Confidence is like a magic tonic.
It improves our well-being and our chances of success. It reduces our susceptibility to stress and it even makes us a more attractive partner.
It’s just a shame we cannot bottle it!
Because despite its many benefits, it isn’t always easy to develop it. And when it’s missing, it can have some unfortunate repercussions.
You can often spot its absence in someone by their other personality traits.
1) They’re shy
They don’t have the self-conviction to put themselves out there.
So they prefer to take a more hesitant approach where they remain watchful and hesitant instead — especially in unfamiliar situations.
This sort of behavioral inhibition isn’t always born from introversion. It can be a direct result of missing confidence.
They prefer to hold back for fear of judgment.
They easily get embarrassed because they don’t have the self-esteem to back themselves.
2) They’re perfectionists
People often get perfectionism and what drives it very wrong.
You might think that someone with perfectionist tendencies is a real go-getter with drive. But that’s not how it works.
In fact, perfectionism contributes to lower self-esteem by setting the bar too high. When impossible standards cannot be met, they then feel like a failure.
This strips away at their confidence and reduces it even further.
Overwhelm and procrastination have a habit of kicking in alongside perfectionism. Because when nothing short of the best will do, it’s tempting to forever put things off.
When the journey ahead feels impossible, chances are we avoid trying to take it full stop.
As highlighted in our next point.
3) They’re risk-averse
People who lack the self-esteem and confidence to take risks usually prefer not to.
Their fear of failure or getting it wrong leads them to stay in their comfort zone as much as possible.
So they often close themselves off from opportunities and adventures in the process.
They may come across as energetically and emotionally quite closed too.
4) They’re critical
…And often, the bulk of that criticism falls on themselves.
They probably engage in negative self-talk and thinking.
And that feeds both an internal dialogue and belief system where they are too hard on themselves.
This further strips away any self-esteem they did have.
Signs of being overly self-critical include:
- Taking on responsibility that’s not yours
- Always blaming yourself
- Constantly comparing yourself unfairly to others
- Feeling like you never get it right
- Constantly going over past mistakes
- Never feeling satisfied
5) They’re pessimistic
It’s unsurprising that having a negative outlook on yourself impacts your entire world viewpoint.
Research has highlighted how:
“Those with a high self-esteem feel confident, capable, worthy and tend to be optimistic, whereas people with a low self-esteem are typically more critical of themselves, somewhat insecure, often feel incapable of dealing with life’s challenges, and are generally pessimistic.”
The reality is that negative traits tend to clump together and create an entire mindset.
So those who lack any self-confidence often have a gloomy take on the future too.
6) They’re worriers
Very low confidence is a sign of struggles with your mental health and well-being.
Other things that come along with a more vulnerable state of mind include increased worry, stress, and anxiety.
Confident people rely on their inner self-esteem to fall back on even when times get tough.
But those who don’t have that inner source of self-belief are more likely to get spooked and concerned about even the smallest of problems.
They don’t trust themselves to adapt and deal with adversity in quite the same way.
7) They’re people pleasers
Here’s the thing:
The less worthy you feel the more likely you are to let others take advantage.
When you lack inner confidence, you tend to go looking outside of yourself for validation. And that is a recipe for people-pleasing.
You may say yes to things you don’t want to do because you are scared of disapproval.
You could allow others to overstep your boundaries because you don’t know how to stand up for yourself.
Confidence is often essential for keeping a healthy balance in our relationships.
8) They’re self-conscious
People with absolutely no self-confidence may come across as slightly awkward.
That’s because they overthink everything.
They may be constantly fidgeting or shifting in their seat. Their body language could give away just how uncomfortable they are.
Their internal lack of love may impact their external view of themselves, giving them a poor body image.
They may recoil at compliments or kind words.
Because, as we’ll see next, those missing confidence can find it very difficult to accept praise and recognition of any sort — least of all from themselves.
9) They’re modest…to a fault
Modesty is a virtue, right?
Well, within certain contexts.
Because bragging or boasting has nothing to do with confidence.
In fact, people who engage in these sorts of behaviors usually give the game away that they’re actually pretty insecure. They need approval to feel good, so they go looking for it with attention seeking.
So it’s true that humility can be a good sign of strong inner confidence.
But modesty to a fault is self-deprecating.
When we are unable or unwilling to recognize our own strengths and skills, we’re not self-validating what makes us great.
The problem with those lacking in self-confidence is not that they are choosing to remain humble, it’s that they just don’t see those good qualities in the first place.
A lack of self-confidence doesn’t only result in meek qualities.
Just like our above point, it also takes plenty of inner strength to handle critique and knockbacks graciously.
We need to have firm foundations to fall back on if we’re not going to take it personally.
And when we do take it personally, we’re far more likely to get defensive.
Your already fragile sense of self cannot handle being attacked anymore.
So you bite back, snap or retreat in a defensive attempt to protect yourself.
Confidence isn’t just a personality trait, it’s a skill
Although we’ve just outlined some common traits of people who are lacking in self-confidence, here’s the good news:
Confidence is a skill and not simply a quality.
Whilst genetics undeniably play a part in our temperament, confidence is not something you are either born with or not, it’s developed.
It’s estimated somewhere between 25 to 50 percent of our personality traits linked to confidence may be inherited.
But that still leaves a whole lot to play with!
That means we can all try to flex the muscle of confidence in order to strengthen it.