If you want to boost your confidence, say goodbye to these 19 behaviors

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Building confidence is like gaining happiness: there’s really no blueprint for it.

In fact, the harder you try to become confident, the less confident you might actually be. If you’re so worried about being confident, you won’t be more confident, just more worried.

And being an anxious, overthinking mess is the exact opposite of confidence, no?

The truth is that confidence comes naturally. It’s the result of a wide range of factors.

In my experience, a better approach to building confidence is to focus less on how to increase it directly and rather work on the things that prevent you from being confident fully.

We’ve listed down 19 behaviors—some of them seemingly small—that often make you feel less confident. 

Identify which of these you can see in yourself, work on removing them, and I guarantee that your confidence will grow exponentially!

1) Staying in your comfort zone

Here’s the harsh truth: it’s hard to be confident if you don’t have much to be confident about.

That’s why it’s important to always seek ways to grow as a person. And you won’t grow if you always remain in your comfort zone.

Keep challenging yourself and keep evolving as a person. You’ll inevitably feel better and more confident about yourself.

2) Comparing yourself to others

Comparison is the thief of joy.

And it’s a thief of confidence too.

Comparing yourself with people more successful or happier than you will only bring you misery. Remember that the only person you’re competing with is yourself.

However, I know this is easier said than done. Almost impossible in my experience.

If you must compare yourself to others, do so in a way where you look up to other people for inspiration. Not as a tool with which to think less of yourself.

3) Degrading yourself

Just as you’re your only competition, you’re also your only ally.

And if you don’t believe in yourself…

If you don’t support yourself and prop yourself up… 

Who will?

It’s easy to get caught up in negative self-talk, but you need to stop this form of self-sabotage if you really want to gain confidence.

4) Getting stuck in the past

A lack of self-confidence leads people to be afraid of the present and the future.

In one way or another, they’ll be stuck in the past and obsessing over it.

They’re either too caught up in their past achievements (and become complacent and refuse to grow any further) or, as we’ll explore in the next point, keep beating themselves over for things they regret doing.

5) Beating yourself up for past mistakes

Now, I’m not saying to never look back at the past because it’s actually incredibly important to learn from your mistakes.

However, you need to do so with the proper mindset. By constantly ruminating and feeling bad about what’s gone, you’re only digging yourself into a deeper hole.

Here’s how people typically ruminate:

  • Curling up in bed, replaying scenes of past wrongdoings;
  • Constantly thinking about difficult conversations they had with their beloved people;
  • Talking negatively about yourself as you remember your mistakes;

Forgiving and loving yourself is one of confidence’s prerequisites.

6) Expecting the world to be fair

Highly confident people fully accept just how ugly and unfair the world can be. They already expect unfortunate events to happen, allowing them to move through the world with strength and grace.

However, this doesn’t dampen their spirits. Rather, it inspires them to stay resilient and make a positive impact on those around them.

Expecting the world to cater to you is a recipe for disaster. You will crumble once life’s problems inevitably present themselves.

7) Victimizing yourself

And once that happens, unconfident people tend to victimize themselves. They think of themselves as weak and helpless.

This is not only unproductive but would also further decrease your self-confidence. Confident people will instead look for ways to empower themselves in the best way they can.

Focusing on what you can’t control will only weaken your spirits. 

8) Relying on external factors

That’s why people with confidence take their lives into their own hands. Taking responsibility for your life will make you feel more determined and confident than ever to change it.

They understand that the world—and the people in it—can be unpredictable and unreliable. That’s why they ultimately only rely on themselves.

If they want something, they move their feet. They don’t rely on luck or other people.

9) Worrying about things out of your control

In fact, truly confident people only focus on things they can control. 

Giving too much attention to those outside of it is not just a waste of time and energy but will also make you feel less sure about yourself.

Directing all your energy to things that you can control is how you can make meaningful changes in your life.

10) Being a people-pleaser

The not-so-confident folks need outside validation to prop up their self-esteem. That’s why they try to please everyone around them.

Then, once they realize that their attempts to please everyone have led to them pleasing no one—including themselves—they feel hopeless.

True confidence is internally sourced. It comes from within. 

Determine which people are truly important in your life and focus on them—and this includes yourself.

11) Being a perfectionist

This point has personally been key for me.

I’ve always been a serial perfectionist. I was incredibly meticulous about how things should be.

And by holding myself to such perfect, unachievable standards, I was setting myself up for failure. 

After all, I’m only human. 

Expecting myself to always do things perfectly inevitably led to disappointment because that is simply impossible.

True confidence doesn’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. True confidence is happy with progress and growth, as imperfect as it may be.

12) Constantly seeking attention

However, I’ve come to realize that my perfectionism was rooted in insecurity. I thought that I was only worthy of love and respect if I did things perfectly. 

In essence, I was absolutely desperate for attention and validation. 

And while I would get attention and validation from time to time, it left my feeling empty. I just ended up craving it more.

Again, true confidence comes from within yourself and is also directed at yourself. Please yourself first before you think of other people!

13) Putting yourself into a box

One thing that I used to do when I lacked self-confidence was putting a limit on who I was or what I could do. I frequently told myself:

  • I’m only capable of this…
  • I can’t do that, only this…
  • I’ll fail if I try to do that…

This is not empowering language at all. Telling myself that I couldn’t evolve or grow out of my shell was a self-fulfilling prophecy,

14) Constantly crossing your arms

Really? You may ask.


Everyone knows that our mental state can affect our body language, but did you know that the opposite can occur, too? Our body language also affects our mental state!

(Our minds are quite literary, a part of our physical bodies; who knew?)

In essence, habitually crossing your arms conditions your brain to feel defensive and avoidant

It also makes you look less welcoming to other people. And when you feel like other people are avoiding you, what do you think that does for your confidence?

15) Trying too hard to fit in

It’s only human nature to want to be part of a larger community. 

However, forcing it and trying way too hard to fit in is not the way to go. It’s only going to feel unnatural and awkward for both yourself and the group you’re trying to integrate too.

You’ll just end up faking it. You’ll never feel like you truly belong, and that’s just going to foster self-doubt.

Stay true to yourself, and you’ll eventually find your people.

16) Overcompensating

In fact, what people tend to do when they’re trying too hard to belong is overcompensate.

  • They buy luxury brands or expensive cars just to become friends with rich people;
  • They force themselves into a hobby just to join a clique;
  • They force themselves into a profession like being a doctor or a lawyer just for the prestige;

All these actions stem from a fundamental lack of authenticity. They want to impress other people because they aren’t impressed with themselves.

Again, confident people stay true to themselves, even if doing so is less glamorous—and they’re all the happier for it.

17) Shying away from making decisions

People who lack confidence may have trouble making decisions. They’re too afraid to make the wrong decision.

But here’s the thing: even confident people make wrong decisions.

All kinds of people make both right and wrong decisions all the time.

The difference is that those who decide confidently are willing to learn from their mistakes. Unconfident people won’t even risk doing so in the first place. 

But if people don’t make mistakes, they’ll also never learn and grow.

18) Judging other people

People who lack confidence tend to be judgemental. Why?

Because they’re judgemental of themselves too.

It’s a coping mechanism for their insecurity. They redirect all the negative thoughts onto other people instead of themselves.

However, this only fosters even more negativity and self-doubt. Confident people are comfortable in their own skin. They try to see the good in other people just as they try to see the good in themselves.

19) Not taking risks

Uncertainty is trivial for people with confidence. They don’t let fear dictate what they want to do with their lives.

They accept that nothing is for sure in this world and are willing to take risks. By doing so, they get to experience new things, make mistakes, and meet new people.

And that’s how they grow and cultivate self-confidence!

To tie things up

Building confidence can be an intimidating feat—especially if you already lack it in the first place!

However, I’ve found that taking small steps to reduce confidence-reducing behaviors is far more feasible than seeing it as a grand self-improvement project.

Take it a day at a time and don’t punish yourself if you make mistakes! Be kind to yourself and eventually, you’ll cultivate enough self-love and confidence to reach your potential. 

Clifton Kopp

Welcome to my writings on Hack Spirit! I'm a bit of a "polymath" in that I like writing about many different things. Often I'm learning from the process of writing. I hope you enjoy, and please leave a comment on one of my articles.

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