available — even if I wasn’t totally into the idea.
But obviously, I’m also a human with only 24 hours in a day and so much energy to give. I didn’t gain any more just because I wanted to be generous and helpful — so what I was effectively doing was taking this time and energy away from myself.
Basically, every “yes” to someone else was a “no” to my own well-being.
Learning to say no was liberating. At first, it was awkward, and I worried about letting people down. But I realized that setting boundaries is a form of self-respect. And you know what? People actually respected me more for it, not less.
When you start to prioritize your own needs, you’ll have more time and energy to engage in things that you’re genuinely passionate about, and that will fuel your confidence like nothing else.
Oh, the endless loop of overthinking — it can go on and on and on. The more you dwell, the deeper you sink into self-doubt and indecision.
I laugh when I think back to how I used to believe that overthinking was something to be proud of. I thought I was helping myself by truly analyzing every little detail and looking for lessons everywhere I could.
But the truth is, I wasn’t really finding all that many helpful insights or solutions. Actually, I was finding more problems. Small issues became amplified into a mountain of worry and stress.
On the other hand, that mental energy I spent ruminating could have been channeled into taking action and solving the issues.
How did I escape this mental trap? For me, the answer was mindfulness. Instead of dwelling on what could go wrong, I learned to focus on the present moment.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t plan or prepare — it simply means not getting lost in ‘what-ifs’ that derail your confidence and cloud your judgment.
7) Overlooking personal investment
For years, I spent so much time helping others that I completely neglected myself. Sounds noble, right?
Except, I soon realized I was running on empty. I had fallen into the trap of thinking that investing in myself was selfish, and that mindset was doing me no favors.
You see, failing to invest in yourself is like neglecting to water a plant and still expecting it to bloom. Whether it’s time, money, or energy — your investment in yourself directly correlates with your self-worth and, yes, your confidence. If you don’t prioritize yourself, who will?
I’m not talking only about lavish spa days or high-end shopping sprees — although those can be nice too!
Simple things like reading a book, taking a course, exercising, or even just spending quality time with yourself can make a world of difference. These actions send a powerful message to your subconscious: “I am worth it.”
More than that, be sure to prioritize activities that align with your values and goals like taking a course, exercising, or spending time reflecting.
Each time you invest in yourself, you’re building a stronger foundation for your confidence to stand on. So go ahead, invest in your growth, your joy, and your well-being. You’re the best project you’ll ever work on.
Stepping into your most confident self
Ladies — you’ve just read 7 behaviors you should say goodbye to in order to be a truly confident woman.
Once you identify which of these behaviors you recognize in yourself, it will take some time to cut it out of your life and adopt a better habit — and that’s totally okay.
Building your confidence can be a long journey, but it’s one that’s definitely worth it.