8 ways you’re broadcasting your insecurities (without even knowing it)

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We all get moments of insecurity – it’s true. I’m talking about that little voice inside that fills you with doubt, anxiety, and fear when you least expect it.

And you know what?

It’s perfectly normal to experience a wobble in your confidence here and there. Hey, you’re only human. 

Even secure people have insecurities.

Perhaps it’s getting nervous before a first date or feeling anxious on the day of that big interview. It would be strange if you weren’t feeling a little uneasy in that situation. 

After all, you’re putting yourself on the line and leaving your comfort zone – it can be scary. 

But here’s the thing.

Sometimes, those intrusive thoughts can get the better of you. And while you do your best to put on a brave face, there are clues that you’re not as secure as you first appear.

You just don’t realize it.

From subtle body language to unintentional comments, these insecurities can reveal themselves in various and unexpected ways.

So, in case you might be asking yourself, am I insecure? Here are eight ways you’re broadcasting your insecurities without even knowing it.

1) It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it

You’ve probably heard that line before. Only, I’m not saying it to be passive-aggressive

At least not today.

No. What I’m trying to say is, that the way you deliver that cheesy chat-up line or well-crafted interview answer can say a lot about how you feel. 

Oftentimes, it says more than the actual words you’re trying to communicate.

That’s right! 

It’s all in the timing (and your voice). 

Factors such as your tone, volume, inflection, fluency, and yes, timing, can all affect the way people perceive you.

For instance, if you speak in a gentle whisper, at a rapid pace, or in a completely monotone pitch – it doesn’t exactly scream confidence now, does it?

But don’t just take my word for it. 

Studies show that paralinguistic cues can show someone’s true emotions, whether it’s confidence, happiness, or insecurity. 

That said, sometimes it really is about what you say…

2) You often start phrases with ____

You’re your own worst enemy and sometimes, it comes across in your word choices.

By that, I mean certain vocabulary and phrases (i.e. the content) can make you sound confident, while others project a severe lack of.

For example: 

“sorry” or “sorry to bother you.”

I’m not saying you should quit taking accountability when you messed up, of course not. Apologizing when you’re in the wrong is fine. 

But when you add it to sentences unnecessarily, it makes you look submissive and self-effacing. 

The same goes for self-validating lingo such as “I hope that’s okay.” Then, there’s starting a sentence with unassertive words like “maybe,” “I guess,” or “perhaps.” 

The fact is, they make you look unsure and doubtful. Basically, you’re looking for reassurance, and that’s a key giveaway that you’re feeling insecure.

Equally, using negative self-talk and self-deprecating language won’t do your self-image any good. 

And sometimes, being TOO confident (bragging or showing off) can come across as though you’re overcompensating. 

3) Your face says it all

Okay. Let’s imagine for a second you said all the right things and in a confident, stable tone. But there’s still something off about your delivery. 

This time, it has nothing to do with how you sound or what you say. No. It’s more subtle than that. 

Or so you think! 

Did you know, that the human face can express up to 21 different emotions

Some of which are contradictory such as “happily disgusted” and “sadly angry.” These go beyond the six basic emotions we’re usually accustomed to.

For example:

Happy, sad, angry, surprised, disgusted, and fearful. 

And unsurprisingly, research shows that the eyes and mouth are the biggest indicators of how someone feels. 

In fact, experts claim that there are 19 types of smiles alone. But according to the study, only six are for happiness.

But that doesn’t mean your face has to mirror what you’re thinking. Instead, it can be used to project a confident facade.

Because let’s face it.

We’ve all faked a smile to be polite and friendly. Or done our best to hide sadness, embarrassment, or an out-of-place laugh to ensure others are put at ease.

But sometimes, an inappropriately-timed laugh can be just as telling. And ultimately, it may reveal that you’re not paying close enough attention to the conversation.

This brings us to the next item on the list…

4) You don’t actually listen

Conversation is a two-way street. 

Think about it. 

No one wants to be talked at for hours on end. Conversely, no one wants to do all the talking. Not unless they’re a narcissist

In short, it’s not all about what you have to say, it’s also about actively listening to the other party. This involves giving and receiving feedback through verbal and non-verbal cues.

For example:

Making eye contact, nodding in approval, and ignoring distractions, as well as asking related questions.

But if you’re too focused on your insecurities, chances are you’re not fully engaged. As a result, this impairs your ability to effectively participate in the discussion. 

With that in mind.

Routinely breaking eye contact, constantly interrupting others, and speed-running your conversation can all signal disinterest or that you’re not paying attention. 

But it doesn’t stop there. 

Scientists claim that eye movements can reveal up to 50 different mental states. And actions like looking away are a telltale sign you’re not listening. 

What’s more our pupil size and the way we blink also can also say a lot about our mental state. 

For instance, forced rapid or decreased blinking can indicate that you’re self-conscious and lacking confidence because you’re insecure.

The same goes for the rest of your body.

5) Your posture is atrocious

Hands up if your mother ever told you to “sit upright” or “stand up straight!”

The thing is, she had a point. 

Only, good posture isn’t just about good etiquette or pleasing your mom. Nope. It’s much more than that. 

Let me explain. 

Body language can disclose a lot about someone and their emotional status. 

And when someone’s insecure, they may subconsciously try to shrink themselves down. One way to do this is by slouching or slumping over. 

The thing is – that hunched and avoidant posture gives off some seriously insecure vibes. The same goes for crossing your arms or legs. It makes you look closed off and unapproachable. 

Plus bad posture can also increase depression and anxiety.

In contrast, sitting up straight shows that you’re confident, focused, and paying attention. 

6) It’s all sleight of hand

Similarly, your hands and the gestures they make can let people know you’re feeling insecure

But what do I mean by that?

Well, actions like self-touch, shrugging shoulders, fidgeting, self-hugging, or placing your hands inside your pockets are all considered weak power gestures.

Equally, no response can speak volumes.

Then there are some habits you might not even be aware of – like using everyday objects as a shield and a way to create a distance.

For example:

Wearing bulky clothing, grabbing throw cushions, or holding a drink firmly in front of your chest.

They act as a security blanket and you’re using these objects to create a physical barrier between you and everyone else. 

Ultimately, they leave a bad impression and publicize that you’re insecure. 

7) Daydreams are your safe place

When we’re insecure, it can be easy to retreat inwards. 

One way people do this is through daydreaming. 

Of course, daydreaming in itself isn’t a bad thing. It can relieve stress, settle conflicts, help with problem-solving, and enhance creativity, among other things.

So, when you do indulge, you probably think nothing of it. 

Everyone does it, right?

But if your head is constantly in the clouds, it could indicate a larger problem. Especially if you regularly use your imagination to withdraw from the real world and further into a fictitious one.

Known as maladaptive daydreaming, it’s where someone spends an excessive amount of time dreaming up a better life. 

It’s a coping mechanism, a way to compensate for not getting your personal needs met. And studies show this escapism can be linked to insecurity. 

The thing is – it’s all a fantasy, not real life. 

What’s more, that make-believe world you’ve concocted may actually cause you to become more insecure and introverted in the long run.

8) Decisions make you panicky

Another telltale sign you’re insecure is indecisiveness. 

But let’s be honest here, it goes beyond having trouble picking a restaurant or choosing what to wear.

You fear making the wrong decision (and the unknown). So much so, that it has you paralyzed and a little hot under the collar. 

And all that overthinking is making you unhappy. Irritated even. You don’t understand why you can’t simply trust yourself to make a decision.

But here’s the deal. 

Your insecurity is stopping you. It’s holding you back and preventing you from following your intuition.

Instead, you seek reassurance and approval from others before taking a leap. Even when it comes to the small and seemingly unimportant things. 

The thing is – there won’t always be someone there to make a decision for you. Not only that, but they may not have your best interests at heart. 

You’re the only one who knows what’s best for you.

Simply put, until you figure out what’s making you doubt yourself, those insecurities will likely trickle out into your everyday life – whether you realize it or not.

So the next time your insecurities come out to play, remember this list and decide to make a change for the better. 

Leila El-Dean

Leila is a passionate writer with a background in photography and art. She has over ten years of experience in branding, marketing, and building websites. She loves travelling and has lived in several countries, including Thailand, Malaysia, Spain, and Malta. When she’s not writing (or ogling cats), Leila loves trying new food and drinking copious amounts of Earl Grey tea.

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