13 things you don’t know you’re doing because you’re emotionally insecure

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Did you know that our insecurities can dictate our actions, shaping our relationships and self-perception?

It’s true, from seeking constant validation to avoiding vulnerability, certain behaviors hold us back without us even knowing.

Don’t worry though, because by shedding light on these 13 behaviors, I’ll give you the tools you need to break free and embrace a more confident, fulfilling life.

Keep reading if you’re ready to improve your emotional well-being and become a stronger and happier you!

1. Seeking constant validation

Have you noticed that you’re constantly seeking reassurance and validation from others?

Is the only way for you to feel worthy or valued to get other people’s approval?

Well then, sounds to me like a classic case of emotional insecurity.

But don’t worry! Now that you’ve recognized the behavior, you can start working on overcoming it.

For starters, stop constantly asking people for their opinion, instead, ask yourself, “What do I think?”

Try to make your own decisions based on the information available to you and listen to your gut more.

Can you give it a try?

2. Comparing yourself to others

I keep telling people to stop comparing themselves to others, no good can come from it.

I wish I had someone tell me that when I was a teenager.

Here’s the thing: We’re all different. Some of us excel at one thing and others at another. For example, one person could be an amazing pianist but terrible at painting, while another person is a genius with a brush but couldn’t play the piano to save their own life.

Doesn’t make sense to compare their piano-playing or painting skills does it?

Well, just like that, it doesn’t make sense to compare yourself to others – in fact, it can only add to your insecurity!

You might measure your worth based on external factors such as appearance, achievements, or possessions without looking at the whole picture and everything you have to offer.

And the result?

You end up comparing yourself unfavorably to others. This can contribute to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem.

3. Over-apologizing

Here’s another sign that you’re emotionally insecure – you keep saying “sorry”!

You’re so scared of making mistakes and you’ll do anything to avoid conflict – and that includes saying “sorry” a hundred times a day!

The problem is that you keep apologizing for things that you shouldn’t apologize for.

Try to keep your apologies only for situations where they’re actually needed – when you make a mistake that you regret.

Don’t say things like, “I’m sorry but I don’t agree” – stand up for what you believe in. why would you be sorry for having an opinion.

I know it won’t be super easy but baby steps…

4. People-pleasing

I’m gonna let you into a little secret that I learned – not everyone has to like you!

I’m serious!

I used to think that I needed to please everyone around me and make them like me but that’s just not possible.

Look, I know what it’s like to feel like an outsider and to want to fit in and be accepted. You’ll do anything, including turning into a people-pleaser.

You’ll end up putting others’ needs before your own, adopting their opinions, and avoiding expressing your true thoughts for fear of rejection.

But do you know what?

People will like a fake version of you and you don’t want that.

Try to be true to yourself and to act in a way that feels right in your gut. The people who still like you are the ones who are your true friends.

Got it?

5. Avoiding vulnerability

You can try to avoid being vulnerable but I doubt you’ll be successful.

The truth is that emotionally insecure people find it quite challenging to be vulnerable and open up emotionally.

For example, you may find yourself avoiding intimate or deep conversations, keeping your thoughts and emotions to yourself, and keeping other people at a distance to protect yourself from rejection or judgment.

Yet even with all these precautions you could still end up being hurt. Worst of all, you may end up missing out on some amazing relationships by shutting yourself off like that.

Try to open up a bit and let others in.

6. Self-sabotage

I actually have a friend whose middle name could be, “Self-sabotage”!

It’s quite frustrating to watch, but until she’s ready to fix it, there’s nothing much I can do.

You see, unresolved emotional insecurities like past hurts can lead to self-sabotaging behaviors.

This could involve everything from procrastination to setting unrealistic expectations to engaging in self-destructive habits that undermine your success or happiness.

In the case of my friend, she sabotages every relationship she’s in.

She’ll get jealous, checks her boyfriend’s phone, and causes a lot of drama.

And what happens in the end? She ends up chasing him away. All that because she’s scared to trust him and let herself fall in love.

7. Deflecting compliments

I’ll admit that I do this sometimes…

Compliments feel strange and uncomfortable to some of us.

What happens is that when someone compliments you, your insecurity will make you dismiss or downplay their kind words.

You’ll either feel that you don’t deserve their praise, or, that they don’t mean it and are just being polite.

Sound familiar?

Now, it could help to come up with some positive affirmations to repeat to yourself every day, Like, “I’m worthy of compliments” and “I did amazing, I knocked it outta the park!”

8. Fear of failure

A lot of us fall into the trap of being stuck in place because we’re too scared of failure to attempt to do anything.

We think, “What if…” and picture all the worst possible scenarios.

This is definitely something that stems from emotional insecurity.

Because of your fear, you’ll hesitate to take risks, step outside your comfort zone, or pursue new opportunities.

This fear can be detrimental to both your personal and professional growth.

The solution?

Try to look at failure as a learning opportunity. When you don’t succeed at something, you can learn from your mistakes and do better next time.

See, failure is really an opportunity for growth, nothing scary.

9. Negative self-talk

Another sign that you’re emotionally insecure is that you’re super hard on yourself and never give yourself a break.

No matter what you do you don’t think it’s good enough and you’re full of self-criticism.

You engage in a cycle of negative self-talk, where you consistently put yourself down, doubt your abilities, and focus on your flaws.

You’ll tell yourself things like:

  • “You’re so stupid”
  • “Of course, he’s not gonna fall for someone like you, look at you.”
  • “You can’t do that, why even bother trying?”

The thing with negative self-talk is that it’s often unfounded but can have very serious consequences.

Try to replace your negative self-talk with positive affirmations:

  • “You’re smart, you’ve got this.”
  • “How could he resist you? You’re amazing”
  • “You’ve got to give this a shot, you’ve got a good chance of succeeding!”

10. Perfectionism

Look, it’s impossible to achieve perfection.

Of course, that doesn’t stop a lot of emotionally insecure people from trying.

You see, the pursuit of perfection is an attempt to gain a sense of control and ward off feelings of inadequacy.

If you want to know whether you’re one of them, ask yourself if you keep setting unrealistically high standards for yourself. And when you don’t meet those standards what happens?

You beat yourself up and are supercritical, that’s what.

Try to set more realistic goals, will ya? And give yourself a break.

11. Overanalyzing interactions

Do you find yourself overanalyzing social interactions and conversations?

You may find yourself thinking, “Why did I say that” or “I should have done that”.

You probably dwell on every word or action and keep looking for signs that the other person disapproves of you or that you embarrassed yourself somehow.

I used to do this and it took me forever to realize that it doesn’t matter and that I should stop torturing myself.

Now, I am who I am and if people like and accept me, great, if they don’t, it’s their loss.

12. Difficulty expressing emotions

The thing about emotional insecurity is that it often makes it hard to express your feelings.

For example, you’ll struggle to put your feelings into words. You’ll fear being judged or rejected if you open up.

Sadly, as a result, you’ll probably end up bottling up your feelings.

Bad idea.

Feelings need to be set free, come what may.

I mean, what if you really like someone but are too afraid to tell them? And what if it turns out that they’re head over heels in love with you but think you don’t like them? By both of you keeping your emotions to yourselves, you could end up missing out on the greatest love story ever.

13. Avoiding conflict

For years I used to avoid conflict. In fact, when someone was mean to me or acted in an unjust way, I would go away in tears. That’s because I was emotionally insecure.

But I’m a lot stronger now and I can stand my ground. If I need to get into an argument with someone, I won’t like it but I’ll do it.

Sure, every now and again it will become too much and I’ll still end up going home to cry after a confrontation, but at least I’ll know that I was able to stand up for myself instead of wishing I had said “this” or “done that”.

Final thoughts

In the end, remember this: You are not defined by your emotional insecurity.

It may have influenced your actions in the past, but it doesn’t have to dictate your future.

You see, by recognizing and understanding the hidden behaviors driven by emotional insecurity, you have taken the first step toward personal growth!

Embrace self-acceptance, cultivate self-compassion, and face the world with renewed confidence. You’ve got this!

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Jelena Dincic

Jelena has a background in photography and film-making and has spent the last few years as a content editor and copywriter. Jelena is a citizen of the world who is passionate about travel and learning about new cultures. She’s a foodie who loves to cook. And, as an art lover, she is always experimenting with new art mediums. When she’s not at her computer, she’s usually out and about in some forest with her dogs.

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